It’s never been more important than it is right now to have savings. Estimates suggest that around 6% of Brits don’t have any form of savings whatsoever, so they’re living hand-to-mouth. This is a dangerous financial situation, because if something unexpected happens, you may not be prepared to deal with it. With that in mind, saving can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of disposable income. Here are 10 of our best tips to help you save money and improve your financial health.
Believe it or not, taking out a loan can actually help you to save money, even though it might sound counterintuitive. If you’re struggling to make loan repayments, loans can help you consolidate your debt, and they could also give you lower rates on bill payments or other monthly expenditures. Even £500 loans can be a big help, especially if you just need a little money to clear that last bit of debt that’s bothering you. Don’t dismiss loans if you need to clear debt or make bill repayments.
You can’t know what you’re spending and what you’re earning until you create a thorough, comprehensive budget. First, take into account everything you’re earning. Don’t miss anything out, as it could hurt you later. Next, look closely at your bank account to determine what you’re spending each month. Be thorough, and make sure to comb your direct debits and standing orders as well. This will form the basis of your budget, and it will help you to see if you can squirrel away any extra cash.
One of the ways in which subscription-based services make money is from customers who forget to cancel subscriptions they no longer need. It’s important, therefore, to make sure you’re going through your accounts regularly and wiping out subscriptions you’re not using anymore. This can include free trials, too; although you can usually cancel these at any time, you’re often asked to provide payment details, and it’s easy to forget that the first payment is due a month after you sign up.
There are so many ways to save when you’re food shopping that it’s a wonder more people don’t try them. Opt for oddly-shaped vegetables in your cart, as this will often reduce cost. Shop own-brand and don’t fall for expensive branding, because the goods aren’t always superior. Try to shop local, and buy in bulk, as this will reduce the cost of individual items. Don’t forget to look for bargains and offers, too, although you shouldn’t avail yourself of these if you won’t use the food you’re buying.
You can almost always get a cheaper deal on your energy supply than you’re currently getting. Suppliers often bank on the idea that you don’t want to change because you’re settled with them, so they’ll slowly increase prices without you necessarily even noticing. That’s why it’s important to constantly shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Switching energy suppliers is nowhere near as difficult or arduous as many companies make it seem, too.
You could think about picking up a second job if you want to save a little more money. Of course, it’s important not to burn yourself out; you won’t be able to give your all to either job if you’re struggling to stay awake every day. However, if you think you could spare a little extra time outside your day job, then a side hustle could be just what you need for some money to put away each month. Popular options include blogging, tutoring, and web design.
If you can holiday at home – taking day trips, for example, or weekends away to local climes – then you should consider doing so. Travelling abroad can be prohibitively expensive, with the average cost of a ten-night holiday standing at almost £1000 per person. Think about postponing your holiday if you really must go away, because this can be one of the biggest obstacles to saving money. Try taking day trips instead; they can be much less expensive and can still show you sights you haven’t seen!
If you have children, this may be a bitter pill for them to swallow, so think carefully about whether this is something you really want to try. If you don’t have kids, though, or if you can convince yours that gifts are not the be-all and end-all, then a gift-free Christmas could be a great way to help you spend money. Christmas is an expensive time for many of us, with the latest and greatest gadgets costing a lot of money. Without gifts, you could not only stand to save money, but also to redefine the holiday as a time for family as well.
Buying second-hand goods is a great way to save money. Vehicles, tech, and clothing can all be had for a fraction of their original cost if you discard any notion that new is better. In particular, estimates suggest that as soon as a car is driven away from the forecourt, it loses around a third of its original value. This means you can get a vehicle that has literally completed a single trip for a massive discount, so if that bargain appeals to you, there are plenty more waiting out there.
Cigarettes have no health benefits whatsoever, so if you smoke, you’re essentially burning money. There are some suggestions that alcohol might have health benefits if consumed in moderation, but if alcohol is a big part of your nights out, then abstaining from it could save you a huge amount of money in the long run. Granted, it might make going out less fun, but you can organise alternative ways to spend time with your friends if they really care for you.