At the beginning of each year, many of us will make good intentions to be more frugal when it comes to our spending habits. But, as hard as we try, this isn’t always easy.
Whether you’re saving for a house deposit, wedding, holiday, or a new piece of furniture, small changes to your lifestyle can help in making the pennies add up.
‘When you’re starting from scratch, saving money can seem like a long, arduous and near impossible task – but all it really takes is making a series of small changes, and sticking to them,’ a spokesperson from NetVoucherCodes explains.
‘From starting a loose change jar and keeping an eye out for yellow stickers to entertaining at home and staying warm smartly, these tips and tricks will help Brits’ money go further.’
Take a look at some easy money-saving ideas to help you cut your outgoings and reach that goal…
1. Create a budget
It seems simple, but creating a spending budget for the year ahead will help you to visualise how much you can spend — and how much you can save.
It’s important to first calculate your expenses, looking at your monthly outgoings. Next, determine your income, taking into account whether you may receive any salary increases. Once you have done this, make yourself a realistic savings and spending goal for the upcoming year.
2. Cut any memberships you don’t use
Whether it’s your local gym, the cinema or even museums, if there are any memberships you aren’t regularly using then it might be worth cancelling them altogether. It’s a great way to save yourself some extra money.
3. Save money on your heating
Closing your curtains to lock in the warmth, moving furniture to unblock radiators and covering any gaps in walls to get rid of drafts will easily save you some extra pennies. It could even be worth grabbing a jumper before turning up the heating an extra dial.
4. Start a loose change jar
Popping any loose change into a jar throughout the year is also a brilliant way to save some extra cash. The next time you pay with coins, put any leftover into a jar and you’ll be surprised with what you have inside 12 months later. If you’re looking for a money-saving challenge, why not have a go at the clever 1p saving trick which can save you over £650 in one year.
5. Cut your electrical and water bills
To fight rising utility prices, turn off any electrical gadgets when you’re not in the room, switch off lights if you don’t need them and swap long baths for shorter showers.
6. Avoid buying takeaway coffees
Grabbing a morning coffee might be a nice caffeine boost, but it can be an incredibly expensive habit. If you spend £3 on a coffee each day, by the end of the year you would have spent over £1,000 a year on the hot drink — even more if you purchase more than one a day. The simple way to save is to bring your own: invest in a lovely reusable cup and make your own delicious coffee at home instead.
7. Meal prep for the week ahead
As well as saving you money, prepping your meals for the week ahead will also save you time, help you to learn new cooking skills and manage your portions well. Why not make a big batch of your favourite meals to last both lunch and dinner?
8. Choose to walk where you can
Vehicles are expensive to run and maintain, so if you really want to save well this year, switch to walking where applicable. According to research conducted by Liftshare, joining a car-sharing scheme can also help you save around £1,000 a year.
9. Plan ahead when going out
From meals to over-priced drinks, going out with friends can also result in hefty bills. One of the ways you can save some extra cash is by printing vouchers, looking for discount deals and dining during the week (Friday and Saturday evenings are the most expensive evenings to eat out).
10. Sell any unused items
Having regular clear-outs in your home will help you discover whether there are any items you no longer need. Whether it’s books, DVDs, CDs, vintage posters or magazines, you never know who would be willing to pay good money for your items.
11. Choose a staycation
Long-haul flights don’t come cheap, so why not opt for a closer-to-home staycation this year? For inspiration, take a read through our 7 must-visit spots in the Lake District. If you can, choose to travel by train: it’s not only more affordable, but better for the environment, too.
12. Keeping track of what you spend — and hang onto receipts
Writing down what you spend in a spreadsheet — or an old-fashioned bank book — will help you to look back on what you really splash your cash on. From every contactless tap, to your online orders, note down what it is you’re spending money on. This will help you realise where your money is going, as well as opening your eyes to the key areas where you can cut back.
13. Cleverly make some extra cash
You don’t have to have a clever side-hustle plan to make some extra money. If you have enough driveway space, sites such as rentyourspace can help you to earn thousands a year by renting your empty parking space to commuters or holidaymakers.
14. Review your phone contract
Shopping around for various deals can help you to save money each month. Head to sites, such as comparethemarket, to find out how you can lower the cost of your phone bill. If you aren’t using much data or calls, it’s also worth switching to a simpler deal to avoid wasting money.
15. Be careful when it comes to discounts
We can be easily swayed when it comes to buy-one-get-one-free deals, but they often make us purchase things we don’t actually need. Only buy items at reduced rates if they are things you use regularly, such as toothpaste, soap or household cleaning essentials.
16. Bring your own food
Craving something sweet at 3pm in the office? Buying a packet of supermarket biscuits or cereal bars in advance is much cheaper than heading to your nearest Pret for an afternoon sugar boost.
17. Cut out meat
Slowly eliminating meat from your diet can also help you to save money. Adopting part-time veganism or vegetarianism is a great way to improve your health while also being kind to your bank balance.
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