Whatever the time of year, saving money can be an excellent way to lighten the load and take a bit of weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to go all out coupon-clipper, but being a little more frugal in your day-to-day life is a fantastic way to make those pennies go further, giving you room to breathe and cash to save. Here are ten of the easiest ways to save money that are quick and easy to implement into your own life.
1. Think long-term for your commute
If you’re commuting every day via public transport, such as train or bus, then you’re likely spending a fortune on daily tickets that could go to better use elsewhere. Many rail companies and bus services offer annual, monthly or even quarterly options for tickets, often with a significant discount that’s sure to stop your pockets feeling too light. If you’re under 30, there are also rail card schemes that can help you reduce the cost of your commute even further.
2. Cut back on unnecessary subscriptions
We’ve all subscribed to something and then completely forgot to turn off that annoying auto-renewal. Whether it’s a monthly beauty box, a streaming subscription or access to online gaming, if you’re not using something that you’re paying for each month, it’s about time you hit the cancel button. This is especially true for streaming services – stick to a single one out of the many on offer, and your wallet will be far happier.
3. Shop the sales for you and others
Whether it’s Black Friday, end of the season or Boxing Day, shopping those sales for ‘needs’ instead of ‘wants’ can be a great way to save money throughout the year. Many savings-savvy people like to start stocking up for the following Christmas the day after in the sales – where the biggest bargains on gift sets and goodies can be found. If you have a list of must-haves, then keep an eye out for those all-important items in upcoming sales to save loads off the RRP.
4. Switch to annual on those insurance bills
If you pay monthly for your home or car insurance, then you’re paying over the odds. Many insurance services offer an annual payment, which may seem prohibitive up-front but can actually save you as much as 25%. If you can save up to pay annually, it’s more than worth it for the extra cash at the end of the day. While you do have to pay up-front, you’ll have that cash free for the rest of the year, so it’s more than worth it if you have the funds.
5. Explore interest-free options for your debt
If you have debt on a credit card that you’re paying high levels of interest for, consider moving it to an interest-free option. Many credit card companies offer this deal for those willing to try out their services but don’t forget to close your existing credit line once your debt is transferred over to ensure you’re not spending over your limit.
Even if interest-free isn’t an option for you (e.g. if you have a poor credit score and therefore don’t qualify), consolidating higher-cost debts with a loan or credit card at a lower APR can reduce your overall repayment amount. Just be careful to work out the overall cost over the term of the agreement and compare carefully, to ensure it will actually save you money.
6. Switch your energy elsewhere
Switching your gas and electric is a common way to save the pennies, but that doesn’t make it any less legit. Check out comparison sites to find out just how much you could be saving, especially with some great introductory deals out there right now. Switching is easier than ever, with many services now automating it for you entirely.
7. Stop spending on breakfasts and lunches
Those bacon baps, coffees and meal deals really do add up when it comes to five-days-a-week eating habits. If you’re currently surviving off food from your local corner shop or café for your workday meals, you could be spending far more than you realise. Instead, bring in your own coffee and some sandwiches, and you’ll be set for the day without spending an extra penny.
8. Use voucher and coupon sites for better deals
Stop! Before you purchase that item online, consider checking out voucher and coupon sites to find the best possible deal on the hoover, dress, saucepans or whatever else you’re considering adding to your basket. There are even some apps that apply codes directly within your browser, allowing you to get the best deals instantly for products you were already going to buy. Now that’s a bargain we can get behind.
9. Change your shopping list from branded to own-brand
It can get expensive in the supermarket when you’re buying only from big-brand product makers. The truth is, a great deal of own-brand supermarket products are just as good as their flashy counterparts, and in some cases, even better. Commit to switching out your branded goods for something more low-key each week, and you’ll soon have savings stacking up from that weekly shop. Washing up liquid, cleaning products, cereal, bread, and tinned goods are all great places to start.
10. Start saving little and often
The first step to saving money is, well, saving money. There are many apps and services out there that offer ‘change saving’, where all that shrapnel from your shop is transferred directly into your savings. If that doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other options on offer – maybe you could try a saving challenge where you have to save a quid each day, or an increasing amount each week of the year, from £1 through to £52. Now that’s a great way to save without the stress.