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Control my spending

If you’re constantly wondering where all your money went, it might be time to closely examine your spending habits, with a view to reigning them in.

Need vs Want

First things first. If you really want to save money and control your spending, the simplest way to do it is to start categorising all your purchases into needs and wants.

Needs are essential to our daily lives – the things we can’t do without. Things like clothing, food, transport, healthcare and looking after our families.

Wants are the things we like to have – the things that wouldn’t really affect us if we did without them. This includes things like meals out, expensive clothing, jewellery, entertainment and appliances.

It may sound simple, but every time you’re about to spend money, ask yourself – “Do I need this? Really?” And be honest with yourself. No-one will ever begrudge you spending money on something you really needed. Cutting down on your wants spending will keep more money in your pocket.

Review your budget (often!)

Once you’ve started to cut down on the more obvious want-type spending, it’s time to review your budget. It’s a good idea to do this on a monthly and yearly basis, as you’ll become aware of time-patterns where you need more money than other times – ie: when your big bills are due.

Budgeting is the difference between telling your money where to go and wondering where it went. Tracking where every hard-earned dollar goes will give you an idea of how much you’ll have to play with for saving, and want-type spending.

If you’ve never set a proper budget before, or you could do with a refresher course, we’ve put a guide together that shows you how in a few easy steps.

And when you’re done with the guide, make sure you take advantage of our free Online Budgeting Tool.

Set a long-term savings goal

Once your budget is laid out, you’ll start to get an idea of how much money you’ll have each pay once all your needs are taken care of. Sure, you could just blow this money straight away on want-type purchases, but then what are you left with for a rainy day or when the unexpected happens?

By setting yourself a long term savings goal, you’ll find that not only will you be better equipped to deal with life’s little mishaps when they arise, your discipline will improve when it comes to your spending. With a goal to work towards, you’ll find it easier to resist temptation to spend. To help you set and work towards your goal, you need the right tools.

1. Savings Goal Calculator

Our handy free tool lets you punch in a few basic figures such as a starting amount and a regular deposit, and figure out how long it will take you to reach your goal.

Savings Goal Calculator

2. The right savings account

While you’re working hard to build a nest egg, it won’t do you any good if your savings account is slacking off. Take the time to compare our range of great value, flexible savings accounts to find the one that’s best suited to your needs.

Compare savings accounts

Keep a closer watch

Once you have your budget under control and your savings amount building nicely, it’s worthwhile to look at other ways you can avoid unnecessary spending. The easiest and quickest way to do this is keeping a closer eye on your accounts.

Greater Bank has a range of solutions which essentially give you eyes in the back of your head when it comes to handling your money.

1. SMS & Email Alerts

Get sent instant notifications when your balance is getting low, or when you’ve got a direct debit due. Great for steering clear of pesky fees, and easy to set up within Internet Banking.

2. Online Banking

Managing your money is made so much easier online. You choose when and where you do your banking, make transfers, open accounts or pay your bills.

3. Mobile App

The bank branch in your back pocket. Our App for Android and Apple devices is constantly being upgraded to improve your ease of use. View past transactions, pay bills and so much more.

Decide how much to spend

Now that you’re becoming an all-round more canny consumer, you should notice your spending triggers more and hopefully, you’ll be getting better at controlling them.

When the time comes for you to spend some of your hard earned, a great tip is to think carefully before you hit the shops. Is there a certain time of year when specific items are going to be cheaper? Are there sales you could be looking out for? Is it cheaper to buy with cash? Is the vendor flexible on price? Is it possible to make savings by purchasing multiple items? Asking yourself these types of questions before you spend can save you more than you think.

And finally, if you’ve got your sights set on a purchase, the best way to keep your spend under control is to use cash. By withdrawing a certain amount, and sticking to that figure, you can effectively put a ceiling on your spend.