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Five tips for managing your money

Tip 1 – Monitor your expenses

Do you know how much you spend on food, travelling, social events, or hobbies during the month? The first step in planning your finances is to know where your money goes. Every one of us has some kind of guess or assumption on our monthly expenses. If you haven’t been systematically monitoring your expenses lately, the start of summer and the end of the semester is a good moment to do that. Working in the summer or going on a summer holiday may essentially affect your income and expenses.

Challenge yourself to record all your expenses for one month. You can use the free Penno tool for this, available at It will only take a few minutes per day, and monitoring your expenses will probably reveal to you something important about your consumer behaviour. It’s worth trying! For motivation, you can promise yourself a small reward at the end of the month.

Tip 2 – How to start saving?

Are you going to work for the summer and hope that you could save some of your salary? Here are a few tips for easier saving:

First, set a saving goal. Think about what you want to save money for. Take a picture of your goal and set it as wallpaper on your phone so that you will remember the goal even when you feel like spending money.

Open a savings account for transferring the saved money. You can easily open an account in most online banks. After that, automatise the savings so that on each payday, a selected sum will be automatically transferred to your savings account. This way, the amount to be saved will be one fixed payment among other compulsory payments. It’s easier to succeed in saving money if it is not available on your current account.

Tip 3 – What to save from?

Have you thought about how much takeaway coffees, hamburger meals, or streaming services cost annually? In a month or a year, the costs can cumulate into a significant amount. For example, two coffees per week or one 8-euro hamburger meal per week totals ca. €415 per year. Small sums will eventually turn into large sums.

Monitoring your spending may help you find these small everyday savings. For example, cooking a larger amount of food and freezing some of it may save you both time and money. When circumstances allow, you can also save by cooking together with your friends. Instead of eating out, you can invite your friends to come over and cook with you. For example, with only twenty euros you can cook a delicious pizza or hamburger meal for five.

Tip 4 – How to save on food expenses?

After accommodation, the second biggest expense is food. Also, 40% of the environmental effects of our consumption comes from food. Here are a few tips for saving in food expenses and eating in an environmentally friendly way in the summer:

  • Spring and summer bring to the stores a vast selection of domestic vegetables and berries in season. When you prioritise the produce that is in season, you’ll save both money and the environment.
  • Pack homemade lunches to work, the park, or for travel. Homemade lunches are a lot cheaper than store-bought sandwiches or smoothies. That way, you will also reduce the amount of trash produced.
  • You can also utilise food waste apps with which you can buy cheaper food from restaurants.

Tip 5 – Reducing your consumption

Why should you monitor your finances? There are many benefits. Managing your money increases your overall wellbeing, creates experiences of success, and, at best, improves your financial situation.

In the end, financial management and an economical lifestyle consist of everyday choices such as planning your purchases, reducing the number of impulse purchases, and monitoring your expenses. Financial management also requires skill and cannot be mastered instantly. It may require restraint, and you can encounter difficulties. However, you shouldn’t get discouraged if you face difficulties.

Reducing your consumption may be hard when you see advertisements of new things to consume everywhere, and the social pressure to consume is high. Many of us have ended up buying something if a social media influencer that we follow has recommended it. Various sale campaigns urge us to buy immediately to utilise the best discounts.

With new purchases, you should stop and think about the following questions, at the minimum:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Could I cope with my old one or another product that I already have?
  • Could I borrow this from somewhere?

One good way to reduce your consumption is to set a rule for yourself that before purchasing, you’ll sleep on the decision.

These money tips were originally given by Sanna Apajalahti, service designer for the Rahat riittää! project.  This was a joint project by the Guarantee Foundation and the Martha Organization. The goal of the project was to provide households with financial skills to prevent financial and debt problems and to support their everyday survival. The tips were slightly updated in May 2021.

In the Find Help section on our website, you’ll find counselling providers related to money and accommodation