Balance your Budget: Cutting Costs

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The rising cost of living, plus stagnant wages and job insecurity, mean that many families and individuals are finding it increasingly difficult to balance their household budgets. If this sounds like you, now is the time to adjust your incomings and outgoings accordingly.

While you’re running your financial health check, be sure to spend five minutes checking your credit report. This is easy to do online (proceed to website) and will give you a clear indication of your credit rating, plus allowing you to check for any anomalies.

Cutting Costs

It could be easier than you think to cut costs and slash outgoings. Use an online budget planner, like the one at www.moneysavingexpert.com to list all your household expenses, then go through them individually to see where you can make savings.

Compare costs for utilities, insurances and services online, to find the best possible deals for you. Should you decide to swap, check cashback websites like Quidco to see if you can get cashback on your purchases, to add to the coffers.

The food budget is usually one that we can easily shave. Try ‘downgrading’ your shopping to a supermarket’s own or basics range, to instantly save £££’s. Meal planning is another way to ensure that you save cash, by only buying what you need and preventing waste.

Petrol is typically a large expense for many, so have a look at ways in which you can cut down. Is every journey that you make by car necessary? Could you walk or cycle shorter distances? Would taking public transport or car sharing work out cheaper? These are all questions that you should be asking. Finally, make sure that you’re buying your petrol from the cheapest place near you by checking www.petrolprices.com.

Boosting Budgets

You might find it harder to increase your incomings than to reduce your outgoings, but there are many ways to add a little extra to the budget. Increasing your employment is an obvious one, that may be easier said than done. It is always worth asking to be considered for overtime, extra shifts, promotions etc, however, to ensure that you’re at the front of people’s minds should opportunities arise.

Turning clutter into cash is easier than ever, with eBay and Music Magpie being great places to sell items online. Or head on down to your local car boot sale to have a clear out the old-fashioned way!

Check that you’re getting all the benefits that you’re entitled to at entitledto.com, and be sure to do a tax credits renewal every year, even if you haven’t previously received payments.

A day spent going over your incomings and outgoings can have surprising results – often saving £100’s fairly painlessly. Invest time in balancing your budgets and scrutinising your spreadsheets, for a healthier financial situation.

Comments: 23

  1. Irving July 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm Reply

    The State of California spend more money on prison than they do in school. There has been suggestion that we should let the non violent offenders go and arm our citizens in order to balance our budget. Do you think it’s a good idea? Why or why not?

  2. Cristopher October 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm Reply

    I’m 14, and I’m concerned about the country’s direction. We’re in trouble economically and we have a deficit crisis. Yet the Democrats’ policies are completely against the principles America stands for: limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility. Their policies make it harder for people to create jobs.
    -The Democrats support raising taxes on “the rich” and “greedy corporations”, yet the rich are the ones that create our jobs! And raising taxes on business means less money can be used to create jobs. They also want to raise spending ad infinitum, which increases the national debt. This creates a huge cloud of uncertainty in the business community about if their taxes will go up. We already have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and businesses are in mass exodus to countries with fairer tax codes.
    -The Democrats support more job-killing regulations of industries.. For example, if an onion farmer drops a few of his onions on the very same soil it’s grown on, those onions can’t be brought to market. This raises food prices, which in turn, means less economic growth.
    -The Democrats support increasing the minimum wage. This sounds like good policy, but it means companies can hire less employees. It’s unfair to poor people because it decreases the amount of unskilled labor a company can hire. Also, it drives up the cost of products, discouraging consumption, which is very bad for the economy.
    -The Democrats refuse to allow drilling offshore and on the ground. They won’t let us open nuclear power plants or mine for coal. All of this because of the population of some rare species of caribou or environmental extremist reasons like that. Come on! This makes us more dependent on oil from overseas, and it increases the cost of energy. This severely shrinks our economy and it creates pain for families. Gas is at $4/gallon, and Obama’s solution is to tax the oil companies more! Outrageous! Real scientists, like the co-founder of the Weather Channel, know that global warming is a myth!
    -The Democrats oppose the Connie Mac plan which cuts government spending 1 measly percent a year! They’re so opposed to cutting any spending whatsoever and they were able to whine enough to get John Boehner to sign onto a deal that had lots of “future” spending cuts and a lot less in real cuts.
    -The Democrats support “right-to-work” legislation forcing people to join a Union. This makes the US less business-friendly. And the Obama administration wouldn’t let Boeing move its factory to South Carolina because South Carolina was a right-to-work state! Prohibiting a company from doing business and creating jobs when families are struggling? What kind of “change” is that?
    -As I pointed out earlier, Democrats support increasing taxes which winds up decreasing government revenue. When you take a greater percentage out of the private economy, you have a smaller economy and less growth. This hurts the amount of revenue government takes in.
    -Democrats have opposed every real plan to reduce the deficit, including the Connie Mac plan(mentioned earlier), Cut Cap and Balance, and the Republican Study Commission Plan. They are the party of no solutions, blank checks, and smoke-and-mirrors budgeting.

