Now, what if you were to talk to friends or family about how tight money is, about your worst spending habits, or about your debts? Would they respond with loathing, creating shame? If the answer is yes, you have to wonder what sort of friends they are.

But I would say the answer for most of us is definitely not. They may be shocked. If it affects them, they may also at first be angry that you kept it from them. But the chances are they will be, or become, supportive, even if you have previously lied or bent the truth. Many will admire your courage in admitting it and in your drive to make improvements. There is no need for guilt to suppress your money secrets!


2. A short bout of abstinence

This trick is to spend as little as you can for one to six weeks to help cut back on some debt, or to replenish exhausted savings. You do no clothes, gadget or DVD shopping whatsoever. Go to the library to get free entertainment or swap DVDs with friends. No coffees on the way to work and make your own sandwiches. Buy the bare essentials for your fridge, no big brands, and switch off lights when you’re not using them.

All social activities take place at your home, or your friends’. Each host raids his drinks cabinet for whatever rotten stuff he’s tasted and pushed to the back for three years, and he tries to mix it into something drinkable. Then you play cards or a board game, or watch a DVD.

All those sorts of things could make you hundreds of euros better off. If you’re successful, try it again another time, perhaps adding on another week.


3. An ancient weapon to control your desires

There are some very simple things anyone can do that will ease you into properly budgeting.

One of the oldest tools since we developed written language must be the list. The simple list is powerful enough to bring down unnecessary expenditures. Regardless of your financial position or your goals, having extra cash will be useful.

I have several suggestions for lists. My top one is to keep a spending diary for two months. Carry a piece of paper everywhere and write on it every penny you spend on household bills, shopping and everything else. After a month or two, inspect your list for patterns and areas where you could make cutbacks.

Ensure you add to the list immediately after you make the purchase, not when you pay off your bill. This stops you from deluding yourself by buying, say, €80 of clothes with cash, and then putting another €50-worth on the credit card while counting it towards next month – because you know you’ll only do it again.

Everyone who does this sees at least a few surprises where they can reduce expenditure without impacting their happiness. Please contact us for a free budget checklist.

If you want an even more simple list, write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket and stick to it.

This article aims to give information, not advice. Always do your own research and/or seek out advice from a Financial Broker before acting on anything contained in this article.

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