Saving money is something we should all be doing. While you may have a steady income, you never really know what’s around the corner. Ask any expert in finance or banking and they’ll tell you the same thing – saving pays off. But just how easy is it to save in this day and age? What’s the best way to save money for tighter budgets and smaller incomes?
In this guide, I’ve put together some top tips you can use right now to save money on a tight budget. Therefore, if you’re interested in finding the best way to save money quickly, you may well find it nestled amongst the following steps. Read on, and get ready to hold onto those pennies.
Here Are 14 of the Best Ways to Save Money
Sell, Sell, Sell
There are two types of people in the world. Collectors, and sellers. We all like having nice clothes, books to read and gadgets to play with. But how many of your possessions do you actually use on a daily basis? Are there any collections you’ve amassed which could do better fetching you some extra money online?
Don’t be afraid to sell on some of your bigger collections. On one hand, it can be hard to part with some possessions, and I’m not saying pawn in anything that has sentimental value. However, if you’re looking to save money, and fast, you’re going to need to think about selling off some of your less-used items and stock which is simply collecting dust. Generate some quick cash so you can put it away for saving.
Get Rid of Debt
It’s hard to save money while you have a cloud of debt hanging over your head. In fact, it’s generally recommended that you try and pay off any money you owe before you start putting any of it away for your future self. While some people may not see it as the best way to save money fast, it is one of the smartest ways to free up money in the long run. So why not make it your focus?
The more time you spend paying off debt, the more interest you will pay. It is simple mathematics. Getting rid of debt as a priority will allow you to concentrate on saving, and will mean you have more to play with once your duties are out of the way. Plus, your credit file will thank you for it.
Cut Out Bad Habits
The best way to save money in a short space of time is, of course, to cut back. Think about what you’re spending money on regularly. Are you a smoker? Do you gamble, or go to betting shops? Do you find yourself buying things you don’t necessarily need? It’s time to start cutting back now, in the name of helping yourself and your family later.
Calculate how much you spend on habits such as smoking, betting or drinking alcohol each month. Smoking, in particular, has never been more expensive. Therefore, it will be worth considering trying to quit if you want to save the pennies. By cutting out the worst habits, you could be saving hundreds each month.
Shop Around and Compare
We’ve all seen those price comparison website adverts on TV and online. They’re pretty pervasive. However, they have saved millions of people thousands of pounds. If you’re the sort of person who is keen to set up an energy supplier or insurance plan without shopping around, you may be doing your money a disservice. Therefore, it is worth thinking about comparing a few deals, regardless of what it is you may be looking for.
Looking to save on energy bills? What about travel insurance? Credit cards? Comparison sites such as Quidco will help you see what’s out there beyond the usual channels. What’s more, some will even have money-saving perks and deals should you buy policies and plans through their services. Therefore, it’s one of the best ways to save money fast if you’re running up big bills with the wrong providers.
Be Smart About Food
Plenty of us find that buying food and drink we don’t need is draining our bank account. One of the best ways to save money quickly is to simply make your food travel that little bit further. This excellent post from Ken at The Humble Penny should give you plenty of ideas. If you can, plan a weekly shop and personally I like to buy online as I find that generally I’m spending more money, and therefore wasting it, if making regular shopping trips on an empty stomach!
Once again, shop around. Some supermarkets offer money off deals if you buy online with them for the first time. When you’ve got your food delivered, if you can, throw as much as possible into the deep freeze. Bread, milk, vegetables and meat will all last weeks and months longer if you freeze and defrost them at a later date. Don’t be tempted to keep topping up.
Don’t Be Afraid of Coupons
The best way to save money if you like eating out and going for the odd round of drinks is to search for coupons. It is no longer seen as cheap or cheeky to find money off vouchers online. Some of the best resources for this include HotUKDeals, Groupon, Wowcher and MyVoucherCodes. Take a look at them all online and you will likely find plenty of popular high street eateries and bars you regularly visit.
Coupons and money off deals really will make a difference if you want to continue having a social life, but want to save money in the bargain. Don’t ever be worried about printing off a voucher or getting staff at a restaurant to scan a code. Everyone is doing it!
Focus on Energy Efficiency
One of the biggest drains for UK homeowners and renters alike will be energy rates and regular bills. If you are on a tariff which isn’t right for you, for example, you could be paying more than you need to. What’s more, your appliances and light bulbs may be more inefficient than you have been led to believe.