    All in all, Democrats are a conglomerate of liberal activists, freak-environmentalists, atheist progressive vegans, union thugs, and socialists.

    Please tell me Democrats, why do you oppose cutting government spending and promoting economic growth? Balanced budgets and lower taxes are basic principles that made this country strong. Socialism has always failed. Entrepreneurship is what will save us from the recession, not more government spending. You are jeopardizing my country’s future by leaving us a mountain of debt(crisis started in 2006 when the Dems took over Congress) and a weak economy. Why?

  3. Marisha November 13, 2013 at 12:19 am Reply

    I know this is a silly question but I am trying to come up with a better budget. Money gets tight so I am trying to cut down on things I buy out of the blue. I should just buy things I need. And, not use the credit card for whatever. Any suggestions?

  4. Marcelina November 27, 2013 at 4:15 am Reply

    Seriously, I would really like to know. We all see where balancing budgets has gotten Wisconsin under Governor Scott Walker, a criminal defense fund, last in job creation, against women’s equality, and stripping workers’ rights. How does balancing the federal budget create jobs, stop corruption, and reduce government dependency?

  5. Renay December 22, 2013 at 5:03 am Reply

    Romney wants to cut $500 billion, but that won’t balance the budget. He also wants to expand military which will cost even more. Has Gingrich offered a balanced budget plan?

  6. Deane January 15, 2014 at 1:25 am Reply

    To extend tax cuts for 10 years it will result in $5 trillion less revenue. With no offset this will increase the deficit and debt. The CBO says at most 30% of tax cuts come back as revenue. I like lower taxes but the budget has to get balanced some time. Is this the type of personal responsibility we can believe in?
    I am all for tax cuts but it will increase the deficit, that is a fact. Anything that increases the deficit is not exactly responsible right now. Tax cuts do not increase revenue for the proof look at the CBO study at:

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/69xx/doc6908/12-01-10PercentTaxCut.pdf
    I totally agree that no economist would suggest we raise taxes now because it should increase demand in a recession. This has nothing to do finding ways to compensate for the $5 trillion we won’t ever have in the budget!
    You have to remember Republicans that started this tax cut wave in the 80’s also were of the opinion that “deficits don’t matter”. We can be smarter then that now because we KNOW deficits do matter!

  7. Mack January 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm Reply

    A government can balance a budget by spending less, borrowing or increasing its income. What are the problems that could occur in each method of balancing the budget?

