With Britain still recovering from a recession, it's easy to feel as though you're living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Don't despair! These 20 easy ways will help you save cash and make your budget go further!
1. Clear your credit card debt
Saving money is impossible when you have debts, because the money you would otherwise have saved has to be spent on the interest on the original debt. If you pay off your credit cards, you don’t have to pay interest anymore, meaning your money is your own again.
2. Have a good look at your bills
We all need gas and electric, there’s no escaping that, but people tend to stick with one supplier. The market is competitive, so it’s possible you could be paying less with a different supplier. It’s easy to check online, and changing is easy. This also works for phone lines, if you think you might be better off elsewhere, its best to check if you could save on your bills.
3. Consider a pay as you go mobile
If you have a £30 a month contract but you don’t use anywhere near the amount of minutes that you have, it’s effectively like putting £10 notes in the bin. If pay as you go is cheaper for you, make the switch and save. This is also an excellent tip for if you go on holiday abroad, have a pay as you go mobile to avoid roaming charges as they can be ruinous.
4. Make a shopping list
We’ve all gone in the supermarket for a sandwich and come out with a week’s worth of food. This is unnecessary, because chances are it’s not stuff you would normally buy and potentially won’t use. Having a list that you stick to will save you money. Also, look around the shelves to avoid being caught out by marketing tricks, such as “eye level is buy level”. Chances are if you use your eyes, you will find a cheaper product a few shelves down. Always check that multi-buy deals are worth having before investing, as often the saving is small, or a better deal is available.
5. There’s no shame in smart price
The value ranges from supermarkets are often good food for a fraction of the price of branded products. Often people are used to the brands that they buy, so they don’t even look at other brands in the supermarket. This is bad for the budget! Give other brands a go, they might be tasty and save you a lot on your food bill!
6. De-clutter and fill your purse at the same time
Websites such as eBay and Gumtree have thousands of customers ready to buy your clutter. If you have a dress that you don’t wear anymore, as long as it’s in a decent condition, you could sell it rather than giving it away or putting it in the bin. This gives you a bit of a return, and gives you some money towards a new dress! This has the added benefit of being really eco friendly as well as a great way to save towards new clothes!
7. Live within your means
If you can’t afford designer labels, be happy with Primark. Spending money you don’t have will only put you in debt, paying loads and loads of interest, which makes an expensive item a lot more expensive. Most of the time, you are paying more for the name than the product, so save your pennies.
DIY can save you an absolute fortune, and can be quite fun (sometimes). Obviously there are some things you need to get an expert for, like I don’t suggest that you try and re-wire your house as a DIY novice, but decorating yourself rather than getting someone in will save you a small fortune, and you get the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing that you did it all yourself!
9. Don’t pay full price if you don’t have to
There are lots of voucher sites out there now, such as Groupon and Wowcher, that offer amazing discounts on anything from beauty treatments, theme park tickets, holidays, products, dinners or experience days. These sites will send a daily email, which can really fill up your inbox, but some of the deals offered are unmissable.
10. Beware clothes sales
It’s so easy to get dazzled by deals in a sale, but it’s worth asking yourself “do I need this” or “do I have anything this will go with”. If you don’t have anything for it to go with, it will either sit in your wardrobe, unworn, or you will buy a whole new outfit to suit it, which means it’s not a bargain anymore. If you don’t need it, it is simply an unnecessary expense.
11. Walk/cycle to work
Walking to work is free, as is cycling if you have a bike. If you don’t, buying a bike is a lot cheaper than buying a car plus insurance, tax, breakdown cover and fuel. A lot of workplaces run a cycle to work scheme, where they buy bikes and rent them to employees. This is good for the environment, your body and your bank balance.
12. Cancel your gym membership
Do you really use the gym often enough to have a membership? If you count up how many times you go a month and divide that by the monthly cost of the membership, you’ll get a good idea of how much it’s costing or saving you.
13. Bin off the extra channels
14. Go to market
Going to a market allows you to buy local produce from specialists. It also allows you to buy just as much as you want, rather than big supermarket packs that you might not get through.
15.Give up ready meals
If you’re cooking for more than 2, cooking fresh is cheaper and more impressive.
16. Make plans and stick to them
If you plan to go out for a drink after work, go – saving money doesn’t mean you have to be boring – but make sure it’s just one drink. It’s so easy to go out for one and come back in a taxi after quite a few, kebab in hand. This means something that should have cost less than a fiver has cost an awful lot more than that, which will only add to how rough you’re going to feel the next day.
17. Shop online
Online shopping seems to be the way forward. Ordering your shop from a supermarket is a good idea, as you can’t get distracted online by all the lovely food on show. The cost of the delivery will be nothing compared to the half-trolley-of-unnecessary-stuff you would have bought if you had have gone.
18. Get what you’re entitled to
If you’re entitled to benefits or tax credits, make sure you get them. These schemes are put in place for people that really need them, so if you’re entitled, they could make your life easier.
19. Use your library
20. Make do and mend
If you have a dress with a hole in it, get your sewing kit out, fix the hole and it’s as good as new. A small hole in something or a missing button does not mean you have to throw it away, just fix it and save yourself a fortune. It’s not hard, and it works for all kinds of things, not just clothes. Get creative and save yourself a fortune.