You might read a huge number of money saving tips on the internet only to end up asking yourself if people really do the things they claim! Some ideas look great on paper but aren’t practical to really apply to life.
To cut through the theory we’ve talked to hundreds of real people about the money saving tactics and strategies they use in their lives – and we’ve collected together what we think are the best 8.
See if any of the following advice would benefit your finances…
“Plan your meals”
Planning what you eat might sound boring – but what a week’s worth of meal planning might lack in spontaneity, it more than makes up for with savings.
Studies find that the average UK household wastes around £500 worth of food every year – either though poor planning that results in out-of-date items being thrown away, or serving large portions that aren’t eaten.
If you can sit down at the start of the week and plot at least 4-5 days worth of eating you’ll see a noticeable decrease in your shopping bills over the course of a month.
“Plan for unexpected big costs”
75% of people report having an unexpected large cost or bill to pay at some point each year. That might be a big fuel bill, a painful MOT or even something life changing like a funeral or divorce – and however it’s occurred, struggling with money around this time is likely to be a challenge.
They key here is to remove the impact of these unexpected instances as much as is possible – and the best way to do that is to save. Putting away just a small amount each month means you’re less likely to need to raid your savings frequently – meaning it’s there when the unexpected inevitably occurs.
“Don’t cut out things you love because of money”
Telling you to continue spending money on things you enjoy doing might sound like the opposite of a money saving tip – but this comes from an ‘all things in moderation’ point of view.
Life can be difficult if you have nothing at all that you enjoy doing – so if money’s tight, the key is understanding how much you need to pursue your hobby or interest then budgeting that.
When you remove the things you enjoy from life you’re likely to end up rebelling against your own rules and doing them anyway. It’s better to have a measured approach to the things you love – rather than getting frustrated, spending a fortune and feeling guilty about it thereafter.
“Use cash envelopes to manage your money”
Your money has to be allocated to different things through the month – yet it sits in your account as one large sum.
This can make it difficult to think ahead and anticipate all your spending – and for that reason, breaking your money down into different ‘pots’ or envelopes can be a really helpful way of keeping tabs on exactly what you’re spending.
For example, you might find that you would like a night out – but, after a couple of glasses of wine, find that it’s overly easy to just get your debit card out and have a couple more. If you’ve got a definite limit on what you can spend then you know as that runs out – safeguarding your earnings for other vital elements of life.
“Make saving an outgoing”
With saving money there’s a very definite right and wrong way to go about it! The wrong way is hoping that there’s some money left in your account at the end of the month – then considering that ‘savings’ – it’s actually not, it’s just money you haven’t spent yet.
On the other hand, setting up a savings account and then a further standing order that takes money out of your current account soon after you’ve been paid is likely to end up with you actually saving.
It doesn’t have to be much either – in fact, it’s proven that smaller amounts are likely to build up more steadily than larger amounts that you set aside, then find you need to ‘raid’ before the month is through.
“Remove your card details from websites you use a lot!”
Click, click, done. That’s how simple is can be to buy a product if a website has your card details saved.
While this is great for convenience, it’s also very very good for emptying your bank account quickly – and once an item is bought, you’re far less likely to change your mind and send it back, even if you do regret a quick decision.
Where possible, delete your card details from the sites that have them stored. The process of just entering your details each time you make a purchase is likely to slow you down and make you double check whether or not you need this quick purchase…
“Have a cupboard day”
It’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up food that gets overlooked each day and pushed to the back of the cupboard or freezer drawer.
If you commit to one meal a week being from otherwise overlooked cupboard supplies you do two things – reduce your shopping bill for the week – and prevent the waste that comes when you find an out of date can of soup that you forgot you had…
“Don’t pay for expensive phone insurance”
Paying for mobile phone insurance can add between £8-£20 pounds to your phone bill each month – an amount that really adds up over the year, especially if you’re a family of mobile users.
The same amount of ‘gadget cover’ added to your household insurance policy is likely to only cost a few pounds for all the household’s smart phones, so it can make a lot of sense to do this, rather than taking out expensive individual policies.
Of course, you should make sure that the cover is at least the same, paying attention to claim limits and excess payments – but most insurance companies will be willing to up your cover – still at a fraction of the price of dedicated insurance.