During this unprecedented time, you may find yourself worried about managing your day-to-day budget, especially if your household income has been reduced. Taking a few small steps to better understand your expenses and sources of income can go a long way to alleviating stress.

It’s important to understand how you’re spending today. Once you know that, it’s much easier to work out your current priorities and figure out ways you can adjust your budget.

First, examine your expenses and make a list of your essential expenses like food, housing costs and regular bills. Then review your discretionary expenses such as takeaway meals, subscription services and clothing.

By matching income sources to your essential expenses, you can see where you to trim discretionary spending. Here are a few cost-saving tips to help manage your money more effectively.

  • Shop smarter
    Put together a meal plan and shopping list and only buy what you need. If you have a choice of items, price compare and check the cost of name brand items versus supermarket own brands. Consider buying heavily used items in slightly larger quantities, and where possible buy non-perishable items such as tinned or frozen items.
  • Take advantage of technology to cut back on bills
    Use price comparison websites to check your providers against competitors particularly when your contract is up for renewal. You can often switch contract or provider for a much better deal. Be efficient with utilities by using energy saving lightbulbs and restricting energy waste. You could think about installing a programmable thermostat or smart meter.
  • Rethink the essentials
    Spending more time at home, you may find you are making better use of things like entertainment subscriptions. Where possible, rethink which of these you use, and which are an unnecessary expense. Check your mobile call and data packages for you and your family and see how you might be able to save on multiple person subscriptions instead.
  • Check what you could be owed
    With school, nurseries, gyms and most transport closed, you should check fee policies and your rights to a refund on services that you are not making use of. Speak with your childcare provider about their policies on childcare fees and, where possible, apply for refunds on any travelcards or season tickets. 

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Important information - The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may not get back what you invest. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment or action. You should regularly review your investment objectives and choices and if you are unsure whether an investment is suitable for you, you should contact an authorised financial adviser.