  8. Socorro January 20, 2014 at 8:37 pm Reply

    I’m 14, and I’m concerned about the country’s direction. We’re in trouble economically and we have a deficit crisis. Yet the Democrats’ policies are completely against the principles America stands for: limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility. Their policies make it harder for people to create jobs.
    -The Democrats support raising taxes on “the rich” and “greedy corporations”, yet the rich are the ones that create our jobs! And raising taxes on business means less money can be used to create jobs. They also want to raise spending ad infinitum, which increases the national debt. This creates a huge cloud of uncertainty in the business community about if their taxes will go up. We already have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and businesses are in mass exodus to countries with fairer tax codes.
    -The Democrats support more job-killing regulations of industries.. For example, if an onion farmer drops a few of his onions on the very same soil it’s grown on, those onions can’t be brought to market. This raises food prices, which in turn, means less economic growth.
    -The Democrats support increasing the minimum wage. This sounds like good policy, but it means companies can hire less employees. It’s unfair to poor people because it decreases the amount of unskilled labor a company can hire. Also, it drives up the cost of products, discouraging consumption, which is very bad for the economy.
    -The Democrats refuse to allow drilling offshore and on the ground. They won’t let us open nuclear power plants or mine for coal. All of this because of the population of some rare species of caribou or environmental extremist reasons like that. Come on! This makes us more dependent on oil from overseas, and it increases the cost of energy. This severely shrinks our economy and it creates pain for families. Gas is at $4/gallon, and Obama’s solution is to tax the oil companies more! Outrageous! Real scientists, like the co-founder of the Weather Channel, know that global warming is a myth!
    -The Democrats oppose the Connie Mac plan which cuts government spending 1 measly percent a year! They’re so opposed to cutting any spending whatsoever and they were able to whine enough to get John Boehner to sign onto a deal that had lots of “future” spending cuts and a lot less in real cuts.
    -The Democrats support “right-to-work” legislation forcing people to join a Union. This makes the US less business-friendly. And the Obama administration wouldn’t let Boeing move its factory to South Carolina because South Carolina was a right-to-work state! Prohibiting a company from doing business and creating jobs when families are struggling? What kind of “change” is that?
    -As I pointed out earlier, Democrats support increasing taxes which winds up decreasing government revenue. When you take a greater percentage out of the private economy, you have a smaller economy and less growth. This hurts the amount of revenue government takes in.
    -Democrats have opposed every real plan to reduce the deficit, including the Connie Mac plan(mentioned earlier), Cut Cap and Balance, and the Republican Study Commission Plan. They are the party of no solutions, blank checks, and smoke-and-mirrors budgeting.

    All in all, Democrats are a conglomerate of liberal activists, freak-environmentalists, atheist progressive vegans, union thugs, and socialists.

    Please tell me Democrats, why do you oppose cutting government spending and promoting economic growth? Balanced budgets and lower taxes are basic principles that made this country strong. Socialism has always failed. Entrepreneurship is what will save us from the recession, not more government spending. You are jeopardizing my country’s future by leaving us a mountain of debt(crisis started in 2006 when the Dems took over Congress) and a weak economy. Why?
    I do remember 9/11, and it is one of the many reasons I became a conservative. I know that evil exists in the world and that terrorists hate us for our freedom. We need to stand up to them and be corageous and strong. We’re not Portugal or Chile, we are the United States. We need to have an assertive foreign policy that is not soft like the liberals want it to be.
    I do remember 9/11, and it is one of the many reasons I became a conservative. I know that evil exists in the world and that terrorists hate us for our freedom. We need to stand up to them and be corageous and strong. We’re not Portugal or Chile, we are the United States. We need to have an assertive foreign policy that is not soft like the liberals want it to be.

  9. Zane February 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm Reply

    obviously he is makiing some tough cuts. See below.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3009078/posts

  10. Willie February 12, 2014 at 1:09 am Reply

    We are getting married in just over 7 months, and my fiance just got laid off! I’m starting to panic. We have even talked about postponing… which I really really don’t want to do! We already have deposits down on a hall, where we are also having the ceremony, the DJ, the photographer and JP. I got really good deals on all above, and my parents paid for my dress. Only problem now is I’m afraid we wont have the balances due in time. And I still need the cake, flowers, decor, favors, my shoes, veil, hair stylist… ugh! Someone help please!!!

  11. Elisha February 20, 2014 at 4:09 am Reply

    Are you tired of Democrats talking about cutting the deficit in the past few years the way Obama keeps repeating when in the past 4 years our government predominately controlled by democrats on the federal level have added $5.8 TRILLION to the national debt?

    Am I missing something? How is allegedly cutting future deficits considered a cut?

    If Obama really wants to be balanced, why can’t he balance the nation’s finances?

  12. Lance February 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm Reply

    I need to know for a debate in class

  13. Jeffry February 22, 2014 at 6:19 am Reply

    Because Ron Paul proves you wrong! The rest just want more spending and debt. No one else offers this.
    http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/ron-paul-plan-to-restore-america/

  14. Reynaldo February 22, 2014 at 7:21 am Reply

    Would a Tax increase help balance the budget in the long run I’m a Conservative but I’m also open to a small tax increase if it helps make things better.

