Money | Do you need to reduce your outgoings?

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In the face of rising prices for everything from rent and insurance to food, we are all having to focus on reducing our outgoings.

From charging €1 for tap water in a bar to increases of up to 50 per cent in insurance premiums, it can feel that we are back to the rip off culture during the boom years.

With no reduction in prices in sight, we should focus on reducing our outgoings. Obviously, there is nothing we can do about our rent or mortgage and other set payments such as motor tax or insurance. We can, however, do something about other areas of our spending habits.

It is important to write down all of your monthly spending. This will give you the wake up call that you may need to see where all of your money is going each month.

Look at the bills or payments that can be reduced. Are you on the best mobile phone plan? Can you amalgamate some services – Tv and broadband, for example – to get a better rate?

Assess your energy and gas bills. This is an area where you can make considerable savings by being more vigilant and conscious. Turning off lights and only using the washing machine at night, for instance, can save a lot on your bills.

Shop around to get better deals and do not be afraid to switch provider.

Examine how you will budget for weekly essentials, such as groceries. Aim not to waste any food for one month. This will force you to be creative in the kitchen and not throw out any food. Bring your food into work each day and resist the temptation to buy take-out coffees.

Look at all discretionary spend, such as entertainment. While it is important to have family treats, do you really need to have one every week? Look at more affordable options. The most important thing is to have fun, not spending a lot of money!