Was saving more money this year one of your New Year resolutions? Want to make sure this is a resolution that you keep and need some pointers on the best way to get started? Then read on!
So let’s first look at some of the best ways you may not have thought of yet:
Why not see if you can make any saving by switching your gas and electricity supplier. This is especially relevant if you have never switched before. There are several simple to use comparison websites like uSwitch, CompareTheMarket or MoneySuperMarket to help you decide.
At this time of year the temptation is to turn up the heating but, although this is sometimes essential, there are some simple alternative methods to consider before you reach for the thermostat for keeping the cold out and the heat in.
Plug up any draughty gaps you may have around the house; close the curtains to add an extra layer to hold warmth in; if there is furniture blocking radiator effectiveness then move it; wear an extra layer of clothing around the house or even buy a rug or hot water bottle.
With electricity prices on the rise it’s a god idea to turn electrical items off when they’re not in use, don’t just leave them on standby and always remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
You can also reduce water usage and costs by taking a quick shower instead of a bath and use washing up or cooking water for any plants.
Okay so I’ve recently become a weekday vegetarian, and as well as having more energy and feeling better about myself, our family food bill has dramatically been reduced. So, it’s not only good for the environment and your waistline, but it will save you hundreds over the course of the year.
If cutting out meat is one step too far, another way to reduce costs here would be to start planning your meals and other needs for the week ahead, write a list and stick to it. Take your own reusable bags with you to avoid paying for unnecessary plastic bags.
When you are in the supermarket look out for their yellow sticker items which indicate that items are near their use by/best before date or have slightly damaged packaging - these always offer a saving and keep your costs down.
Be even better prepared before you go by checking out prices on line over 14 different supermarkets with this app.
Wherever possible if it’s within a mile or two, for that short trip to the local shops, work, to friends or family and any other activities, try walking instead. The exercise will do you the world of good and very soon going for a leisurely stroll could become a cheap alternative hobby in itself – and all the while you will be saving on your expensive vehicle fuel.
This is probably one of the best times of the year, just after Christmas, to consider having a mini clear out of items or gifts that you don’t really want - even better if they haven’t been opened or used regularly.
If you have any good quality clothing, collectibles, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records, books, technology items or other gadgets lying around then there’s absolutely no point in them gathering dust around the house when they could be adding pounds to your pocket.
One of the best international parcel shipping rates places to sell locally, and with relatively little hassle, is the website Gumtree. Ebay is another website that springs to mind where pretty much anything goes and there are always plenty of buyers. Etsy is mainly for the arts and crafts market, but the platform fees can be a little off-putting to some.
Don’t forget that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, so you could be sitting on a small fortune.
Netflix and other streaming sites are so much cheaper than Sky and Virgin. And do you really need or regularly view those multiple sports and entertainment channels. Many of your favourite programmes can be found on Freeview so it could be time you considered cutting out the costs of these expensive TV packages.
An alternative monthly movie night in with Netflix could become a great family activity that will save significant cash over a trip to the cinema. You could even arrange alternative venues with friends coming around for snacks and drinks to join in the fun.
It’s best to set achievable goals for yourself. Briefly decide on what is your prime reason, or reasons, for wanting to save and then based on the cost of that goal consider how much you can realistically save each week or month without any real hardship.
There are quite a few apps around these days that can monitor your bank account and over time ‘advise’ how much you can afford to save on a regular basis - Plum and Chip are just two you might like to take advantage of.
Last but not least there is the good old fashioned piggy bank, or jam jar, to which you start adding the coins that you never seem to be able to get rid of. Get all the family to throw in their loose change, not forgetting to check down the back of the sofa, and soon the pennies will turn it to pounds to fund some spending that won’t come out of your monthly income
We are living in uncertain times. However, if we all stay positive we can work through this together and come out stronger.
All, or any, of the above is sure to help you save on your spending for 2020 - so good luck!