We all want to save, or at least cut back, right? But I guess it's easier said than done because life always seems to get in the way. Before I know it, it's the end of the month and I have no savings. So, I've had a little think about ways to save without even really noticing.
Here are some of my top tips.
Cut Back On the Presents
Like many others I often feel trapped into buying everyone a present for their birthday, Christmas and sometimes even their anniversary. But why? It's a struggle trying to find something they want that’s within my budget without playing it safe and giving them money or a voucher. The problem is, if you give money you can feel judged by the amount and end up overspending.
The trick is to be open about it, think about who you are buying for, speak to them and see if you can agree not to buy each other anything for this occasion. It will actually save you both in the long run.
Use Your Loyalty Cards Right
Nowadays, every store has a loyalty card and if you're anything like me your purse will be brimming with them. I even forget I have them sometimes. But you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.
Do your research, plan in advance and you may be able to get discount vouchers or even freebies. Which has created a loyalty card breakdown to make rewards clearer.
Get Rid Of Those Unused Direct Debits
Sounds simple doesn't it? Review your direct debits and if you have any that you have no need for, simply cancel them. We sign up to all sorts of things these days and then completely forget about them. Don't wait another second.
Don't Diss the Supermarket
I'm the biggest culprit for this but give the supermarkets a chance. Branded goods catch our eye and find their way automatically into the trolley. Try home brands and you might just find that they’re half the price but taste no different. These products are usually made by the same manufacturer as the branded goods, and then labelled for the shelf brand.
I've also found that MySupermarket.co.uk is a fantastic way to shop around. Add your shopping and it will compare your basket across supermarkets. If another supermarket comes in cheaper than your usual shop the site will work its magic and move your basket for you.
Don't Be Fooled By Discounts
As great as discounts are, it's easy to be sucked in. Buy one get one free here, half price there, you catch my drift. By the end of the shop you've soon filled your trolley with things you didn't even need. Be strict with yourself. Do you really need it?
Take advantage of discounts only when it's something you need and are likely to keep, and use.
Keep Food Waste to a Minimum
Ready, steady, bake. It's time to prep, prep and prep some more. Start bulk cooking to save yourself time, money and waste. It also means that when you really can't be bothered to cook you've got yourself a handy meal waiting for you when you get home. You can even buy a variety of things already frozen that you wouldn't necessarily think of.
I've recently started buying frozen mushrooms, onions and peppers to avoid fresh produce going to waste along with saving a few teary eyes from chopping the onions.
Change Up Your Heating Schedule
Spring has sprung, the snow has disappeared for now so it's time to change your heating schedule. It's been a cold winter and your heating will have been set to keep the chill out. It's no longer cold (well, compared to what we've had), so adjust your heating regularly and accordingly.
Make Sure You Get the Very Best Deal
Challenge your bills and you’ll soon find yourself a discount or two on your phone, broadband and TV providers. Call up and question your price. You may find they've got a deal you can take advantage of. You may also find that you've agreed to things in your package that you no longer require.
Get the Most Out Of Your Bank
Sometimes we can become very complacent with our banks. It does the job and that’s all that matters. Don't be fooled. Your bank can offer you so much more. Look into different banks and what they can offer you, and you may even be rewarded for moving your business. Many different banks offer you a range of cashbacks when you use your card. Some may even offer extra perks;
Barclays offers Blue Rewards. If you're with Barclays then you can sign up quickly, make a payment of £3 a month and you can earn up to £7 per month back just by banking with them.
Take On a Challenge
Take on a challenge. Set yourself a May challenge. Thirty one days, £1 a day and without even noticing you've saved yourself £31. If you think £1 may be too much then set yourself a realistic amount. Every saving helps!