I’ve been thinking of things I do to save money to send ideas to a friend who is trying to save a little bit of extra money for a surprise wedding anniversary holiday trip.
So, I thought I would share my 7 Money Saving Tips with everyone, because, who doesn’t want to save money? There are of course lots more than seven ways to save money, but I wanted to focus on few simple steps that will get you saving straightaway.
1. use cash instead of your card
Withdraw all your daily expenses as a cash and stop using your card. Every time you are give a change, put all loose coins in your savings jar. You’d be surprised how quickly the loose change adds up to something more substantial. Depending on how you want to use your money, spend it when you’ve reached your saving goal and take it to your bank and deposit it to your savings account.
2. Have a ‘no spend’ day or a weekend
This one is actually more fun than it sounds. In this day and age, we are probably buying too much stuff that we don’t actually need and could easily stay one day away from. The take out coffee in the morning, the chocolate snack in the afternoon, lunch with colleagues, new earrings or other treats because you feel stressed on the way back from work. Last minute online shopping before you go to bed, because the add for the top that you liked so much last moth appeared on your screeen. Do I need to carry on?
So, for one day (or a weekend) curb all your spending and buy only what you really have to. You obviously need to get to work and pay the electricity bill, but you are going to be just fine, if you don’t buy that blueberry muffin!
To make this more fun, think about a ways of making the day special in a different way. Make a really good coffee in the morning at home, bake your favourite cake and take it to work for everyone to share, make your own sandwiches and sit in the park and enjoy the fresh air. Have a look in your wardrobe and put together an outfit that you’ve not worn for a long time to make you feel like you have something new.
If you manage one day, try two days… Go on, be brave!
3. cancel direct debits
O,K I’m not suggesting that you cancel your electricity, gas or other important direct debits, those are to stay! But have a look through your bank statement and check for any direct debits for anything not essential, like entertainment, magazine subscriptions or club memberships. Review each and every item and ask yourself whether you are still using that service to its full potential. If for example, you have three different magazine subscriptions, could you keep just one and cancel the others? Club memberships are great, but you need to use them regularly to get the full benefits. If you go just once a month or so, it might be actually cheaper to pay as you go instead of paying regular amount each month.
4. make up a budget
I know this one sound really boring, but believe me it works! Writing a budget and tracking your expenses is a great way to identify areas you can save. You can use a simple spreadsheet or even a phone app to help you with this.
First of all, gather all your bank statements and write down all the necessary expenses that you have to pay each month, such as household bills, taxes, insurance policies. Then have a look at what’s left.
Check all your expenses for the last month and work out how much you spend on food, clothes, going out, entertainment or other areas. Then have a look at which area you are able to curb your spending. For example, could you stay away from buying clothes for a month? I’d hazard a guess, that you can! I’m sure you have a wardrobe full of clothes that you could make up different outfits from every day, without buying the latest trends.
5. track all your expenses
The next step is to record every expenditure that you make. This way, you’ll hold yourself accountable for your spending. Believe me it makes a difference recording a expenditure for a household bill that you know you need to pay, as oppose to a payment for a dress that you know you really don’t need!
Stick with it for at least a week and then review it. If you can do week, carry on for the whole month and then compare it to the previous month. I’m sure you’ll already see a difference and you’ll be surprised how you’ll start to question each expense when you know you need to record it afterwards.
6. Shop around and swap around
Of course, there will be things you’ll need to buy or experiences that you wouldn’t want to miss. But there are still ways of saving money here! Before you buy anything have a look whether you can get any coupons off or if any shop is offering a special deal or they have a sale on. You can also have look at swapping your ideal item for something that will be equally good, but will cost less money. Branded items are always more expensive than non-branded items, but it doesn’t mean that non-branded items are less of a quality. The easiest way to start saving money is on your food. Next time when you go shopping reach out for the non-branded (or supermarket own) brand and see how much saving you’ll make at the end of your shop. Branded items are often 100% more expensive, so there is a significant saving to be made here.
7. Plan your meals in advance
No matter whether it’s just the two of you or you have a large family, planning your meals in advance really works! If the idea of long term rigid food menu planning scares you, try to stick to just two weeks at a time or the time that you need to reach your savings goal. Planning meals in advance saves money because it’s easier to make a shopping list, so you’re only buying items you need, and not just grabbing random items then trying to make a meal out of them. Using a list helps ensure you don’t forget things.
What tip do you have to help others save money? I’d love to know, so feel free to share it with us in the comments below.