How do I reduce my monthly expenses

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Reduce fixed costs

Reduce fixed costs quickly

It is mostly unpleasant events that lead people to check their personal fixed costs. For example, the bank statement printer could spit out an unpleasant balance, the credit request could be assessed negatively, the ATM could eat the ATM card or even the executor would knock ...

But by then it is often too late - in many cases the avalanche of costs cannot be stopped so quickly. If the account balance doesn't look bad anyway or if the credit officer keeps calling, you should check the fixed costs in good time.

Collect bank statements and invoices

Fixed costs have the nasty quality of constantly increasing over the course of an adult's life. If the salary is then on the account and is gone again immediately ("the month is too long"), you should quickly take the account statement folder or the current bills to hand.

A fixed cost check is done quickly and often brings very astonishing or pleasant results - you can do without some costs, often (but not always) very soon.

Fixed cost check

First, you simply get the account statements from the previous year (they are usually easy to access in internet banking) and look at all the fixed debits (standing orders, collection orders, etc.). Make a note of this on a piece of paper and also write down the respective due dates (the month of the debit). Often there are also quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments to be made, which therefore do not occur in all months.

If you have to make a lot of cash payments besides the account statement, you should also make a note of these. So it often makes sense (if there is a particular need for money) to write down the daily expenses of a representative month (i.e. not November or December for Christmas shopping or summer vacation). These are often lost on the account statement in the total sums of a purchase or an ATM withdrawal.

If such cash lines are recurring expenses, spread these costs over the year (i.e. divide by 12 and add each month).

Very soon you will have an overview of all expenses and should not be surprised by high debits (which you could perhaps switch to monthly debits) - surprising account overdrafts are very expensive!

You should keep the "fixed cost sheet" (if the costs are very different) close to your calendar or be noted in the calendar. In this way you will no longer miss a large debit and you can think about how you can raise this amount in good time.

Even if you should now have a good overview of your fixed costs, the fixed costs are by no means reduced!

Lower fixed costs

Now look at your monthly expenses (and also the other fixed costs) in detail: Are these expenses really necessary or do they have a sufficient income? If the (rarer) last case applies, you can of course still reduce fixed costs - maybe a larger (long-delayed) purchase will turn out to be faster. Normally, however, a fixed cost check is more likely to be done out of financial distress or strict financial planning - and here it is now necessary to cut or reduce some fixed costs.

Below you will find some (frequent) examples of high fixed costs - the tips for reducing fixed costs are of course not useful for everyone, but it would be surprising if you have no unnecessary (or too high) expenses at all:

Reduce rent

The biggest chunk for many people is rent. Normally, you can hardly negotiate a rent reduction here - you only have the opportunity to change something.

Either you are looking for a cheaper or smaller (often cheaper) apartment elsewhere or you are considering a shared apartment. Either you move into one (which is rarely advised to families, but is definitely an option for single people) or you found one yourself. But clarify this with the landlord beforehand - otherwise there could be major problems ...

However, keep in mind that moving often entails new costs - you also have to be able to finance these once in advance.

Household energy

When it comes to electricity, gas, oil and the like, there is often a hundred or two in it. Economical devices, intelligent consumption and cheap shopping are broadly described on the Geldmarie in the area of ​​energy saving. A change of provider for electricity or gas is easier than you might think, if you can, you will opt out of the non-renewable energy form and in the long run use new forms of energy significantly more cheaply (however, a pre-investment is necessary here).

If you are worried about money anyway, you should at least compare the providers of electricity or gas or buy heating oil cheaper than before. Here, too, you will find many tips and comparisons on the Geldmarie.

Anyone who has no options for changing here (but with electricity you have this option!) Should at least use energy sparingly.

Lower car costs

Mr and Mrs Austrians still often define themselves through the car. In any case, the acquisition and operation of a car are also one of the reasons for often high debts.

Do you really need a car (or even several in the same household)? Public transport is much cheaper, car sharing is just a question of organization, second cars are often a luxury.

Of course, many people need their own car every day (for work or in an exposed residential area) - but does it have to be an expensive new car with 150 hp and fully comprehensive insurance? Or do you need comprehensive insurance for 10 years? Do you have to drive an average of 150 on the autobahn (there is no mention of "allowed" here) - or wouldn't 120 km / h also bring you to your destination (and even less stress)?

And can you not drive a newer type of vehicle (with good care and maintenance) for longer than 10 years?

Question after question - you have to give the answer yourself (tailored to your individual situation). In any case, there is a lot of money in here!

Check insurance

Do you have a good insurance advisor? If so, you will also find ongoing direct debits from the insurance company on the account statement. You can insure a lot - but whether all of this is suitable for you is another question ...

The Geldmarie does not want to bring the insurance guild into criticism - you have signed (signed) everything yourself! The insurance advisor (unless he's an old school boar) was just doing his job.

