Do you find yourself haemorrhaging money each month, without even realising how, why or maybe even when? From spending cash on unnecessary items such as lunches out or that bar of chocolate on the way home from work, to making poor choices when it comes to clothing or transport; it all adds up. If you frequently face the end of the month low on funds and optimism, then now’s the time to reign in your spending habits and address the reasons why you might be in the red.
It’s easier than you might think to cut back on your monthly expenditure, all while continuing to have an active social life and a few home comforts along the way. So, if you are looking to cut back and start investing in your future, rather than living in your overdraft, then here are 6 IDEAL money saving tips.
Consider Your Lifestyle Habits
Did you know that your diet and lifestyle habits could be seriously affecting your overall monthly spend? Little things add up, and premium choices may not be any better than lesser well known, more keenly priced items.
If you’re a smoker for instance, and think spending on the best cigarettes is necessary, then you may want to check exactly how much money you spend each month. You don’t need to stop completely, but instead make sure that you include this expenditure in your monthly budget, and don’t exceed the spend you set aside.
The same applies for medicine. Branded paracetamol, for example, comes in at at 8 times more expensive than exactly the same item, minus the brand. Incredible! The list goes on, but be especially in tune with branded and unbranded food items; Lildl and Aldi really are much cheaper.
Cut Out The Credit Card
Do you find yourself using your credit card daily? Perhaps you use it for unnecessary items such as trips to the cinema or meals out, rather than reserving it for emergencies, as is generally recommended. If you don’t own an interest free credit card, and fail to meet the minimum repayments, then you could be racking up huge amounts of debt. Failure to pay off your credit card is a slippery slope – your bank or credit card provider may keep increasing your limit, depending on how much you spend, which can exacerbate the problem. So, if you truly want to save money, then use your card sparingly.
Cut Back On Travel Costs
Yes, you might need to travel for work, or to take the kids to school, but investigate if it’s feasible to make changes to your routine that will save some pennies, and small changes can make a big difference. If you take public transport regularly, or commute to work, investing in a season ticket will save you pounds on your regular rail fare. If you drive to work, then it’s worth getting a supermarket rewards card; free to apply for, and each and every time you fill up or do a weekly shop you will accrue points. It’s also worth reaching out to other parents in your area to try and share petrol costs by organising a lift share; good for your wallet and the environment.
Book Holidays Online
Do you usually find yourself spending thousands on family holidays or weekends away, even if you have booked to travel months in advance? It’s easier than you might think to leave all your purchases until the last minute. Sites such as Groupon or Living Social offer a range of low-cost breaks or weekends away that won’t break the bank while Last Minute and Expedia are ideal if you have a budget and destination in mind, meaning you can browse a range of hotels and flights to meet with your itinerary.
Sell Off ‘Stuff’
Nearly all of us have ‘stuff’ which we simply don’t need, use or want, but equally don’t have the desire to get rid of it; put off by admin, effort and the perils of human contact. But, if you brave it, you could earn yourself a little pocket money. You can get cash for your DVDs and old mobile phones online, using websites such as Zapper to sell unwanted music and video games. If you have a serious shoe collection that you are looking to shift, then why not use eBay or Depop to create your own online shop? Just remember that you’re charged a percentage by these websites to sell your goods, however, and that you will have to post out the items yourself. Yet, the pros outweigh the cons, as you will soon be making a profit from last season’s wardrobe or last decade’s DVDs.
Think Long Term
If you struggle to save, or find it difficult to exact rapid change to your daily habits, then consider the bigger picture. Why not open an account and use your savings towards a new car, a house or even a holiday? While you may not be able to change your spending overnight, don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if you fail to save one week, make sure that you continue to make an extra effort for the rest of the month. Making small changes such as leaving your credit card at home or preparing yourself a packed lunch will slowly show improvements in your bank balance without too much effort exerted.