12 best ways to save money
With food and utility bills going up, we thought it would be a good idea to share some money-saving ideas. From cancelling unused subscriptions to buying brand own products. There are a few ways to help you stay within your budget (and hopefully help you save!)
Understand your finances
Learning to budget is the first step to help you stay in control. You need to understand all of your incoming and outgoing revenue streams, and that includes everything from your monthly bills, any debts and salary.
The best way to start is to go through your bank statements and any receipts you have over 30 days. You can then compare your incoming revenue with your monthly expenditures. It’s easy to forget a subscription you have, but don’t use, only because it costs £5. But, removing something like this can save you £60 in a year!
You can use an app like Emma
(there’s a free version) to help you keep track of your spending.
Cancel subscriptions you don’t use
Subscriptions are a money-making dream for a lot of companies. Have you ever signed up for a free trial and then forgotten about it? Yes, we have all done that. This is the time to have a look at the services you’ve subscribed to. Are you using your Amazon or gym subscription as much as you thought you would? If not, it’s time to cancel it.
Cancelling your Amazon can help you save a lot of money – if you know that if you order something, you will most probably have to pay for a delivery, you might think twice before getting it!
Prepare for your grocery shopping
Most of us have heard of Jack Monroe, who as a single parent with a young child, started a blog A Girl Called Jack
making delicious meals on a budget. No matter what your budget is, there are always ways to save on your grocery shop without losing the quality:
- Swap your shop for a budget supermarket like Aldi and Lidl
- Make a weekly meal plan and only get what’s on the list
- Swap branded produce for supermarket own
- Check your food cupboards and use what you have first
- Try going meat-free at least once a week
- Shop in the evening to check out available discounts
- Use store loyalty cards whenever you shop
- Check the world food aisle in your shop for bigger bags of rice or lentils at cheaper prices
Pay off your debt first
Before you start saving, pay off your credit cards or loans. We understand it’s easier said than done, but you can start by working out how much you owe, then prioritise which debt needs clearing first, ideally the one with the highest interest or urgent debt. That’s because of the interest rates, which are usually quite high. And once you finish paying off a loan, keep pretending you still have the loan to pay off - but this time paying into your savings account!
If you are struggling to pay off your debt, there are services that can help you. Find out more here
Pay less for utility bills
Changing your gas and electricity suppliers can save you a lot of money, especially if you haven’t switched before. There are many comparison websites you can use to find out the best deals, like MoneySuperMarket
. If you don’t want to switch, give your supplier a call and tell them you want to leave because of the cost – they might offer you a better deal!
There are ways to help you save money on your energy bills too. You can find out more here
Get paid to spend
Download cashback apps like TopCashback
for cashback offers and freebies. They are apps that give you a percentage of cashback when you buy specific products. They are free and simple to use, and you could earn hundreds of pounds over the year.
Rethink online shopping
We are all guilty of ordering items online, mostly because it’s easier and we don’t even have to leave our living rooms.
When shopping online, always search for discounts. Don’t go for the first item you find, spend some time searching different websites to find the best deal. That might also give you time to think if you really need it. If you frequently buy from the same retailers, it’s good to sign up for their newsletters as they always come up with discounts and promotions. You should check out websites like Wowcher
if you are thinking of travelling or a gift experience.
Book tickets early and in advance
Anything from activities to train tickets. If you book your tickets early, you can be sure to get a better deal!
A lot of places like zoos or entertainment parks give you a discount if you book in advance. It’s always good to check their websites for good deals, as well as see if their prices are cheaper in the off-peak times. And don’t forget to check if they have any offers on websites like vouchercodes
Sell unwanted items on sale sites
Sell any unwanted stuff online through Facebook Marketplace
or similar. You can see anything from toys the children no longer play with to gifts no one wanted. Not only does this help declutter your home, but it can also mean earning quite a good amount of extra money.
Using sites like that is always a great way to find fantastic gifts. Pre-owned doesn’t have to mean lower-quality – many items sold on these sites are very good quality and at times you can get a one-off item too.
Check out the charity shops
Shopping for second-hand items has never been more popular! With finds from charity shops to bootfairs, you could probably get a full new wardrobe and decorate your whole house.
And as we have mentioned already, you can find some amazing vintage gifts for your loved ones too.
Check your workplace benefits
Have a look if your workplace provides any employee benefits. A lot of companies are starting to provide their employees with little perks as well as healthcare plans, childcare support and local discounts. Websites like Perkbox gives money off certain products or let you buy gift cards for less money.
Have a no-spend day
Set a no-spend day or a weekend at least once a month. It’ll help you with self-discipline in a long run. There a plenty of free things to do (if you live in London, have a look at 200 free things to do here
) like going for a walk, visiting a local museum or just staying in and watching a film. And if you plan your meals properly, you should be able to have some leftovers for a couple of snacks to go with a board game night