Why save money?
- there always seems to be something you want to buy, if only you had the cash;
- a well-earned, long-awaited holiday might be on the cards if you have saved enough money;
- the more you have, the more you have to share with friends – by helping them out from time to time or simply buying a gift that says thank you for being my friend; and
- money you save might be put away for that inevitable rainy day, when extra resources are likely to make all the difference.
So, there are likely to be many reasons for saving money. But to make it count and for it to add up to an appreciable sum over the year or so, you really need to be saving money every day.
Here are just a few tips and suggestions about how you might go about it:
Everyone needs to go shopping for their daily essentials – but it’s worth giving a thought to just where you are doing your shopping. Are you getting the best value for money on the brands you like to buy, or are there some staples for which you might be prepared to switch to own-brand items? Are you making the most of loyalty discounts or cash-back deals every time you shop?
It is also worth trying to cut down on the number of times you just pop out to the shops.
If you wait until your needs justify a longer shop for more items, you are going to have saved yourself – several pounds each time – on the expense of fuel.
Another way of economising, both on the number of trips to the supermarket and on the final bill itself, is to buy your groceries in bulk. Just make sure you have enough storage space in your freezer etc..
Wherever you are doing your shopping – and however often you do it – it’s worth checking all prices online before comparing them at the store you are visiting.
This may also give you the chance to see whether advertised discounts or special offers are genuine and may also be a source of discount coupons.
2. Slow cooking
Whether it’s during your trip to the shops or any other outing, by putting your dinner in a slow-cooker, rather than cooking it conventionally, you’ll be welcomed by a hot, nourishing and well-cooked meal when you arrive home and also save on energy costs – you’ll also save more by not ordering a pricey takeaway.
Saving energy this way is also saving you money on a regular, day to day basis.
3. Managing your debt
In any one year, you might be paying hundreds or even thousands of pounds in interest on debt – credit cards being a particular culprit.
The interest you pay on credit cards is considerably more than the interest you earn on any savings, so consider whether you are able to pay off any outstanding debts.
If you absolutely need a loan then car finance logbook lender Elogbook Loan suggest finding a loan company that doesn’t penalise you for paying the loan off early, as the money saved on the interest through repayments can be extremely substantial.
The Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine also suggests that you might consider amalgamating several of your debts onto a single zero-interest credit card – provided you remember that zero-interest is only a temporary, promotional offer and you need to be able to reduce the outstanding balance to zero (or transfer to another zero-rated card) once the promotional period expires.
4. Online marketplaces
Saving money doesn’t mean that you have to become a hoarder – far from it.
eBay or Gumtree offer easy online methods of putting unwanted or no longer used items up for sale – saving you money to spend on other necessities.
Marketplaces such as eBay or your local garage, as well as better-quality jumble sales may be just the place to pick up essential daily items at a snip of the price.
5. Eating out
No one wants to be a kill-joy because of their quest to save money, but eating out on too regular a basis may soon add up.
Think about reducing the number of times you go out and still keep an eye on the menu prices when placing your order.
And consider a Tastecard. While this will attract an annual cost, if you tend to eat out a lot (or you run a business and have to entertain customers), then you could still be quids in at the end of the year.
6. Direct debits
Direct debits for subscriptions and payments for other goods and services – which may have seemed like a good idea at the time – have a sneaky way of just rumbling on and on.
Those that are for relatively small amounts might easily fall under the radar and be barely noticed in your statements of monthly expenditure – but on a day to day basis, they still have the capacity to mount up.
A good example is given by a correspondent to the Money Saving Expert, who explained that he had been paying the regular £16 a month premium for repair insurance, on white goods that he hadn’t owned for the past six years – resulting in an estimated total wasted expenditure of £1,200!
As part of your daily money-saving exercises, therefore, be sure to check that you have no long-running direct debits for things you no longer have use for – and make sure to cancel them.
7. Making a budget
There are more serious ways of longer-term financial planning – but which also have an impact on your daily spending habits.
Just as important as knowing how you’d like to spend the money you have saved, for example, is how you are going to save it – it’s important to know what you have coming in and what is going out.
Budgets are the key to practically any kind of financial planning – and they work just as well in your own private life as they do for the biggest of corporations.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be set in stone, and may be amended in response to changes in your circumstances, but it’s likely to prove an essential roadmap to where you want to be.