The ‘Challenge Every Expense’ strategy for SMEs

BY Australian Retailers Association
26 June 2020

If you have used a personal budget before, you might be familiar with the ‘Challenge Every Expense’ strategy. It is a budgeting tactic that asks you to carefully examine your expenses and cut away unnecessary expenditure, often readjusting the way you approach spending in your daily life.

This personal budgeting strategy for Aussie SMEs, helps identify unnecessary expenses and reduce spending in a time of financial instability. Create a business budget spreadsheet using the below guide to help you view all your expenses in one place.

3-Step Challenge Every Expense Strategy for SMEs:

Step 1: List every expense

The first step to reducing your business spending is to list out every expense that occurs weekly, fortnightly, monthly, and yearly. Collating a list of all expenses, which includes the frequency of payments, will allow you to compare the cost of these expenses over a year. As a business owner, you should also include any personal work expenses - e.g. buying lunch for the office with your personal card - which may not be included on your business accounts.

Step 2: Sort your expenses and remove non-essential spending

Once you have your list of expenses, the next step is to sort your spending into essential and non-essential categories. For example, essential expenses may include tax payments, office rent, business insurance, company cars, laptops, and computers, whereas non-essential costs could be excess office paper and stationery, business phones and unused company perks. When you create your own list, include a column which lists out the cost of each expense from highest to lowest.

Step 3: Find a better deal on essentials

Now that you have an organised list of expenses, you can begin cutting out non-essential spending and find better deals on your business essentials.

Even if you only save a few thousand dollars by committing to this strategy, it’s vital money that can be poured back into maintaining and growing your business, and you will benefit from adopting a mindset which questions the necessity of every expense in the future. For business owners in need of extra support, there are various financing options available.

Written by Helen Baker, a financial adviser, author, speaker and spokesperson for online finance information platform

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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