Some of the money we spend is money that we don’t actually need to spend. This isn’t about treating ourselves now and again, but about the things that we later look back on and think “I shouldn’t have spent that.”
Nobody can completely cut out this kind of unnecessary spending, but keeping it as low as possible can be a huge help in maintaining your financial health.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Due to the very nature of impulse buys, this one can be easier said than done. All the same, impulse buys are probably the ones we are most likely to regret so try to curb buying things on the spur of the moment. Possibly the best way to manage this is to try to be more aware of when something you are thinking of buying is an impulse. When you are on the verge of buying something but you think you might be doing it on impulse, make a point of stopping, pausing, and thinking it through.
Chew Gum in Shops
Odd as it might sound, chewing gum can help you curb unnecessary spending. More precisely, if you find yourself buying food unnecessarily because you are listening to your stomach, then chewing gum while food shopping can put a stop to it. The act of chewing sends signals to your brain that help reduce your appetite, and the minty taste will distract you from the imaginary flavours of biscuits, chocolates, and crisps you pass in the shop. Studies have shown this makes you less likely to buy food you don’t need and, if you happen to be trying to eat healthily, will probably have another reason to regret besides the cost. As an added bonus, there’s also evidence it helps stimulate the brain.
Takeaways are a really expensive way to eat. While their appeal is obvious – they combine quick, convenient meals with addictively good taste – they are neither good for your budget nor your waistline. If you are really stuck for time and energy to cook in the evenings, even ready meals are a significant step up in cost though are not exactly great either. The best option is to simply familiarise yourself with some quick, easy, low-effort recipes that you won’t mind cooking after a long day of work or buying foods that are more-or-less ready to eat without being expensive.
Mobile Phone Contracts
A lot of people could save money on their mobile phone bills one way or another. Are you on a pay-as-you-go plan? Unless you are a very, very light user you could probably get a contract that would be cheaper, and get a free phone as a bonus. Do you find yourself never even approaching any of the limits on your current contract? Then you may well be able to get by with a cheaper bundle next time you renew. It is also worth comparing providers when you renew instead of sticking with your current network, as you may get the same phone and contract for less from a different company.