You know that you should be saving more of your money, whether it’s for a specific goal (a new house, a new car, a nice holiday) or just for a rainy day. In fact, you know that everyone should have a savings account that has more than a couple of quid in it. And you do mean to save, you really do, it just seems like that every last penny you make is already earmarked for something else.
But is that really the case? Saving money for tomorrow’s expenses does not have to become a painful hardship. In fact, it can become so painless you barely notice you are doing it, until you take a look at your savings account balance (or even at that coin jar in the corner) and are pleasantly surprised by just how well you’ve done.
How can this really be done? Here are 15 easy ways to save money to get you started.
The Coin Trick
An oldie but a goodie. Every time you are given change put the coins in a jar rather than back in your pocket. It sounds like a cliché, but you really will be surprised by just how quickly small change can become significant savings.
Really cannot live without that coffee shop latte every day? Fine, go ahead and indulge though, but add a matching amount to your coin jar. Can’t really afford to do that? Then it really is time to give the coffee shop up and save that cash for something else.
Shop for a Better Bank Account
There really is no reason to pay high bank fees anymore when so many banks now offer perks like free chequing and no fee debit cards. If you are still paying high bank fees shop around for a different account that will value your business enough to not charge so much for their services.
Stop buying lunch on workdays and bring a packed lunch instead. Chances are that by doing so you’ll not only cut down on your spending but the calories you consume as well, which can only be a good thing.
Do the fancy brand cornflakes at the supermarket really taste that much better than the cheaper store brand? Not really do they? And those over the counter medicines you take, you do know that by law brand name and generic medicines contain exactly the same ingredients, don’t you?
By ditching some of your old brand loyalties and opting for generic products you can save a lot more money than you might think.
Take Your Receipts
How many times do you get to the end of the week wondering just where all of your money went? Instead of wondering make sure you know. Get a receipt for everything you buy and then once a week go through them.
Not only will doing this let you understand where the money went but where you can make some cutbacks to help save more money too.
Shop with a List
It may seem old-fashioned but whenever you go food shopping do so with a list and stick to it. Doing this will avoid those silly impulse buys and reduce the amount of junk food in your cupboards as well.
Shop with Coupons
Get into the couponing habit. Every twenty pence saved adds up and most coupons can be loaded onto your phone these days cutting down on the clipping time.
Shop for Bulk
Have a deep freezer? Then why buy single serve frozen dinners when bulk buying is certainly going to be cheaper? The same holds true for other staples like rice, sugar, flour and other longer-lasting foodstuffs.
Cut Down on Your Soda Habit
People talk about the need to cut back on soda consumption to protect their health but it will also save you more money than you might imagine as well.
Keep Your Car in Good Repair
The simple acts of making sure that the air in your tyres is always at the right pressure and keeping its engine well-tuned can save you hundreds in petrol a year and not just on car repairs.
Consolidate to a Lower Interest Credit Card
If you carry balances on your credit cards consider consolidating them onto a lower interest credit card (but then make every effort to pay them off and you will save even more money)
The simple act of unplugging household appliances when they are not in use (the TV, the microwave) can save you more money on utility bills than you might imagine.
Look for Lower Cost Entertainment
There is certainly nothing wrong with going out once in a while but if you put a little more thought into where you go you can save money and still have fun. For example, swap a restaurant meal in the summer for a made at home picnic or a night at the cinema for a night in with a DVD.
Shop for Big Occasions REALLY Early
You must have noticed that two days after Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, or Easter, that all of the themed merchandise suddenly goes on sale at a significant discount. By shopping those sales and stocking up for next year now you really could save.
Take Advantage of Freebies
Does your job offer a gym discount or free wellness classes, as many do? Or does your employer offer a cellphone plan discount? Look for these discounts and freebies and make use of them, even if the discount seems quite small, as it all adds up in the end.