Yep, we know what you’re thinking. Another article about the accumulative cost of your coffee habit. Another damn piece imploring me to cut down on the avocado. And sure, those changes might put place a few extra coppers in the piggy bank, but we’re here to look at the bigger picture; the subtle habitual shifts which could change your spending patterns and bring about real, positive change to your bank balance. So, whether you’re saving up for a big lifestyle change or simply like to think savvy with your spending, here are 6 IDEAL lifestyle changes which could help you save money.
As simple as it sounds, you can’t save money retrospectively. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but once pounds have been spent, they’re spent. Gone. Dispensed with. So planning ahead is the only really meaningful way to save some serious coin.
This is particularly relevant if you find yourself saving for a big event. If you have a specific goal in mind, then let that goal be your focus from the start, and use it as your motivation to decline that post-work pint that inevitably turns into ten, and the astronomical spend associated with it. If you’re really serious about saving, set up a calendar countdown on your phone or hang one at home. Budgeting by day, with the end goal clearly visible, helps make things seem more real; a really useful approach when so much spending is now done without physical, tangible cash changing hands.
Of course, reducing your spend to absolutely zero is impossible. There’s maintenance costs, transport, food, and general outgoings to contend with, not to mention the need for a little r’n’r now and then. Indeed, there are some lifestyle necessities which splashing the cash on will actually save you more money in the long run. This goes for a well functioning car, and home utilities, for example, such as washing machines or your fridge.
Better quality products usually cost more money, but with higher spec comes longevity. After all, it is better to invest wisely once than accumulate a list of payments over a long period of time due to repairs and maintenance.
ENLIST SOME PEER SUPPORT
One ideal way to save money is by getting your friends involved and letting them know you’re looking to cut back on your social spending. Of course, you shouldn’t go full hermit-style and isolate yourself; just find some activities which don’t cost the world which you enjoy sharing with friends.
Perhaps a night in with a DVD or Netflix binge would suit your current state-of-spend more than a trip to the cinema or going out for a meal. If you’re thinking of a fancy birthday meal, you could instead opt for a barbeque at the park, and save money by cooking the food yourself and taking along a ball for a kickabout. Having fun with friends doesn’t always need to involve spending money, as it’s the shared company that holds the real value.
THINK FRUGALLY ABOUT FOOD
We’ve all been there; a long, stressful day at work and a late finish leads you straight into the takeaway on your way home, the ingredients for that Bolognese safe in the fridge for at least another day. It doesn’t help that there are so many delivery services available at the touch of a button and deals aplenty to entice you. However, cutting back on frivolous food expenditure can have a major impact on your outgoings every month, one which you’ll notice almost immediately.
Little and often is a great philosophy to keep when you’re trying to save, and cutting back on lots of smaller outgoings will go a long way. And that goes for your waist line, too. If you’re peckish, wait till you get home to eat as opposed to picking up a snack on the way home. If you’re thirsty, go for a simple bottle of water as opposed to expensive fruit juice. Branded products, although almost identical in content, are often considerably more expensive, so bear that in mind when doing your (much recommended) weekly shop.
Getting busy in the kitchen is one sure-fire way to save money. Bulk buying fresh vegetables and meat – cheaper, of course, than single items – allows you to cook larger batches of whatever takes your fancy, saving money on lunch and dinner further down the week. Meal plans are a great way to get everything documented and organised, meaning you’ll save time as well as money. Result!
LEARN TO SAY NO
Saying no to plans may be tricky, but getting a track on your finances is all about balance. If your friends are planning a big night out or weekend away somewhere, and it looks as though you may not be able afford it this time, don’t let FOMO sway you. Opportunities will come again and it’s okay to take a step back and miss out occasionally. Learn to say no politely and with grace, and you’ll enjoy the next night out with a renewed sense of vigour.
BEFORE A BIG PURCHASE, DO YOUR RESEARCH
One of the most fundamental ways you can save money is by doing thorough, considered research prior to any purchase of magnitude. The list of possible savings is endless. For example, work out which local petrol station has the cheapest fuel before you fill up. Or, if you’re heading out food shopping, look online for any deals or vouchers beforehand. If a birthday is coming up, head to sites such as Groupon to get the best deals so you can celebrate the day without losing too many funds. And should you be considering going away, spend a good amount of time researching the area for the most suitable accommodation, and plan in advance to get the best flight deals possible. Price comparison sites are perfect for finding your next insurance deal, and websites such as HandsetExpert can recommend the best deals for mobile phones and tariffs.
Indeed, it seems that money can be saved on almost anything if you have the patience to assess your options first. It may seem a hassle to dedicate such time simply to research, – after all, who doesn’t love the odd splurge done on a whim – but those rushed decisions can quickly pile up, leaving a burning hole in your jean pocket. And you won’t have enough money to buy a new pair.