    Call me a Liberal all you want but I’m for compromise if it helps to make the economy no matter who is president.
    Lol @Dawn of the zombies Sorry not old enough yet I think it be interesting though maybe someday.

  15. Nicolas March 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm Reply

    From my perspective….

    1. Return to 2007 spend levels. If we could do it 5 years ago, we should be able to do it now. Federal spending has increased a whopping 39% in that short time frame. Freeze spending at that level for 3 to 4 years as specific Federal Departments learn to effectively manage their budgets.
    2. Review all subsidies, ie Farm, Oil etc.. for risk versus return
    3. Freeze all public pensions for those under 47 and shift to an employee match retirement format similar to the 401k. Raise the Federal retirement age. If your 46, you would still receive earned pension to date, however, you would finish off ur career with a 401k (Like the rest of us do). Eliminates future unfunded liabilities….
    * This would not include Military personnel
    4. Freeze Federal hiring with the exception of key intelligence and law enforcement positions. Back fill other vacancies with existing employees, and as people retire, shift to a leaner work force model
    5. Peg Social Security Retirement age to life expectancy. When started, we had 35 workers to every retiree, now its 3.5 to 1. This simple step makes SS solvent forever AND reduces the total SS revenues required and subsequently the tax burden will go down.
    6. Reduce Corporate taxes. Like t or not, they hire and employee Americans with great paying jobs.
    7. Shift departments and programs as required down to the state level. Reduce and eliminate the Federal sink hole of bureaucracy
    8. Freeze defense spending. Bottom line, in order to preserve our way of life, we need the strongest military in the world, and that military requires the greatest that technology has to offer

    That’s as far as I’ve gotten, haven’t figured out health care yet.
    Forget war….Until the Federal Government proves that it can spend out money efficiently and with accountability, I will vehemently oppose any for of tax increases. Fix the root cause first.

  16. Ai March 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm Reply

    I’m thinking about moving out of my parents’ house and getting an apartment. I’m trying to think of everything that I will have to pay for, am I forgetting anything?

    Rent + Utilities
    Groceries
    Health Insurance
    Student Loan Payments
    Car Insurance
    Gas for Car

    Am I forgetting anything?

  17. Normand March 16, 2014 at 1:21 am Reply

    Tackle every unnecessary penny spent, really look through the books and make the government more cost efficient. Do you think that would balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting services? I mean it was easy enough to save all that money from Medicare regardless of your opinion about were it went.

  18. Gerald March 18, 2014 at 6:08 am Reply

    If the economy doesn’t improve, we let it go back to spending more than it takes in and we even humbly acknowledge its need to borrow more … just like it is now.
    John- As recent as the Cliton admin gov minimized spending enough to create a surplus that GW gave away.
    Will- Clinton minimized spending and the economy quickly reversed f/ the recession associated w/ the Bush senior admin … how do you explain that?
    I also see that attempting to spend the way out of economic turmoil is not effective.
    I know you have provided many details and when you speak them … it makes sense. However, I’m impatient and 10 yrs. is too long when politics as usual equates to more of the samer. GW started the economic mess by polishing his image and sending surplus checks to the taxpayers then he signed every spending bill to cross his desk.
    Obama just picked up where GW left off … he borrowed more money and the economy is still mired in the toilet. I submit gov needs to set an example by spending responsibly at least temporarily. If this doesn’t work, then let’s go back to where we are now and pick up w/ this.
    It’s my position that America wants to see gov set a responsible approach to spending … w/o it, nothing will change.
    Americans don’t know the complexities of economics as you explain them. We want to see gov set the same example as we are expected to live by … balance the budget.
    I guarantee, Americans are not comfortable w/ defictit spending ad infinitum. At some point the debt is too much and I suspect we are hovering at that point now.
    I have more money in the bank than I ever have had in my lifetime. I won’t spend any of it as disposable income because I’m afraid my next check will be my last. If I feel this way, others do.
    The latest economic figure … American borrowing is down 3%. Will, the numbers don’t lie. Loans are harder to come by and folks are less likely to borrow on credit cards … this is economic turmoil.
    Gov can cut spending in many places. Privatize the Post Office … I don’t need junk mail 6 days a week. I can pay my bills on line.
    Put NASA on hold … how does putting a satellite on Mars circumvent the folks falling f/ the middle class into poverty?
    No more air shows … these cost taxpayers millions of dollars and they are designed as recruiting measures when the reality is ANY gov job is more secure than the private sector.
    Cut the military budget … America acts like it needs to flex its military muscle to justify the billions it spends on it.
    edit

