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How to control your spending Small costs can add up to large amounts over time: it’s important you understand how to control your spending

Smart steps you can take

By taking a little time to consider your spending and thinking about where your money needs to go, rather than wondering where it’s gone - you’re putting yourself in control.

This short guide gives you some ideas about things you can do to control your spending.

  • Control the small costs

    Small costs add up over time, so it’s important you take control of where your money goes each month. If you haven’t already done so, look at our article on how to track your spending. This’ll help you identify exactly what you spend your money on. 
  • Find out what your extras really cost

    When you buy your daily coffee or cake, work out how much it costs you per week, month and year. You'll be surprised how this adds up and how much you could save by having them less often. Use the Money Saving Expert’s Demotivator to find out how much those extras cost.

  • Prioritise your spending

    Be honest about the things you need to spend your money on versus the things you want to spend your money on. Paying your rent or mortgage and utility bills keeps a roof over your head and keeps you warm in the winter. Buying a daily coffee might not be as essential. Prioritising your spending can allow you to set money aside for the things that are important to you.
  • Review your regular bills 

    Review any regular bills like your mortgage, energy, phones, broadband, insurance etc. You can often save by switching provider or negotiating a different contract with your current provider. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal.

    Arrange for all your bills to be paid a couple of days after your salary comes into your account – that way your balance will more accurately reflect what you have left to spend.

  • Set up different bank accounts

    As well as your main bank account, think about opening a different one to pay your bills.

    Work out the cost of your bills, set up a fixed direct debt to pay your essential bills:

    • Mortgage or rent
    • Utility bills like gas and electricity
    • Council tax

    Next set up a standing order and transfer enough to cover from your bills into your bills account.

    By doing this your important bills are paid and the balance of your main account provides a truer picture of your available funds so you're less likely to spend what you can't afford. 

TIP: As well as your main bank account, open another one for bills. This will help you ensure priority bills get paid, and paid on time.

More support

  • Benefits and grants

    Most of us are entitled to benefits at some point, but many of us never claim them or don’t claim all we’re entitled to. Read this guide to find out more about benefits and grants.
  • Budgeting

    Sticking to a budget is the best way to help you meet your needs and stay out of debt. Use this guide to budgeting to help you get back in control of your money.
  • Financial Resilience Check

    Take a couple of minutes to help yourself understand whether your finances are sound now and for the future.

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