All of us have numerous daily expenses that we need to meet, no matter what. Chances are though, you’ve never really thought about how much you spend in a day. I generally look at the big picture when I’m planning my finances – for example, I take what I earn in a month, take off all my bills, savings and rent and then just leave myself to spend the rest as I like.
It wasn’t until I realised that this just wasn’t going to cut it that I started looking a little closer. When you know you’ve got a couple of hundred bucks to yourself after you’ve been paid and you can spend it on absolutely anything you want, it can be pretty easy to go on late night internet shopping trips without really understanding the consequences of spending $10 here and $30 there. But it all adds up.
Breaking down your finances and seeing exactly how much you need to spend on everyday essentials will give you a better understanding of what your ‘fun’ money is – basically, the money you can use to buy the things you want, not the things you need.
If you drive or commute to work you will probably spend around $10 a day on travel. An easy way to lower your travel costs is to car-share or to buy a season ticket for public transport. Also, if your place of work is within walking distance you could walk instead of taking the bus or tram – this will also help you to get some exercise.
Food is one of the main expenses of everyday life and you should never try to cut back on it just to save money. Rather than going without when your bank balance is looking a little low, opt for cheaper supermarket alternatives or non-branded goods. Remember – eating out and buying convenience foods is almost always more expensive than cooking a homemade dinner each night of the week.
I have a pre-paid electricity meter at my flat, and when I first moved in I thought this would be incredibly annoying and almost had it replaced for a ‘normal’ one. I’m very glad I didn’t though because it allows me to monitor exactly how much I’m spending on electricity. This is a good frame of mind to be in, so if you haven’t got a prepayment meter you could get yourself a plug-in electricity consumption meter that will show you just how much each appliance is costing you.
If you have children you will probably find that your finances are stretched even further every month. Not only will you need to pay for your own food, clothing and travel, but for theirs as well. If you know that you will need to pay for new school uniforms in a couple of months’ time or your kids have a school trip coming up, you should start saving in advance.
Everyone’s daily expenses will be of differing amounts, but generally the main three are food, travel and utility bills. Of course, you will need to account for all of your other bills as well, but as these are often set at a certain amount you can simply deduct them from your wage every month.
What are your daily expenses and do you have any ideas for ways to save money?
Guest post written by Charlotte Watson on behalf of Payday Express