With living costs on the rise, more and more of us are struggling with debt and often leading to a trust deed . Fortunately, with a little effort, there is plenty you can do to stretch your income further. Below are our top ten ways to reduce you outgoings and save for the things you really care about.
- Quit a Habit
Whether it’s smoking, takeaways, or playing the lottery, quitting or cutting back on a personal vice can be a quick way to save money, as well as improving your health. Being able to see the money you saved can really help keep you motivated, so it is a good idea to put at least part of the money you would have otherwise spent on your habit into a separate bank account.
- Get the best Deal
If you have never switched your energy supplier before, chances are you’re not getting the best deal you could. Luckily, switching suppliers is now fairly straight-forward, thanks to the internet. Sites such as uSwitch compare available suppliers and suggest the most cost-effective option for you. You can also use comparison sites to get the best deal on WiFi, phone contracts, and insurance – potentially saving hundreds of pounds a year.
The single best way to reduce your spending is to create a budget. Without keeping track, it can be difficult to know exactly how much you have spent, and overspending becomes easy. The Money Advice Service has a helpful Budget Planner tool which can be a great starting point. Taking the time to work out your spending patterns highlights areas where you could be saving.
- Use Own Brands
In most cases, supermarket imitations are virtually indistinguishable from their brand name equivalents – apart from the price! The small savings you can make by switching to own brand products can quickly add up, saving you tens of pounds each month.
- Save on Transport
Public transport is far cheaper than driving by the time you factor in the costs of fuel, road tax, car maintenance, and insurance. If it’s feasible for your lifestyle, ditching the car can instantly save you hundreds of pounds a year. If forsaking your car altogether seems unmanageable, you could still walk to destinations where possible, try lift-sharing, or even downsize to a more fuel-efficient car which is cheaper to tax and insure.
- Save on Utilities
Once you’re with the cheapest supplier for your property, you can make further savings by being careful with your usage. Small changes like not leaving devices on standby, turning the heating down by a couple of degrees, and avoiding using the tumble drier can quickly trim down your monthly bill. You could also avoid turning on lights when possible, and cook efficiently. Cooking in batches is the most effective method, and you can even open the oven once you’ve finished cooking to give your home an extra boost of heat. For more tips, try the BBC’s or Guardian’s guides.
- Cook More
Despite the gas or electricity you’ll use, preparing food at home rather than buying it already prepared is a big money saver. Bringing lunch to the office works out far cheaper than the infamous ‘meal deal’, and preparing dinner from scratch costs far less per dish than ready-prepared counterparts. Planning your meals in advance also ensures that you don’t buy more than you need, reducing costs and waste. If some of your fresh ingredients are due to expire soon, though, you could throw them into a soup, chilli or stew, and store in the freezer for another time.
- Buy with Vouchers
Whenever you make a purchase outside your ordinary spending, taking the time to look for vouchers can really cut the cost. A number of websites can put you in the way of vouchers – most famously, Groupon. It’s easy to search for what you need, and see deals in your area. This is Money, a really useful money saving blog, has compiled a list of the best websites for finding vouchers.
- Book in Advance
When you’re travelling, booking well in advance is the single best thing you can do to save money on your trip. The prices of train tickets, flights, and accommodation rise more and more the closer you book to the day you plan to travel, so if you know you have a trip coming up, book now! Sites such as Trainline and Skyscanner can help you find the cheapest time to travel. If you’re flexible about your departure and arrival times, and willing to break your journey into separate legs, you can also make significant savings.
- Shop around
Finally, whilst it can be time-consuming, shopping around is a great way to reduce the money you spend on day-to-day purchases. If you have a local market, you can save a surprising amount of money buying your fruit and vegetables there instead of from a supermarket, and support local business in the process. You can also save by switching between supermarkets themselves – supermarkets rotate their deals, so moving with them can be worth the effort. Using mysupermarket.com can help you to easily compare deals, and users can save up to 30% per shop.