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Today’s post is a guest post from Steph at Funding Her Freedom
When you’re looking to save money, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the task at hand – especially if you’re under pressure to make ends meet quickly.
Sometimes we need to take a moment to truly analyse where we can cut back, which is why I wanted to share with you ten easy ways you can save money in your everyday life (today!)
Haggle with your providers
I know, it’s awkward – as Brits, we don’t want to ask for anything. But what if I told you asking for a discount could save you hundreds of pounds across the year?
Write down all of your suppliers, the amount you pay to them each month/quarter/year, and work your way down them all, contacting them and seeing if anything can be done. If your contracts are nearing renewal, you have even more leverage here – threaten to leave and ask them to put you through to the retentions department, whose job it is to try and keep you.
If they refuse to lower your bills? Providing your contract allows it, switching suppliers could save you a fortune. It’s widely acknowledged that companies reward new customers, not loyal ones – so head to Google, search for a price comparison website, and take your custom elsewhere!
Change the way you food shop
There are so many ways you can cut back on your food shopping:
- Change where you shop. During lockdown, when our nearest shop was the Sainsbury’s a couple of minute’s walk away, our monthly food bill was reaching £400 for two people. However, now restrictions have eased and we can drive half an hour to our nearest Aldi, we’ve got this down to £170 in the last month by stocking up on staples to get us through the whole month, and topping up on perishables at Sainsbury’s when needed.
- Meal planning is key – as is writing lists. Do a stock-take of your cupboards prior to going food shopping so you know exactly what you have at home and you don’t buy things you don’t need. Next up, plan your meals for the upcoming week or so, and jot down everything you need to pick up. It’s going to be challenging, but treat this list as the holy grail of your food shop – you’ve done the preparation and identified what you need, so fight any temptations to pick up anything not mentioned on your list.
- Fakeaways rather than takeaways. Just because you’re cutting back, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favourite comfort food. We swear by making our own ‘fakeaways’, and I can wholeheartedly recommend buying a margarita pizza, topping it with paprika chicken and sweetcorn, along with garlic bread, chicken strippers and nachos, which, from Aldi, comes to about £4 between two people (rather than £30+ from a takeaway).
- Batch cook. Without a doubt, batch cooking is the best thing you can do to fight any temptation you may have to grab a Deliveroo in an evening. By making sure you have a couple of meals ready to go in the freezer that you’ve previously cooked up, you’re saving your finances, and probably eating healthier too!
- Most importantly of all – NEVER GO SHOPPING WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY! You can have the best intentions in the world, but if you’re peckish, temptation will overpower any list you previously prepared and you’ll find various treats making their way into your trolley that you never even planned to buy. It doesn’t matter what you eat before you go – just make sure you take the edge off and feel strong enough to resist any end-of-the-aisle promotions.
Wash your clothes on a 30 degree cycle
According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing your clothes on a 30 degree cycle uses around 40% less electricity over the course of a year, compared to higher temperatures. More environmentally friendly, AND money saving? Win-win!
Get a student card
My number one tip – and something I have done – is to take a short online course that will then entitle you to a student card. You can purchase this on a three-year term (I paid £36 for my last one), and you are then eligible for a whole host of student discounts which pay for the card within months.
Do your research on this one in terms of which courses qualify, but I couldn’t imagine my life without my student discount (plus, I gained a qualification in nutrition alongside all the savings – happy days!)
Credit card debt?
If you’re paying interest on your credit cards, get this moved over to a 0% balance transfer credit card ASAP! Typically you have to pay a small fee to do so (usually this is a percentage of what you’re moving over), but after this, whatever you pay towards your card is going straight to debt – and not to paying off interest fees.
Just make sure to pay (at least) the minimum monthly repayment otherwise you might incur late fees.
Make your own household cleaners
Right now antibacterial is best, and I’m not about to preach to you to put down the bleach. However, for basic cleaning, save money by channelling your inner chemist. Stock your cupboards with lemons, distilled white vinegar and baking soda so you’re ready to go, and head to Google and Pinterest to discover exactly how you can clean your house with the most basic of ingredients.
Use less water if you’re on a water meter
It’s an obvious one, but be mindful of how much water you’re using – especially if you’re on a water meter. Small changes that can add up include turning off the tap whilst brushing your teeth (and not leaving it to run), putting any unfinished glasses of water into the watering can you use to water your plants, and taking a quicker shower in the mornings.
Have an old-fashioned sleepover
Just because you’re saving money, it doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun! Invite your friends round to stay the night, and ask them all to bring a different drink/snack along with them. Think 90s movie classics, popcorn, wine and pizza, and I guarantee you’ll spend a quarter of the cost of a night out (and probably have more fun!)
Plus, after spending most of 2020 in loungewear, why break the habit now?
YouTube is your best friend
We all know YouTube is the place to go for funny dog videos or epic fails, but you can also learn so much from it! In particular, YouTube has a huge following where basic DIY projects are concerned, and if you feel up to it, why not attempt something for yourself rather than bringing in the professionals? (Disclaimer: please only do so if you feel confident, as when all’s said and done, it might end up being cheaper for you to bring in the experts!)
Use the round-up feature
If your online/banking app provides it, set up a separate pot which can round up your spending. For example, if an item you pay for using your card costs £1.12, the app will automatically round it up to £2, and send the remaining 88p to your round-up pot. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it grows, and it’s a super easy, passive way to save money.
Your money saving journey doesn’t have to be one where you deprive yourself and your family completely. Instead, it’s about making small (easy!) changes that can have a huge impact when combined together, and have you saving money in no time.
Steph is a UK Money Blogger over at FundingHerFreedom.com. After trying her hand at pretty much every side hustle going, she was able to fund adventures to 26 countries (and counting), save for a house deposit (she’s not yet taken the plunge to actually buy!) and build a healthy Emergency Fund. For more money saving and money making tips whilst she strives for financial freedom, head over to the blog or find her on Instagram (@FundingHerFreedom) and Twitter (@FundingHerFree).