Have you ever looked at your bank account balance and wondered where all your wages went to? Nowadays it’s easy to lose track of your expenses when buying something because it’s as simple as tapping your phone on the contactless card reader. And often each purchase is just a small amount, right? So, what’s the harm in a coffee here and there, or a stylish shirt that is half price? Well, all these purchases keep adding up and before you know it, they have left you with less disposable income than you thought!

What is invisible spending?

Invisible spending is when you make small purchases without giving much thought to them, often because of how cheap they seem to be. A coffee on your way to the office, your lunchtime takeaway five times a week, or clothes on sale from your favourite brand. They might not look like much separately but all these transactions together add up to quite a bit at the end of the month!

Take a minute to look at last month’s bank statement and start adding up all the small purchases you made without even thinking twice about them. Did the figure in your calculator startle you? Now multiply that figure by 12 and you’ll get a rough idea of how much your invisible spending is costing you yearly.

But rest assured you’re not in this alone. In fact, studies show that the average U.K. adult spends around £20 a week on these kinds of transaction, which over your entire adult working life means you could spend over £45,000 on invisible items.

Now, we’re not saying you should stop living your life and save all the money that you make, but maybe cutting a little bit here and there would mean you will be able to save a little more along the way for life’s luxuries, or as a safety net.

Could I be cutting back on unnecessary expenses?

Maybe looking at your bank statement and reviewing every little purchase you made last month helped you pick up on a thing or two that you could live without. Maybe that sweater you bought because you could perfectly picture it in a few outfits hasn’t even left your room since you got it 25 days back. Or maybe all the coffee you bought on your way to the office adds up to £50 a month and now you’re considering bringing it from home instead. No matter the case, if you’re determined to lower that invisible spending figure, we have a few suggestions that might help you!

Track your expenses

Did you know there are several free expense tracker apps that can help you pinpoint where your income is mostly being spent? Some of them will ask you to link your credit and debit cards to your account so that every time you purchase something the app pulls your transaction and categorises it. You can also create a budget and the app will help you stick to it.

Now, we know that not everyone feels comfortable sharing their card details, so if that’s the case you’ll be happy to know that some other apps simply store the information you add manually.

Alternatively, if you’re more of an old-school soul, you can always just get a notebook and write down all your monthly expenses classifying them into essential, disposable and invisible.

Once you have a clearer idea of how your money is being spent, you can start making small changes to modify your habits little by little and save some extra money every month.

Prep your meals

Do you eat out often? Maybe it’s become a habit to buy prepped meals during the week just because you’re in the office and it’s the most convenient option. Or maybe you just don’t have the energy to prep next day’s lunch after a long day at work. Don’t get us wrong, we totally get that, but the truth is that you could be saving hundreds of pounds a month if you were to cook your own meals. Plus, that way you get to eat healthy meals as that’s not always an option when buying food to-go.

Reduce your travel expenses

Another routine that would help both your pocket and your health is walking to work if you can do so. Taking the tube every day can be stressful – especially during rush hours! – and expensive too. If you live relatively close to your workplace, why don’t you walk there instead? Or maybe even take the bike. This will help both your mental and physical health and save you hundreds per month.

Cut costs on your groceries

You can also consider making a grocery list and setting a shopping limit each week. This will help you avoid buying things you don’t really need and make sure you get everything you do need.

Review your memberships

And what about that gym membership you’ve been paying for forever now but barely ever used? Or that cable subscription you just forgot about? It’s easy to forget about all these recurring monthly bills and they keep adding up, so if you’re not really using them it might be worth cancelling them.

What can I do with the money I have saved?

There are quite a few things you can do with the money you have saved! If you follow our suggestions, you are likely to end up saving quite a bit by the end of each month, and if you keep up the good work it’ll probably be a generous amount by the end of the year. You might want to spend part of this money on Christmas gifts for your loved ones or maybe even a well-deserved trip to reconnect with your family.

Those are good ideas, but hopefully you won’t spend all the money you have managed to save throughout the year. So, what should your short and long-term saving goals be? Having saving goals can help you stay motivated and try to find new ways to save a little more, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

You might want to start with a short-term goal first as reaching a milestone can motivate you towards your next objective. A few common short-term saving goals are buying a new car or making home improvements now that it looks like we’re spending more time at home than ever! If you’d rather set a long-term goal, you can consider saving to buy your very own first home or even start saving towards your retirement.

Ideally, putting these saving tips into practice will help you change your mindset and daily lifestyle over time in a way that avoiding invisible spending will become natural to you so that you can save more towards your future without even realising. While you shouldn’t stop living your life and having sporadic and well-deserved treats, you shouldn’t forget about your future either.

We understand that saving money when it’s sometimes hard to meet your priority bills might not be easy, but we certainly hope these suggestions will help make it a bit easier for you. Nonetheless, if you still find yourself in a bit of a financial shortfall and think a loan could be the short-term solution to that, at cashasap.co.uk we offer tailored loans that you can repay in up to six months.