I’m a budgeting expert – the seven easy switches that could save you thousands

ONE Reddit user was horrified to discover that he had spent more than £3,000 on takeaways so far this year.

With the cost of living soaring, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on your spending – so it’s shocking to discover you’ve gone seriously over budget.

Some simple swaps might help balance your household finances

Some simple swaps might help balance your household financesCredit: Getty – Contributor

The Redditor took to the forum to write: “Just gone through my credit card statements for this year (Jan to today) and have realised that me and my partner have spent just over £3,000 this year alone on takeout on just my credit card alone.

“I have not yet calculated her spending.”

The man, who chose to remain anonymous, said he was horrified to discover the cost.

“I’m fully disgusted in myself for allowing this to happen especially when we have been “struggling” to save,” he said.

“I have deleted all [my takeaway] apps and will be looking to try and block payments to them for the future.

“I urge anyone and everyone to have a good sit down and go through your statements.”

With many of doing most of our spending online or through apps and contactless payments, it’s easy to lose track.

Becky Goddard-Hill, who runs money website Family Budgeting, said there are some common things which you might be spending more on than you realised.

She reveals her best money-saving swaps, and they could save you a fortune:

Swap takeaways for home cooking – save £1,300

Instead of takeaways which can easily set you back £40 for a family of four, head to your library and pick yourself up a few new cookbooks instead, Becky suggested.

“A great meal is a great meal no matter where it comes from. It’s often even more fabulous if you make it yourself, plus a great deal cheaper,” she said.

Depending on what you choose to eat, you can probably feed your family for less than a quarter of what it might cost to buy from a takeaway.

“Make it relaxing to cook rather than stressful by playing your favourite tunes, taking your time and delegating the washing up to someone else,” Becky said.

If you usually spend £40 on a takeaway once a week, but spend £15 on ingredient instead, you could save a massive £1,300 a year.

Ditch the gym for online workouts – save £450

“Subscriptions to gyms can easily top £500 – swap them for long walks with a friend, free online fitness and dance videos and daily yoga,” said Becky.

“A yoga mat and a set of inexpensive weights or a second hand bike cost little in comparison to a gym membership but all add up to great investment in your health.”

We found this yoga mat for a tenner, and these medium-weight dumbells for £8 – enough to get you started at home.

Grab a pair of running shoes for around £30 and you’ve spent less than £50 – a saving of £450 over a year’s gym membership.

Assess your streaming services – save £79

Becky suggested taking stock of what TV subscriptions you pay for, and working out whether you’re really getting your money’s worth.

“Subscriptions to streaming services can easily add up,” she said.

“Think about what you are actually paying out and what you could lose.”

For example, if you have the cheapest Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime subscriptions, you are shelling out more than £250 a year.

Ditching just one of these, for example, Amazon Prime, would save you £79 a year.

Becky said: “Be firm with yourself – you probably barely use some of them so get rid. They can always be added later if you truly miss them.”

Instead, make the most of free online TV options, such as YouTube, or watch catch-up services from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Remember, you will need a TV licence to watch TV channels online, but at £159 a year, it might still be less than you’re paying for subscriptions.

Bin your store cards

Becky suggested ditching expensive store cards, which often come with high rates of interest, and try to use better ways to pay instead.

“Store cards and accounts make it so easy to keep up with the latest trends without thinking about whether of not you can afford them,” she said.

“The perks rarely outweigh the problems of that instant access to what you want.

“So be ruthless, get rid and watch your bank account thank you.”

Instead, try to be savvy with your credit cards and shop around for the best deals.

And only buy things if you really need them.

Make coffee at home – save £312

“Quick coffees when you are out can soon add up and a couple of week can cost you around £300 a year,” Becky pointed out.

Costa Coffee was recently slammed for putting its prices up for the second time this year alone.

And The Sun revealed that Starbucks has hiked prices by as much as 33%.

Becky suggested taking either a bottle of water out with you, or making a coffee in a mug with a lid or a flask and taking it with you.

Of course, you should still treat yourself occasionally – but buying one £3 a coffee a week instead of three, would save you £312 a year.

Stop sending birthday cards – save £90

“Birthday cards are expensive and are rarely looked at for more than 30 seconds,” Becky said.

But that doesn’t mean ignoring people’s birthdays altogether.

“Try writing a letter instead or perhaps sending a lovely birthday text, or get your kids on the job making up batches of homemade cards you can use at a later date,” she said.

“And while we are talking birthdays keep all the gift bags you’re ever given – again these are pricey and only briefly admired.

“Save them from landfill and keep your cash: reuse them for the next gift.”

If you usually send three birthday cards a month and spend £2.50 on each one, you could save X a year by switching to free options such as e-cards instead.

Keep an eye on your spending

Becky’s top tip for keeping costs down is to get into the habit of checking your finances regularly.

“I check my current account once a day after my morning coffee, this lets me know exactly where I stand, notice any errant payments and take stock of what I have been buying,” she said.

“It’s a good habit to get into and makes sure debt doesn’t sneak up on you unawares.”