With the rises in the cost of energy, food and other goods and services, many of us are taking a closer look at our expenses and trying to cut back. If you’re thinking about ways to tighten your belt or want to know what help might be available – here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Do you understand where your money is going?

Many of us aren’t truly aware of our spending. One simple way to fix that is to keep a spending diary. Tracking expenses for even a few days can be eye opening. Any tracking system is fine, so long as it’s easy. So use an app, pen and paper, or tally spending on your mobile. It is fairly common to spend more than we think we have – especially with contactless payments. The sums really do add up.

Do you have things you aren’t using but are paying for?

It’s so easy to forget about things we’ve bought but aren’t using, like subscriptions and memberships. If you have recurring expenses for things that you’re not using, there’s no easier way to cut costs than to cancel them. If you’re not getting any benefit from what you’re paying for, the odds are you won’t miss them when they’re gone. You can always resubscribe, if your needs change.

Have you got a budget?

It is often easy to over spend especially if you don't have a plan in place.  Once you've found out where you money is going and cancelled anything you aren't using, you can begin to see how much you have left and how best to allocate it.  The MoneyHelper has a range of budgeting tips and tools which may be helpful, you can see them here.

Check if you’re entitled to any extra support

There are a number of government schemes designed to provide additional support to people struggling with the cost of living rises. You can read more about what is available here

You can also check the Citizen Advice Bureau to see what help is at hand in your local areas, how to get support paying the essentials and other useful information about coping in todays uncertain times. Find out more here

Could you benefit from Financial Advice?

Financial advice can help people make the most of their money and get you on track for saving for the future.   A financial adviser will chat to you about your current situation and financial goals, then put together personal recommendations to make your money work harder.

If you don't already have a Financial Advice you can find one here