    Gov doesn’t minimize its spending. I’m still convinced it’s wasting untold dollars every yr. I never hear about downsizing or eliminating programs that have out lived their utility. Gov has gotten bigger until we can no longer afford it. We can’t add to the debt endlessly and the numbers are astronomical. Americans will open their pocket books when gov sets a postive example. Leading by example … hmm … what a concept! Too bad govs example is a poor one and the economic numbers reflect this.
    Will, Americans don’t know or particularly care about the complexities of economics. All they know is how they see us being lead and it doesn’t make sense to only add to a debt that is already too alarming.
    edit

    Will, Amen to your re edit. I totally agree. As far as what I can do? Pretty much nothing except cast my vote for the 3rd party. I DO feel a sense of relief to be able to ourcry in the forum.
    Will, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about the PO.
    It’s my understanding that mail was once so important, it came twice a day. Then it was changed to to once. I like to think this occurred back in the day when gov worked for us and it increased efficiency. Fast forward to email. Folks are far more likely to use this to message. Folks can pay bills on line, heck, we can even send email greeting cards. My mail is mostly flyers of solicitation. Even as we speak companies are fast expanding their email base to reach specific customers w/ coupons/sales. Bulk mail is the best customer. Eventually it will have to raise the rates one too many times. See where I’m going w/ this? The PO doesn’t need to deliver mail 6 days a week … more like 4 or even 3.
    But, gov won’t re evaluate programs that have out lived their utility … the PO is among the best examples. This is why I included it above … again, symbolism. I believe it is apathetic about the failed economics (it certainly doesn’t MAKE money), sympathetic to those employed by it and hoping we will be empathetic about this albatross (it’s hindering progress). I think this is pathetic … :).
    Gov probably could have fore seen the downfall w/ the advent of email but it was too selfish. Now, I doubt any one would even bid on it if it was up for privatization.
    Hmmm, maybe someone would bid on it. Hire new employees, cut wages/benefits significantly and make a profit.
    There are plenty of folks looking for work … mail carrier can’t be very challenging.

  19. Mariam March 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm Reply

    I heard that McCain has a plan to pay for his tax cuts for the wealthy and oil companies and other rich people by just reducing the amount of money the federal government spends on bear research? Who would have thought all this time that balancing the budget would be so easy?

    Tax cuts for the wealthy are a big part of McCains tax plan, and if you don’t know that, you don’t know much about McCain. Capital gains tax cuts, extending Bush tax cuts, inheritance tax cuts, corporate tax cuts (you do know who benefits from corporate profits, right)?
    McCain wants to cut corporate taxes $100 billion a year, McCain wants to eliminate alternative minimum tax reducing rich peoples tax bill by $65 billion a year. So how much can he save by cutting pork barrel earmarks? About $18 billion.
    Where the heck will the rest of his expensive benefits for the rich come from?
    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=mccains_delusional_tax_plan

  20. Porsche March 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm Reply

    Lets take a fictitious government agency: The Bureau of Bureaucratic Bureaucracy that has a $100M dollar budget

    If Congress bonused the Head of that department, so he/she would get a 10% bonus for every $1 cut

    So if he cut the $100M budget, down to say $75M, he would earn a $2.5M bonus

    Taxpayers would save $25M so the bonus would be well worth it.

    How fast would fraud, waste, bloat and abuse disappear from the Federal Budget if Federal Managers started walking away with 7 figure CUT bonuses?

  21. Emely April 2, 2014 at 6:50 am Reply

    It seemed like a sure thing with cuts to social safety nets and ObamaCare.

  22. Carrie May 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm Reply

    I am debating in class why the governement should not balance its budget. First what does it mean by balancing its budget. Second what are some good points that i can use.

  23. Apryl June 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm Reply

    Are You Guys Sure?

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