A leaner budget doesn’t mean you have to lead a frugal life. Instead try to focus your finances and your energy where it counts and, hopefully, you’ll be able to lead the life you want. To help you achieve this, here are five ways you can downsize your finances.

1. Review your priorities

What do you want to do with your days? Whether it’s traveling more or simply having an easier life, make that
the focus of your spending.

It’s helpful to draw up a budget of all your outgoings so you can see where the money goes once the essentials are covered—and you might be surprised how much disappears on things you don’t really care about.

 

2. Stop paying for services you don’t use

Having a choice often feels like a good thing, but when there are too many options the end result is frequently that we don’t make the best use of what we pay for. TV is a perfect example—hundreds of channels, but how many do you actually watch? If you’re paying for any kind of service or subscription you don’t really use, cancel your contract and stop paying for it.

There will, of course, be bills and services you can’t cut. But you can make sure you’re spending as little as possible. Spend an afternoon comparing new deals on your energy and telecoms bills. If you can save, switch over and make a note to do it again when your new contract ends.

 

3. Minimise your spending

This doesn’t mean stop buying things. It’s really just about buying less. It’s a good challenge to help
you keep your life simple.

Before you pick something up in a shop, think about whether you really do want or even need it. If the answer isn’t a clear yes, walk away—you can always go back in a few days if you change your mind.

 

4. Clear your cards

Credit cards can be useful, but if you’re using them to stretch your spending power, they’re likely costing you more than they need to. Pay them off as quickly as you can, then cancel them and cut them up.

Keep one card for emergencies, but don’t carry it around with you. That way you can’t get tempted to spend on it when you’re out and about.

 

5. Declutter your cupboards

This won’t just help remove distractions from your home, it’ll also improve your bank balance.

Go through your storage spaces such as your shed, garage or loft. First, look for things that you might be able to use or repair. This will prevent you buying things you’ve forgotten you already had.

Then find the things you don’t use, and know you aren’t likely to use again. See if you can sell any of these at a car boot sale or online.

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