We are already half way through January and as so many got paid early in December and we have had Christmas, New Year and the sales since then. I wanted to share money-saving tips that could help you start saving money so that this time next year money won’t feel this tight again.
Start a simple budget – Knowing what money comes in and what is going out can be a game changer. Just a simple income – expense = ? could really be a help, but for a little more click here to my full blog post on starting a budget.
Pay on Direct Debit – Make sure you have as much as possible on direct debit, this can be hard at first, especially if you are unsure on what you are spending or your income is uncertain. However direct debits can give you a discount with some companies so it is worth checking.
Know your spending habits – Regularly check your bank to get to know your spending habits, you will start to see areas you are over spending in or areas you didn’t even realise you were spending in.
Know your renewal dates – Start looking a few weeks before your insurance is due to end. This not only lets you know who you maybe moving to (cheapest and the best fit for your need) but it allows you to have a conversation with your current supplier about what you have found and see if they can match or better the prices you have found.
Buy in bulk – This does not been go crazy and buy a hundreds of cans of beans, this just means when you see a great deal on an item buy a couple more. You will soon be only buying your regular items when they are at the cheapest price.
Meal plan – You may have heard of this before but it can really help. It will allow you to walk in to the supermarket knowing exactly what you need. It will help you buy pass the ‘offers’ that are sitting down the centre of the shop.
Do you need to buy branded food? – Supermarkets do not generally own their own food factories so the chances that their own branded biscuits are made in the same factory as the named brands is likely. They may say ingredients are different and they may well be (slightly) however how many good recipes for a chocolate digestive are there? So if you have some food that you buy branded try a supermarkets own brand. Also grocery basics flour, pasta, rice etc try the supermarkets basic brand you may be surprised.
Yellow stickers – Always check out the reduced food section when in the supermarket. Depending on the time of day you shop will depend on how reduced something is however if it is either an item already on your list or something you know you will use either with in the day or able to freeze then yellow stickers are a great way to save a little.
Use coupons – Everybody loves a coupon we all know it will help us save, I don’t need to tell you that. However they could actually be costing you more, if you are only buying the item because you have the coupon. Only use coupons for items that you truly will and do use.
Don’t leave it on stand by – It’s easy to do and in a fast pace world it is usually the most convenient way to have most of our electronics. Just taking the few extra seconds to turn the item off fully, will add up to a nice saving when your bill comes in.
Turn the lights off as you leave a room – To run a light bulb does not cost a lot, but to run a few in your house over 365 days is still a bill that I would rather make smaller.
Turn the house down a degree – The chances are you will not even notice but if you do before you put it back up go and put on a jumper.
Don’t leave the water running – If you have a water meter – Children washing hands (playing in the water), keeping the water running when brushing your teeth or filling the sink just that little bit too much for the washing up. It all adds up. Make a habit to turn off the water.
Don’t fill a kettle – Filling the kettle to the top every time you have a hot drink when you are only making it for yourself can be costing you more than you think. Only fill it with as much as you need.
Switch suppliers – Always be looking for a better deal. If you fix in for the year as it is coming to an end starting looking around for other options as new customer deals can work in your favour.
Wash your clothes through the night – If your washing machine allows set a timer for your washing machine to come on at about 4am this means that your clothes are being washed during your night time electricity rate (usually cheaper). An added bonus you have a clean load of washing before you even wake up.
Stop using a tumble dryer – Using your tumble dryer every day can soon add up, try only using it when you need clothes dry in a hurry. If it is an average load then hang your washing up whether outside or in it will save you money.
If keeping up with fashion – Use cheaper shops, that doesn’t mean look for cheap quality but look in cheaper shops. Fashion items generally last one or two seasons and when trying to save money they can start getting costly. So if fashion is your thing then this is a good compromise on your budget.
Staple pieces – The items that no matter what the latest trend is you will need. For me my main staple item is jeans. Spend a little extra money on quality it will save in the long run, when you are not having to replace them every six months. Remember through I did say quality so cheap does not always mean poor quality and expensive/named does not always mean good quality. For these key pieces you want to do your homework.
Have a list – What are you looking for, lets say for the children? They grow so fast that you do not want to be spending a lot on children’s clothes but you do want durability especially if you have more than one child as it is likely you will want to pass the item on. By having a list of items you know they will need in the next size you are likely to find them in the sales.
Memberships – Do you visit places regularly? If so a membership, if sold could be for you. The ones I have seen need you to visit 4 times a year for you to be saving money but you may have a place you visit 4, 5 or even 6 times in which case this is really worth looking at.
Picnics – A family buying lunch when on a day out is the same if not more than the entrance fee. I am not saying don’t support a local business however your reading this to save money and packing your lunch is how to do that.
Bucket list – Sit down with your family and write down where people want to go. You will be surprised that some of the children’s suggestions are usually the cheaper/most cost-effective. They don’t always want the big extravagant days out you have been going to or planning for.
Loyalty cards – Some restaurants now use loyalty systems. Must common is 3 visits equals a free drink, 6 visits equals a free side and 9 visits equals a free meal (this is an example). Its worth picking up a card when you next see one as even if your biggest freebie is a drink it is still a free drink.
Reward point vouchers – There are a couple of supermarkets where you can earn points for shopping there. Use these vouchers to eat out, Tesco currently multiply you vouchers by 4 when eating out £10 equals £40 and Sainsbury’s on occasions through the year give you the opportunity to change your points to a restaurant voucher.
Fixed Menu – Check out the fixed menu before looking at the main. 2 courses or 3 courses usually means you will save a few pounds per person and that soon all adds up.
Let the children pick the restaurant – They are not going to pick a restaurant you are hoping for but the chances are when you do this it is because you just don’t fancy cooking. The fast food place they pick will be cheaper than your choice and you don’t have to cook so winning all round.
Stop buying so much – Children really won’t remember them all. We aim for 4 presents but it really does depend on what they are asking for as I would be happy with just giving one present if it was a large/costly present. As I said they really won’t remember every present.
Homemade cake – Birthday cakes can be stunning and they have become a work of art. But if they are not in your budget then they are just not in the budget. Make a cake, ask your child what type of cake they want and give it a go they will be so proud mum or dad made it.
Children’s school birthday parties – I wrote a whole blog post on my tips and tricks to saving money on school birthday parties presents click here to view.
Look around for fuel – If you have a few petrol stations near you or on your way to work keep an eye on prices. There can be a pence or two difference between stations so it is worth a look.
Repair what you can – change a light bulb, a window wiper and even the oil. We all have different abilities with what we could do on a car but anything is something.
Save money quickly
Sell items you no longer use – Everyone has items they have brought or received that are not used, try selling them.
No spend days/months – This means cutting out none essentials. Pay your bills and ensure you have food, petrol etc but nothing else you will be surprised what you really don’t need when you want to save quickly.