In many cases, nice people also have too many insurances - in individual cases they are even insured twice against the same risk (e.g. accident insurance).

You can usually save quickly (and often a lot) with car insurance: Just check it out on the Internet and think about whether you still need comprehensive insurance. You can find a lot of tips and information on the subject in our extensive section Insurance.

There you will also find advice on waiving premiums or reducing premiums for life, endurance or pension insurance. Often, policyholders have completely wrong products (taken out at a young age and not suitable for the current situation) and thus also high fixed costs. However, do not necessarily allow yourself to be "persuaded" to buy back (if you conclude a new contract at the same time) - advice is often given in a dubious way - buyback is only recommended in extreme cases! More on this also in the insurance section.

By the way, borrowers shouldn't invest too much money in savings insurance or savings books - you can never compensate for the loan interest there! First try to cover your loans and only then think about saving. Only a small nest egg should always be available.

Outside of car insurance, you can often save a lot of money with an insurance comparison. Anyone who has a lot of risk insurance (household, home, legal protection, accident, etc.) should definitely take an insurance check. A lot of money is saved here very quickly!

Borrowing costs

Negotiate well when you take out the loan and stay tuned to the market. Of course, you don't have to torment the bank all the time - but asking from time to time (which is probably less important with automatic interest rate adjustment clauses) certainly doesn't hurt.

A rescheduling of the loan often makes sense with long terms - sometimes even a change of lender. However, consider the costs for the new contract (processing fee) and negotiate these as well. The better the credit rating, the better the basis for negotiation - i.e. reschedule in good time ...

Longer loan terms cost more interest in total - but could significantly reduce your current burden. Avoid the loan shark at all costs - he has seldom initiated a positive turnaround in finances - and contact the bank quickly if you have repayment problems!

As already mentioned above, indebted people should not put too high amounts on savings accounts or savings insurance - debt reduction should be the first priority, only small (if any) sums of money should be invested in retirement, pension or project savings.

Much more information on this in our extensive section loans

Food

You can save a lot of money, especially when it comes to eating. Cooking yourself instead of a restaurant, parties in your own four walls instead of in a gourmet temple and a beer on the veranda instead of in a pub - you can save a few euros again in an emergency. Even the ready-made kitchen from the grocery store is usually cheaper than a restaurant via microwave - and if you are already a restaurant, then pay attention to good menu locations.

It is also important to identify cost traps when shopping on a daily basis - you will find many practical tips under tips for saving money when shopping.

Writing shopping lists (and sticking to them) or going shopping with a cash budget would only be the "basic tips" for shopping. Buying on credit (e.g. mail order company) is certainly not a solution to the debt problem - the loan interest is particularly expensive here!

Telephone and internet

Those who still have old tariffs here usually pay quite a bit more. Nowadays you can often do without the fixed network, cell phones should definitely have a cheap flat rate (if a contract cell phone has to be). People with fewer phone calls can get along well with a used cell phone and a prepaid card - it doesn't always have to be the latest model ...

Most telecommunications providers also offer reasonably priced bundle contracts (combined contracts) for Internet (often also mobile Internet), mobile telephony and landline network.

A change of provider often makes sense here and the old contract (unless there is still a term obligation) is easily terminated - many people have already done this successfully (the phone number can also be taken over).

Self-discipline with credit cards

The availability of credit cards brings many people into financial difficulties: the cards are used and used - and the account balance is there. If you are not in control of your expenses, simply return the credit card. This not only saves you the credit card fee, but maybe also some rather unnecessary expenses.

In the Internet age, a credit card is almost mandatory - but maybe one card in the household will be enough (the respective finance minister then has it).

In particularly difficult cases, it is even smart to hand in the debit card (before the bank can withhold it).

Control donations

People with low incomes in particular often have a good heart and give part of their income or pension to charitable organizations. That is all well and good - but it should be kept within the scope of what is affordable.

Do not sign any automatic debits from the account here, but act with payment slips - you put these on the side in case of acute financial need and donate only when there is enough money in the account again ...

Many people often stack such payment slips up to a freely chosen time - and then pay all donations together. This also allows you to keep track of things (haven't you already donated this year?) And not burden the donation budget excessively.

Cancel newspaper subscriptions

A quality newspaper should of course not only be read on the Internet. Some newspapers (which you will of course refrain from) are more suitable only as (hard) toilet paper and therefore do not necessarily have to be subscribed to. This is practical and often there are also some frills with the subscription - but you should only order a newspaper subscription if the content is worth reading. That is seldom the case.

After you have an Internet connection (otherwise you would probably not be able to read these lines), you could (if you are short of money) only consume newspapers on the Internet - this is usually free of charge.

Control wasted money

Perhaps the most complex point about "fixed costs": Expensive hobbies and vices. Of course, Geldmarie cannot list all the options here - but a record of current expenses (as described above) should open your eyes here.

Many approaches are possible here, from self-control to medical (psychological) support.

Good luck in reducing your fixed costs!