There are two ways to be richer. You can make more money by badgering your boss for a promotion or selling your old DVDs on eBay. But if your finances are still stretched there’s no option but to face up to the dreaded alternative – save money by cutting back.
Before you recoil away in horror, you’ll be pleased to hear saving money isn’t all drudgery and misery. We have three simple saving methods that as an added bonus will benefit more than just your wallet.
1. Don’t Let Companies Outsmart You
We human beings are creatures of habit and lots of companies count on our habits to make their money. It’s been that way since forever; Mr Colman of Colman’s mustard famously proclaimed that he had made his fortune “from the mustard that people throw away on the sides of their plate”. Nowadays companies use tricks like auto-renewing subscriptions to part you with your hard earned brass. But you can beat companies at their own game to save money and get that smug superior feeling by changing some habits.
- Consider the benefits of pay as you go mobile tariffs vs. contracts depending on how much you use your phone and what you use it for.
- Do you pay for TV channels you never watch? Ring up to cancel your service and you may find the threat of cancellation alone prompts your company to offer you a much better deal. Same goes for your household bills, if you tell your company you’ve found a better deal elsewhere they may well match it.
- Consider installing a water meter if you’ve not already got one, especially if you’re living in a large home with few occupants. You might be paying for more than you should for your H2O.
- Don’t automatically renew insurance for travel or tech – if you know you’re not going abroad any time soon or you’re planning to upgrade your phone or laptop in the near future there’s no point forking out for insurance you won’t use.
- Turn off and unplug home appliances to avoid paying more than necessary for your electricity bills. See our top tips to stop your plugged in appliances wasting your money.
- If you know you’re shopping with a specific brand or for a specific item have a quick Google search for any money saving vouchers floating around the web before you buy. If you shop from the same stores often it’s worth signing up to their newsletters or getting a loyalty card to take advantage of deals and offers too.
2. Enjoy a Healthier Lifestyle
Healthy living doesn’t have to mean expensive wheatgrass juices and high end sports gear. Saving money goes hand in hand with living healthily and even better quite a lot of healthy lifestyle changes won’t cost you a penny!
- Cut down on drinking and smoking – this may not be a popular suggestion but it’s certain that your body and your bank balance will thank you!
- Cancel your gym membership, especially if you very rarely use it. Unless you’re a gym regular and really get your money’s worth, exercise for free in your local parks and outside spaces instead.
- Make a shopping list before hitting the supermarket and stick to it – that way you’ll only buy the items you need and avoid the temptation of pricey additions to your basket.
- Visit your local food and farmers markets. Markets don’t have too many overhead costs so you can bag yourself a bargain and fresh local produce is great for your diet too.
3. Learn Useful New Skills To Save Money
Nowadays it’s the norm to eat ready prepared meals, buy clothes not fabric, hire a tradesperson and get your veggies pre-wrapped in cellophane from the supermarket. Whilst it’s great to have such convenient options the unfortunate downside is that really useful skills are dying out. Building up your knowledge and talents in certain areas let you save money and possibly even discover a new hobby in the process!
Meals cooked from scratch are cheaper than buying ready meals or processed foods, not to mention they’re healthier too. If you think your culinary skills are lacking, you can start with some basic recipes and gradually build up your culinary repertoire; you’ll be hosting dinner parties in no time! Even small savings like making your own lunches rather buying ready packaged sandwiches will soon add up.
Learning how to thread a needle or getting to grips with a sewing machine will have no end of benefits from resizing old curtains when you move house to repairing split seams rather than having to buy new clothes. If you’re handy with a needle and thread you can keep your favourite clothes and furnishings looking good for longer which means less money spent on updating your wardrobe or your home.
If you’re feeling the strain on your finances the last thing you want to be faced with is having to replace a broken appliance. Rather than shelling our hundreds for a tradesperson or a brand new machine, you can buy a replacement part online to repair your appliance yourself for a fraction of the price. Our YouTube videos are a great starting point for novice DIYers as they’ll guide you through simple appliance repairs step-by-step.
Tomatoes, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables are really easy to grow yourself. Seed packets are cheaper to buy than supermarket vegetables and as an added bonus your home grown produce with be fresh delicious and (unless you choose to use pesticides) organic too.
Once you’ve discovered the methods to save money that suit you then comes the fun part – planning how to spend it! Will you treat yourself to an exotic holiday, the latest phone or a shopping spree? We’ll leave that up to you…