Saving money can be hard at the best of times. But when life throws a curveball or two at you (you know… like a crippling viral contagion and threat of recession), it can be even trickier. Plus, let’s be honest, a number of cost-cutting tips are simply too impractical and inflexible to become a regular part of our financial routines. So, here are 7 tips on how to save money that will help you boost your bank balance in the long run.
1. Create a budget
Budgets might not fill you with inspiration, but setting a realistic plan will genuinely help you save money. If you’ve never created a budget before, these easy budgeting tips are a good place to start.
Of course, if you’ve tried budgeting and failed more times than you’d like to admit, it’s easy to just give up. But before you pack it all in, identifying problems with your budget can help you get back on track.
2. Transfer outstanding credit card balances
If credit card interest is crippling your cashflow, consider moving the balance to a 0% card instead.
Bear in mind that many 0% cards only offer zero rates for a limited period of time. You can safeguard against interest rate hikes by setting a reminder and flipping to another provider when your existing offer comes to an end.
3. Use price comparison websites
Price comparison sites are a quick and easy way to scour the best deals on all sorts of essentials, from insurance to utilities. It’s a good idea to check out a few comparison sites, as not all of them will show the same deals.
When it comes to utilities, try using energy regulator Ofgem’s accredited comparison sites. These sites show what’s called the ‘whole-of-market’ view of gas and electricity tariffs – all available deals (not just ones from the providers the site works with).
Similarly, you can find accredited broadband, phone and TV comparison sites at communications regulator Ofcom.
4. Sign up for a loyalty card
Get rewarded for shopping at your favourite stores with a loyalty card. Most cards work on a points basis; you can redeem these points for products or experiences, saving you money later on.
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Some, like the Boots Advantage Card, for example, can also be loaded with personal offers online to be used in store. It’s quick, simple and hassle free – no need to rustle around in your purse for those coupons you think are still valid.
5. Cancel unnecessary payments
Subscriptions are the bane of many money savers, especially long-standing ones. For example: that monthly magazine you never read? The membership for the gym you never go to? And what about that Spotify/Netflix/Amazon Prime subscription both you and your partner hold?
Cancelling what you don’t need (or don’t use) will help you save money, and it doesn’t mean missing out. Most gyms and online subscriber platforms have a family payment option, which is a great way to compromise.
6. Discover hidden gems
Some of the best money-saving tips are open secrets – like council-run MOT test centres. Council centres typically don’t offer servicing, so they have no interest in spotting minor faults that some garages or dealers may insist need fixing there and then. You might find the MOT itself cheaper at other testing centres, but if your car’s in relatively good nick then you could save a fortune in ‘urgent repairs’.
Another top tip: buy stolen goods from the police. It’s not a typo; the police often auction off stolen or seized items that cannot be reunited with their owners. Some forces have their own eBay stores (like Leicestershire Police), or take a look at BumbleBee Auctions for bargains (warning – it’s not the prettiest or most intuitive site to use).
7. Save a little every day
Saving just £1 every day for a year will earn you, well… £365 (unless it’s a leap year). A single pound may well seem insignificant at the time, but the money literally does add up.
If you can’t trust yourself not to spend money in your current account, why not set up an easy access savings account instead.
Remember to treat yourself
Money-saving hacks don’t have to suck the enjoyment out of life; it’s about finding solutions that work for you. If you don’t fancy extreme couponing or giving up on your fancy barista-made coffee, that’s ok; sometimes you need to spend a little on luxuries to keep yourself motivated to save money overall.
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