Money saving and helpful tips
In these recession-hit times you may find it difficult to get a pay rise or a higher paid job. Therefore, it pays to make your existing income stretch further. By following some of our handy tips you’ll be surprised at how much you can save.
Many of our tips are quick and easy to follow although some may take a bit more time and effort. Not all of our tips will necessarily suit your circumstances, but you should find at least a few cash savvy ideas to help you spend considerably less.
Use your mobile to save cash!
If you’ve got a smartphone – you could use it to help you save money on your supermarket shopping.
TopCashBack has launched Snap and Save – a scheme that gives you the chance to earn rewards and cash back on offers from supermarkets including Sainsburys, Tesco, The Co-op, Iceland, Morrison’s, Asda, M&S and Waitrose.
Check the site to see which items you can claim cash back for, then take a picture of your receipt using your smartphone and submit it to the site.
Could you save money by installing a water meter?
Depending on where you live, the average consumption for two people per year in a property is about 110 cubic metres (110,000 litres) of water – which costs around 1p for 10 litres. The daily cost comes to around 94p with 0.23p allocated towards sewage removal, taking a shower costs about 9p and flushing the toilet costs about 2p. If you live in a smaller property, live alone or do not think your property uses that much water, you could reduce your water bills by installing a water meter. More details can be found on the Consumer Council for Water website where you can use their water consumption calculator and find out if you could save money on water usage.
Forward planning for the little things can really help
You know what comes out of your bank account every month and how much you have left after you’ve paid all your bills, but are you still stung by additional spending you didn’t budget for?
Whether it’s a school trip, a relative’s birthday or an unexpected celebration, it’s easy to oversee these events when budgeting. Keeping a diary could help you remember when you need to factor in these additional costs, or you could keep a contingency fund. By putting aside a few pounds a month you could ease the strain on the purse strings.
You could even apply this to preparing for Christmas. For example, if you save a pound a day from June to December 20th, you could have up to £193 in your pocket. This could go towards Christmas shopping or even towards your electricity or gas bill in January.
Family fun for less
If you have small children, finding fun activities to do that don’t cost a fortune can be difficult, but have you thought about starting your family fun day early? Some selected big-named cinemas offer special film screenings for kids early on a Saturday and Sunday morning with tickets starting from just £1.
Many also offer great discounts on family tickets if you want to go later in the day. Get online and see what’s available at your local film complex.
The new way to bag yourself a bargain
If you’ve got something to sell or are looking for a bargain, get online and login to Facebook. Right now there are lots of ‘Sale or Swap’ pages popping up so that people can show others in their local area what items they have for sale or to swap, and advertising is free too!
You can even write a message if you’re looking for something particular. Whether you want to make money or save money, this is a great new way to sell and swap items. Like our Facebook page and get more money saving tips.
Leave the credit card at home
If you want to avoid making impulse purchases, try leaving your credit card at home. It can be all too easy to ‘stick it on the credit card and pay for it later’, but if you don’t repay your credit card bill straight away, your purchase will end up costing you much more than the original price tag.
Drive more economically
If you’re carrying around unnecessary weight in your vehicle you could be using more fuel by lugging it around. So take a look inside your boot and rid your car of any junk. Checking air pressure and keeping your tyres pumped up will also help your car run more economically. Regular servicing will also help you keep on top of car maintenance and could help you avoid expensive repairs in the future.
Make your own lunch
Do you know how much money you’re spending on lunch while you’re at work? Grabbing a quick lunch could be biting chunks out of your budget. If you spend up to £5 a day on sandwiches, snacks and drinks, you could be spending up to £100 a month. Try making your own lunches and buying multipacks of snacks and drinks and you’ll find that your spending has been reduced – leaving you with more cash in your pocket.
Find cheaper ways to stay fit
Say goodbye to costly gym memberships and make the most of Mother Nature. As well as running, walking and cycling you could take the kids to the park to play football, cricket or rounders. For only the cost of a cheap bat and ball you could save hundreds of pounds a year in gym fees.
Cut down on the cost of Kids’ Clubs
Fees for extra curricula activities can really add up and there is often a cheaper option. Could you stand the strain of teaching the children to swim or paint pictures, yourself, for example? It’s worth noting that, generally, kids’ clubs run by local authorities or charities cost less than private ones.
Trade services and goods with friends and family
If you need jobs doing but can’t afford a professional, offer your own services or goods in payment, provided you have something worth trading – not easy if you’re an undertaker! Websites such as www.u-exchange.com allow you to trade almost anything, including your home.
