Collaborative Post¦ Life is so busy, it can be difficult to find the time to sit down and work out where you’re going wrong with spending money. So many of us find that finances are really tight when we’re getting close to payday. With 15% of Brits having no savings and 1 in 3 having less than £1,500 saved up [source], it’s no wonder many of us are getting into debt when times get tough. However, by following these tips, you’ll be saving money in no time.
1. Don’t dismiss own brands or value ranges! My advice is to start from the bottom. If you need a product, see if the supermarket does a basic version of it. Try it, and if you don’t like it, move up to the supermarket own brand. You’ll still be saving money if you go for the supermarket own brand rather than a branded product. Sometimes we’ve actually found that we’ve preferred the basic range to its branded counterpart!
2. Buy in bulk. Often, it works out cheaper to buy a lot of a product in the long run. For example, buying a 12 pack of toilet roll will cost you less than buying a 4 pack every week for 3 weeks. If it’s a multibuy offer, do check shelf prices as occasionally I’ve seen these offers work out more expensive!
3. Never shop on an empty stomach. This is so important, as you’ll always find yourself getting taken in by offers more and overbuying when you’ve got the munchies. Making sure you eat before you go to the supermarket (or shop online) will make you far more likely to stick to your shopping list and only get the essentials!
Check out more tips for saving money in the supermarket over at this blog post.
4. Use cashback sites. By using sites such as Quidco and Top Cashback, you can get money back on things that you buy. It takes a little while for the money to come back to you and the percentages of cashback vary, but it’s certainly worth doing in my opinion. I’ve made over £100 back on things I’ve bought in the last few years (bearing in mind I’m not a big spender).
5. Use loyalty cards. Loyalty cards are great for helping you to get more for your money. My favourites are probably my Boots and Tesco cards. With Boots, you earn 4 points for every £1 you spend. Each point is worth 1p. The points I’ve racked up have really helped me out of some pinches over the years, whether it was for buying Christmas presents or a makeup essential I’d run out of too close to payday. Meanwhile, my Tesco clubcard has got me several free fun days out at the zoo I wouldn’t have had otherwise!
6. Sign up offers. Take advantage of sign up offers. Before I buy anything online, I always look to see if I can find promotions to get a certain percentage off of an item or save some £s. It doesn’t take long to check and the savings can be huge, depending on what you’re buying. A few years ago, I got £50 off of my bridesmaids dresses using my student discount.
7. Look online for offers before you go. Before I go to a restaurant, I always check out their website and social media. As well as enjoying checking out the menu, you can often find special offers! By doing this, I’ve actually managed to save 50% on a family meal for 6 of us before (that’s a big saving!)
8. Ask for tap water. Drinks add up when you’re eating out. Asking for tap water instead will help to cut the cost, even if it’s just in place of one drink!
9. Ask for a doggy bag. Restaurant portions are often HUGE. I very rarely get through a whole meal, so I ask for a doggy bag. That way, I don’t waste food or money and I have a lunch already prepared for me the next day. Win, win, win!
10. Keep an eye on fuel prices. As you drive around, check out the fuel prices on the signs at petrol stations. That way, you know which is the cheapest to use when it’s time to fill up. Never fill up at a country fuel station if you can help it, as they’re far more expensive than petrol stations in towns.
11. Car share. If you live relatively near someone who works with you, arrange to car share with them. This will help both of you to save money on fuel, as well as helping the environment!
12. Service your car yourself. It’s pretty straightforward to learn how to do oil changes etc. – I’ve been helping my Dad since I was a kid! Either buy a Haynes manual for your car, or check out guides and videos online. Garages charge extortionate amounts, so it will save you lots. If you don’t like to get dirty, see if someone you know will do it for you in exchange for lunch or a lift with their friends to the pub and back.
13. Switch energy suppliers. Could you be spending too much on your gas and electricity? While you might have signed up for a good deal with your supplier, once that deal ends, you often end up paying far too much.
14. Use comparison sites. These are one of the best things on the internet in my opinion. You can use them to compare and find the cheapest energy suppliers, car insurance, home insurance, credit cards and broadband bundles for you. I’ve saved so much money by doing this over the years. I tend to compare energy and broadband suppliers yearly to make sure that I’m still getting the best deal.
15. Transfer your debts. If you’re paying lots of interest on your credit card each month, transferring your debts onto a 0% credit card could make sense. Just make sure you pay it off before the interest goes sky high when the 0% promotional period ends.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.