What are expenses and how to keep them down?
Expenses are the things that are costing you money.
It doesn’t matter who you are, if you don’t take control of your expenses you will probably be wasting more money than you need to.
As mentioned in my main article, the majority of people’s expenses are split into a number of categories:
- Home Expenses
- Vehicle Expenses
- Groceries and Food
- Health and Fitness
- Shopping and Fun Money
- Special Occasions
Each of these categories are split down further, and maybe even further again depending on how detailed you need to look. For most people though, the above categories are what you have and what you will need to look at.
It is important when analysing your expenses that you take a look at every expense, because any savings you make will compound over the course of many months or years. For example, you may think that by saving just £20 a week on your groceries isn’t worth the effort – but over the course of a year that is over £1,000! You could put that towards a holiday or put it into you emergency savings incase something goes wrong.
Once you have your Forecast spreadsheet populated with your expenses, you are then able to look at every expense with a magnifying glass and be able to look whether it is really necessary, and if so, how can you reduce what you are paying without compromising quality or cover.
When to look?
I like to make a note of when certain items are coming up to the end of their minimum contract, so that I have an idea of when I have to start looking for a new deal. It is always better to start this about a month or so in advance so that you can get an idea of the current costs from multiple sources.
Price comparison sites are your best friend in this circumstance.
What if I am happy with the current price or service?
If you are happy with what you are getting and at the current price – then by all means, don’t waste your time in looking for a better deal on it, and spend that time doing something you enjoy.
However, I don’t see any harm in trying to get a price reduction or something extra added on from them to sweeten the deal.
Generally speaking, a company isn’t likely to give you their best price – even if you are a loyal customer. So you can pretty much guarantee that there is at least some wiggle room in what they are asking of you – so it gives you a chance to haggle.
Some people love it, some people hate it. Some companies expect it, some companies won’t entertain the idea.
Even if you hate it – a quick call to them at renewal time can yield some impressive results – especially if you highlight your loyalty to them and give a quote from a competitor.
Arming yourself with information before hand is better than just winging it. A quick 10 minute phonecall could save you hundreds of pounds of the year (and even more cumulatively if you remain with them for years to come).
If you love the service and just can’t be without it, you could even try to give them a longer tie in period for a cheaper price. Thus saving you the hassle of looking next time.
I believe it is best to ensure that you keep your expenses to a minimum so that you have more money to spend on other things now or in the future.
Check your expenses reguarly, diarise any renewals and make sure you are always getting the best value for what you are spending, otherwise you are just wasting money.
Check the individual Expenses pages for more details on how to ensure you are getting the best deal for each expense, as each one will likely involve a different approach.