Switch to a cheaper phone tariff
You can get many excellent phone and broadband deals at the moment with some monthly packages costing as little as £2.50 dependant on location. Of course, line rental and call charges have to be factored in as well. Some deals also enable you to include digital television.
Socialise on the cheap
Entertain friends with a few inexpensive bottles of plonk and limited snacks. Hopefully, they’ll be too busy enjoying themselves to weigh up the cost and you may even get a return invite. Alternatively, socialise by day while the buses are running so you don’t get stung by taxi fares in the hazy, early hours.
Difficulty prising your teenagers away from their mobiles?
Then it’s probably not a good time to surgically remove them from their lifeline. But did you know that if your family has several mobile phones you can often get a better deal on contracts? Try negotiating with different mobile phone companies – they love teenagers!
Go back to bartering
OK, so we’re not suggesting that you return to the dark ages but a recession is a good time to get goods cheaper, especially larger items. While a shopkeeper might outwardly cringe at the words, ‘Is that your best price?’ he’ll have an inner glow if he manages to sell some old stock that’s been lying around for ages.
Have a good look at your credit card bill
Go on, be bold! As scary as it may seem, you might find some surprises that you didn’t expect. Then, next time you’re tempted by an irresistible bargain, you may recall that sinking feeling when you were confronted with the evidence in the form of one large, red, angry credit card bill.
Reduce the costs of your daily commute
Look for cheaper alternatives; instead of driving try walking, cycling or public transport. It may be worth arriving to work hot and flustered when you consider that average commute costs for petrol alone were £461 a year in June 2011 and fuel prices have risen sharply since then.
Find the best supermarket deals
Ever heard of lost leaders? Their loss, your gain! If you’re fortunate enough to have two supermarkets nearby, shop at each, grabbing the best of the bargains at each one. Three for two offers aren’t necessarily a good idea though if you only wanted ONE in the first place.
Check up on those free subscriptions
They might have been free for a month when you first signed up on what seems like only yesterday, but you might be dazed to find you have been paying £20 a month for the last three years (quick calculation needed) – yes, that’s a grand total of SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY POUNDS!!!
Train the kids in the art of frugality
It’s not easy these days, I know, but by reducing their expectations you’ll also reduce your outgoings. Despite children’s claims to the contrary, refusing to pay £80 for a pair of trainers is not a punishable offence and they cannot report you to ChildLine for settling on a cheaper pair!
Cash in on online vouchers and discount sites
Become the ultimate skinflint by scouring the Internet for special offers and discounts. Two good websites to try are: www.groupon.co.uk and www.discountvouchers.co.uk. These are continually updated with the latest deals and allow you to subscribe to daily email digests.
Cut holiday costs
Now we’re not advocating that a family of four should squeeze into a one man tent in the back garden; there are better ways. For example, shop around using the Internet and Teletext, look for cheaper transport options, book hotel and flights separately, or go to a resort that is served by lots of budget airlines.
Try to spend less on luxuries
So that’s the lavish yacht, private jet and Rolls Royce on hold for another year then? Seriously, though, before buying luxury items, consider what you could save if you manage to resist the temptation. Also, the latest technological model is often considerably cheaper a few months after release.
Become a comper
That’s someone who enters competitions. You never know; that luxury item may still be within your grasp. Habitual compers can win thousands of pounds worth of prizes every year. Don’t forget to weigh up entry and postage costs against any potential gains though, as these might prove expensive.
Reduce the costs of car fuel
You might think that’s like asking you to blow a feather up a hill on a windy day, but it can be done. Check out www.petrolprices.com to find the cheapest petrol in your area. This website compares the prices of almost 11,000 petrol stations in the UK and gives 8,000 updates a day.
No, put that paint tin away; we’re talking about the Environment! There are various initiatives for being environmentally friendly including the feed-in tariff, which is currently available. Through this tariff an average three to four bedroom house fitted with solar panels can earn you a tax free sum of more than £850 a year.
Check out free and low cost activities
That needn’t entail dragging the kids around on a weekend tour of museums and art galleries. Local authorities regularly host free events, which they publish in the local press and through leaflets that they distribute in public buildings such as libraries and (dare I say it?) museums.
Use online auction sites
You can find a wealth of bargains at online auction sites such as eBay. Some goods are offered at a set price whereas you have to bid for others so you can set your own budget. Don’t forget to take account of delivery costs as these vary greatly depending on the supplier, and can really add to the total cost.
We hope that you found our tips useful. Hopefully they’ve inspired you to think of many ways that you can cut back and make your money go further. This list is by no means exhaustive, however, so if you have any money saving ideas, please feel free to share them with us by posting a comment on our Facebook page.