It’s certainly a lot easier spending money than it is making it or saving it. Having a family complicates matters further, as costs just seem to spiral! There always seems to be a never-ending need to spend money. It’s never easy when there are things to be paid and funds are low. I’m always on the look out for money saving tips which can help in such circumstances. I have written some tips before about Amazon savings and some tips for eating healthy on a budget. This time, I’ve compiled a list of general money saving suggestions which I think are pretty useful. Have a look to see if you think they can be helpful for you too.
1. Shop Smarter to Save on Grocery Shopping and Food
Try buying the supermarkets own ‘generic’ brand for certain products. The power of advertising often leads us to assume the leading brand is far superior to anything else, but if you actually try some of the alternatives you might be surprised. Spread out your shopping by visiting budget supermarkets, like Lidl or Aldi. If you’ve never tried that shopping there before, you might be surprised about the quality. Consider doing your food shopping online too, its much easier to control how much you are spending and you can still save if you just buy certain staple items too.
If you buy lunch at work, consider preparing your lunch and taking it with you. This can feel like a hassle but if you prepare lunch for your children, its not much more effort to also make sandwiches for yourself. Another idea, if there is a microwave at your workplace, is to use leftovers from your evening meal. Also try to avoid those expense high street coffees. Buy one of those travel mugs and fill it when you’re preparing your morning coffee at breakfast.
2. Shop Online
The good thing about buying online is that its much easier to see how much your spending before you’ve actually spent it so you can avoid overspending. Shopping online also saves you the cost of transport getting to and from the store. It’s always better to shop around at different websites for bargains, but if you do find yourself shopping at the same site regularly, look out for deals like Amazon Prime which can save you money over time and offer additional benefits, such as access to Amazon Prime Video. Bear in mind that these services may not be worth it if you are not using them enough, so in this example removing Prime Membership will save you money.
3. Avoid Impulsive Purchases
To avoid those impulsive purchases is to try and force yourself to wait. A technique you can use is when a particular item you suddenly decide you want is over a certain amount, lets say £100 (but you can set this at whatever you feel is appropriate), then force yourself to wait for a week (again you can adjust this, the longer the better). This then gives you time to think about whether the thing you are thinking of buying is something you actually want or if its just an impulsive buy.
I’ve mentioned already that you can adjust the amount to what is appropriate for you. However, impulse buying isn’t just limited to more expensive items. It can often be small purchases which when combined add up to a lot. For these kinds of purchases, one method is to follow the 10/10 Rule. If I’m thinking about buying something that’s less than £10 then I won’t spend more than 10 minutes thinking about it. If the item costs more than £10 and I’m not sure about it, it goes back on the shelf, no matter what. It’s simple but for some people this can really help. t’s basic, I know, but for those impulse items, it works fairly well. Again, you can adjust the numbers to suit your own situation.
4. Lower Your Transport Costs
Try to use supermarket filling stations when refuelling your car. The price per litre is often cheaper than at regular petrol stations. If you drive to work, consider car pooling with any nearby colleagues/friends or taking public transport (if its an option), or get fit at the same time by riding a bike to work. If you need a bike and your employer is part of the cycle to work scheme, you can save money buying a new bike. If you need to drive a car, it’s worth considering whether the type of car you have suits your needs. You don’t need to drive a gas guzzling 4×4 if you only use the car for the school run. In that case, downsize and drive something more efficient to save money.
5. Bills & Utilities
It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your energy bills and utilities. Here are a few tips:
- The Energy Saving Trust has a free home energy check tool on its website that can save some households up to £250 with its personalised advice.
- Consider using energy-saving light bulbs, which although more expensive than traditional bulbs, they will help you save in the long-term.
- A water meter might not always be beneficial for you, as it calculates the sewerage pumping costs as well. The Consumer Council for Water has a calculator that can tell you if a meter is really worth it.
- When buying an appliance, always consider energy efficiency as well as cost, features and space. An energy efficient appliance could save you a lot in the long-term.
- If you can, pay your bills by Direct Debit as it takes out the issue of remembering to pay and spreads the cost. Also, you can time your Direct Debit dates around when your regular income comes into your account so you can ensure they’re always covered.
- Always check price comparison websites when looking for or renewing insurance, but always remember that not all companies are listed, including three of the largest: Direct Line, Zurich and Aviva.
These are just a few of the tips out there which can save you money. Finding yourself short before payday can be difficult and there are always different options to consider. As a one off, and used sensibly, things like payday loans can be an option. You should never depend on them, but they can be helpful on occasion. In the long term, other financial choices are available.
Do you have any more tips to add? What do you think about my tips?
*Disclosure: Collaborative Post
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