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It’s the little things that make the difference, by Brian Milne


My columns over the last few months have made comment on various issues, such as interest rate rises, the uncertainty over independence and rising house prices. All these big issues will no doubt, regardless of their outcome, filter out to affect all of us in varying degrees.

However, over the course of the next few columns, I thought it would be worthwhile detailing from my experience the steps that you can take right now that can have a quicker impact on your finances.

  1. Where does your money go?

Most folk have no idea where they spend their money: sure everyone has a fair idea of how much the big ticket items such as rent or mortgage payments are, but it’s the smaller things that can easily add up. Spending £2.50 for a morning latte on the way to work may seem like a small sum, but adds up to around £600 per year. Another big ticket item is repaying debt. If this makes up more than 20% of your income, it’s time to take serious mitigating steps to cut back.

  1. Re-budget

Review the smaller discretionary items, annualise their costs and see if they still seem value for money. See if you can identify cheaper alternatives: bring your own coffee to work; do you really need a full satellite package?

Over the next few articles, I’ll discuss what else can be done to save money, in the meantime there are plenty of apps for smartphones that can help track your monthly spending and monitor what you’ve spent against your budget.

Brian Milne is a partner in the business recovery practice of French Duncan Chartered Accountants