It’s therefore a very good idea to take a close look at those gas and electricity bills. It may be worth upgrading or swapping out white goods such as washing machines or refrigerators if they are a few years old and are draining more of the national grid than you can afford them to. What’s more, be smart about the energy you use. Consider installing a smart meter. Turn lights off when you leave rooms. Don’t leave the TV on constantly. Dry clothes outdoors during warmer seasons. It’s the little things which all add up.
The best way to save money regularly is to free up cash you’re frittering away elsewhere. Look at your bank balance and check, month to month, where you are spending the most cash. Could you cut out Sky TV services and find a cheaper alternative? If you’re out of contract, it’s time to cut things down.
Look for non-essential subscription fees which you can do without for a few months, at the very least. Then, set up a standing order for your current account to send the money you’ve saved over to an ISA or similar savings account. By now, you probably won’t notice the money going elsewhere, and what’s more, you’ll be building up a nice little nest egg in the bargain.
Set Clear Goals
If you’re living from payday to payday, saving can seem like a bit of a dream. That’s why you’re going to need to start thinking about setting yourself clearly defined goals when it comes to putting money away. You can start small – why not try saving £1 per day if you can? Then, try and ramp it up – see what happens if you double that amount again and again.
Set yourself clear one-to-five year plans for saving. Think about the bigger things you’re going to want or need in the near future. You’re not going to be able to afford them if you’re scrambling around for the cash in the here and now. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start climbing that savings mountain.
Join a Library
The internet has probably helped take the place of the humble local library in plenty of different ways in recent history. However, there are still some great ways you can save money simply by taking advantage of a library card. Many libraries will still let you borrow CDs and DVDs for free, and you can take advantage of free internet access as well as resources such as courses and tutorials.
Why spend extra on services like Netflix and NOW TV when you could be getting tons of great entertainment for free with a library card? You may even cut down on internet costs, too, if you find you don’t go online too often. Certainly think carefully about your local resources and how you can make the most of them.
Cut Down on Travel Costs
The best way to save money fast for commuters is to cut down on the cost of getting from A to B and back to A again. You may be spending a fortune on car repairs, or on train fares and taxis. If this is the case, think about looking for cheap car parts online, join vehicle sharing schemes, and buy season tickets if you use public transport on a regular basis.
At the same time, you’d probably save plenty of money by walking or cycling as much as possible. It’s also a great way to exercise regularly. Furthermore, if there’s a way for you to travel without having to pay exorbitant fees on public transit or in petrol/diesel and repairs, it’s well worth seizing it.
Cut Down Your Mobile Phone Tariff
Many mobile phone networks up their monthly costs if you buy a new handset alongside. Unfortunately, you are more often than not going to be tied into at least a two-year contract. Once you’re out of the woods, however, you can start looking at your usage each month and slice down those fees.
If you’re happy with your current handset, it may be well worth looking to move to a SIM only deal with your current network. In many cases, you will be able to cut your monthly tariff rate in half and still get all the minutes, texts and data you need. Most networks will let you monitor your usage from a dedicated app on your phone, which means you can easily see where your cash is going each month.
Another way you could save money on your mobile phone bill is by utilising the Airtime Rewards app. It’s a specialised cashback app which, rather than paying cashback out as cash or vouchers, connects directly to your mobile phone service provider and any accumulated cashback goes towards paying off you monthly phone bill.
Think About an Overdraft
If you’ve not already made arrangements with your bank for an authorised overdraft, now may well be the time to start making a change. Providing you have a good credit rating and a reliable history with your bank, they will be willing to set you up on an extensive deal. You will have to pay a percentage in fees each month, but it will be better in the eyes of your bank that you set up an overdraft in this way.
If you regularly go into an unplanned overdraft, it’s well worth setting up a safety net for yourself. Therefore, you can concentrate on getting big bills and payments out of the way while trying to save elsewhere. All things considered, an overdraft is one of the safest ways to borrow money if you need it.
Budget for Treats
So, let’s think about how you treat yourself. Cutting back on money so you can save isn’t always about losing out on the finer things in life. Therefore, you will simply have to start budgeting for certain treats and goodies you’d afford to yourself more regularly.
If you budget for treats along with your regular expenses, you will be able to save money on a tight budget. Therefore, it pays to rein things in, but not too much!
Saving may not come easy to begin with, but ultimately, we all have to start somewhere. You may find the best way to save money in this guide for your lifestyle choices – therefore, why not give a few of these tips a try in your own time?