We’ve been talking about money for about 6 weeks now – how to track it, why it’s important, how much you need, etc.
If you’ve been starting to look closely at your own finances, you’re probably discovering you could do with some creative ways to stretch your money further.
Never fear. We heed your call and offer you 101 ways to cut your spending.
Some of these are extreme. And maybe some of them may seem a bit desperate, so it depends on your circumstances! But it’s always useful to know that if you HAD TO, you could trim your expenses by that extra bit…
Read on and see if any these work for you.
- Shop around for your energy provider – there is a lot of competition in the fuel market so deals are to be had. Be sure you look outside of the ‘big six’ providers as there are better deals to be had from some of the smaller energy firms
- Package your phone, internet and television service together from one provider
- If you don’t want to package the above, then shop around to get the best deals possible – and don’t be afraid to threaten to leave your current provider in order to get a better tariff. It’s all fair in love and phone contracts!
- Do you need a mobile phone contract? Do you actually use all of the minutes and texts which you pay for every month? Consider switching to a pay-as-you go phone and only pay for what you use
- Watch your data roaming charges and tariffs for mobile internet, which can quickly add up
- Do you have closets and cupboards filled with clothes, books and gadgets which you never use anymore? Sell them! Whether in a garage sale, car boot sale, or on EBay get rid of them and get some cash into your pocket
- Stop buying anything new. You’ve just cleared out 10 jumpers, you don’t need to replace them with more. Put a stop to shopping.
- Certain insurances are either required or sensible: car insurance, house insurance, maybe life insurance. But don’t just sign up with your bank or the first provider you check out. Rates are seriously competitive so shop around.
- Use a price comparison website to shop for your electronic goods in order to determine the most competitive prices. Always check at least two different sites to see if one beats the other
- Turn your thermostat down. A degree or two lower on your thermostat can make a difference to your monthly bill. A wooly cardigan can be your best budget buster over the winter months.
- Rent out a spare bedroom in your house – either long term or for short stays on Air BnB
- Do you have a garage or parking space you don’t use? We rent ours out and get £75/month for it.
- Do you really need more than one car per family or could you share a car and save the difference?
- Or could you get rid of the car completely? The few times you need one you can use a car share service.
- Instead of having both a landline at home and a mobile phone, drop your landline and just use your mobile phone
- Stop making long distance phone calls – use Skype, Google hangouts or Facetime instead
- Make presents for Christmas or birthdays instead of buying them. Pinterest is overflowing with simple craft or baking ideas
- Give the gift of your time. A few hours of babysitting to a busy mom, an offer of typing to a student, yardwork to a senior – there are many meaningful ways you can give your time to someone instead of buying them a gift
- Get in the habit of switching off lights when you leave a room
- Never run the dishwasher without a full load. Also the washing machine/dryer
- Instead of buying new clothes, pile up all the clothes you never wear and invite several friends over for a clothes swap. Wine helps.
- Take your lunch with you to work instead of buying it everyday. You’ll save a fortune and end up eating healthier too.
- There’s a lot of great charity shops around – make a habit of buying vintage instead of new
- Previously owned cribs, high chairs, pushchairs and children’s toys can save you loads of money for something that is only used for a short period of time (give them a really good wash with soapy water and bleach). When your children no longer require them, you can sell them on recoup your money
- Switch to energy saving bulbs in all your light fixtures
- Make sure your home is well insulated so that the heat you pay for isn’t going out through the cracks
- Invest in double glazing for your windows to make them more heat efficient
- If your windows let air through the cracks, use inexpensive shrink plastic to seal them off in winter. Keep the cold out and your heat in.
- Get to know your local pound shops; there are often great bargains to be found
- Be wary of non-prescription items from your Veterinarian – many things like flea collars and worming tablets, which don’t require a prescription, can be found cheaper online
- There are few cleaners better than vinegar and water or ammonia and water. Don’t waste money on 10 different spray cleaners.
- We all love a takeaway coffee or tea – but it can add up quickly. Carry a thermos flask with you instead.
- Picnic instead of eating meals out in restaurants
- Always have a snack with you – some nuts, a protein bar, an apple. If you are struck with hunger while out and about you can have something to tide you over until you get home
- For holidays consider camping trips, visits to relatives or house exchanges instead staying in hotels
- Greeting cards cost a fortune – and that’s before you spring for a 1st class stamp. Save money by sending ecards
- If you have an old mobile phone sitting sell it on Ebay (be sure to delete all your info first)
- Instead of turning your heating up when you’re cold at home get under a blanket and light some candles. You’ll be cosy in no time.
- Invest in a hot water bottle.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. Not only will you save money but it will help prevent the colours from fading
- Hang your clothes to dry instead of drying them in a tumble dryer. If they are stiff when dry, then toss them in the dryer for 10 minutes to fluff them up
- Re-use wrapping paper from Christmas or birthdays – or make your own from leftover wallpaper, newspapers etc.
- Don’t get caught in the hype of ‘salon brand’ shampoo and other hair products. Boots will do just fine
- Buy generic drugs rather than branded ones
- For those that want to pamper themselves at home without spending a lot of money on expensive products, consider making your own such as a face mask of egg whites and oatmeal – again Pinterest is full of home made cosmetics!
- If you don’t have a trip on the horizon, what’s the point of renewing your annual travel insurance? Wait until you know you will need it before you automatically renew your policy
- Instead of going away on holiday, take some time at home. Go to all the museums you never visit, see all the films you’ve missed.
- Book early – many good travel deals can be found for the early booker
- Book last minute – if you are flexible about destination or exact travel dates there are major savings to be had by waiting until the last minute
- Instead of driving, look at taking public transportation or sharing rides with someone. Save money and be more ‘green’
- Stay on top of servicing your car to avoid any costly blow outs
- Ensure the tires on your car are kept inflated to the proper level maximise fuel efficiency
- Buy an annual pass for public transportation instead of weekly or monthly pass
- Reduce the amount you use air conditioning, whether in the car or at home.
- Get to know which websites offer deals on theatre and movie tickets and days out. Lastminute.com often has very good deals on various entertainment options and there are websites that offer free activities
- Don’t ‘kill time’ or amuse yourself by wandering through the shops. Avoid the shops and you’ll avoid the impulse purchases
- Instead of buying books, magazines, dvd’s and cd’s, borrow them for free (or sometimes a small fee) from your local library or from friends.
- If you have a Kindle or tablet, there are more free books on Amazon than you could ever read in a lifetime
- Do you really need hundreds of channels on your TV? Stick to the basic cable package and save the difference or give up your TV completely and read books or watch programs on the internet
- Visit commercial art galleries; not only do you get to see some very good art, but it is free. While you are there ask to join their mailing list to get invited to their openings (and enjoy free food and wine)
- Instead of buying newspapers, read your news online for free – most of the major papers have free online sites anyway. Or visit the BBC website for all the latest.
- Often you can get on the guest list for television shows being filmed in studios in your area. All of them require people to fill the seats – check out the website for details
- Look to attend radio recordings – many large city radio stations have concerts which are recorded for play on the radio and they usually give away tickets for the sessions
- Volunteer to work as an usher at your local theatre company help them out and see shows for free
- Plan your meals in advance. If you take one hour and plan out your week’s menu, you will only buy the food that you actually need and save on all the food which is thrown away every week
- Always shop with a grocery list. Resist the impulse purchases by planning your shop in advance
- Shop on a full stomach
- Use local markets where food is often fresher and cheaper.
- Visit markets and shops at the end of the day when fresh food is often reduced.
- If you do shop at the supermarkets swap your usual brands for the supermarket own brand. Or embrace their value range or products.
- Learn to cook. It tastes way better than ready meals and will save you a fortune
- Buy food in bulk; it’s way cheaper
- Learn to use your freezer to freeze food instead of throwing it away. Make double portions and freeze them so you’ve always got something to hand instead of picking up a take away.
- Use coupons – Use Google to find coupons before you head out to shop or have a meal
- Make your own bread –either by hand or with a machine. It’s fun, cheap and the result will blow you away.
- Embrace beans, lentils, tofu and vegetables and consume less meat.
- Fruit that is going a bit brown or mushy is fine for a smoothy. Pop it in the freezer if you’re not ready to use it.
- Save your leftovers instead of binning them. Take them for lunch the next day to work instead of buying a sandwich.
- Investigate options of getting a garden or an allotment to grown your own vegetables.
- Find a local butcher and get to know them. They can recommend cheaper cuts of meat and how to prepare them.
- Make it a rule to eat at home instead of going out. Save it for a treat.
- If you do end up going out, go for breakfast or lunch which are always cheaper than dinner
- Don’t order wine in a restaurant – there is a huge mark-up and unless you pay a lot, it usually isn’t very good. Drink water and save the wine for home.
- When you go to the grocery store, use a basket instead of a cart – you’ll buy less as a result
- Bring your own bags with you when shopping. It’s better for the environment and the 10 pence you save at M&S adds up.
- Instead of boiling your vegetables until they are cooked, bring the water to a boil and then put a lid on the pot and turn the heat off. The steam and heat in the water will cook most vegetables
- When cooking or baking, turn your oven off 10 to 20 minutes before the cooking time is finished and allow the built-up heat in the oven to finish it off.
- Shop around for the best deal on your mortgage. Even a small savings on your interest rate can make a huge difference.
- Pay attention to the overall cost of the mortgage not just the interest. A slightly higher fee and lower interest may be a better deal overall
- If you can, overpay on your mortgage. This will result in a shorter duration of payments which will also save you a bundle on interest payments
- Pay off your credit cards each month – or if you do carry a debt, be sure to switch it to a no-interest card until you can pay it off.
- Don’t let a screaming child rule your finances! Parents decide on purchases in supermarkets, not screaming children. Learn to say ‘no’ and save money on sugary snacks and quickly-forgotten toys
- Take advantage of any tax-free savings vehicles like ISA’s. It’s foolish not to use what few breaks the government offers you
- Set up a direct deposit so money goes from your current account to a designated savings account each month. If it happens automatically, over time you won’t even notice it’s gone and you will adjust your spending habits accordingly
- Get tax advice: many people overpay on their taxes simply because they don’t know waht they can claim, or rebates they are eligible for
- Get a cashback credit card which will pay you a percentage of your purchases back in cash. Even 1 or 2% over the year can add up to quite a lot
- Look for discount or affinity cards from stores where you shop regularly and learn how to use them to your advantage
- Cut back on at least one or two nights a week of drinking alcohol. Not only will you save money, but you’ll likely improve your health and lose weight. Drink water.
- Quit smoking. It’s not helping you and it costs you a fortune. Do your lungs and your bank balance a favour and quit now.
- Walk or ride a bike instead of driving to work. You’ll improve your fitness and save on commuting costs
- Cancel your gym membership. Go running in your local park. Do pushups and situps instead and bank the difference.
Now I’ve never met an artist who didn’t know how to save money when they had to.
Share your best money saving tip below with the rest of us. Happy saving.