Though the prospect of saving money may seem challenging, it's an entirely feasible endeavour. This piece explores 10 approaches to help you trim down your spending, safeguarding a greater portion of your hard-earned wealth.
1. Devise a Financial Plan
Creating a financial blueprint is the optimal way to keep track of your monthly economic behaviour and identify potential savings or frugality areas.
Begin by calculating all your sources of revenue and outgoings to gain insight into your monthly financial flow. Segregate your expenses into indispensable and dispensable categories. Essential items include house rent or mortgage payments, utilities and food provisions, whereas items such as eating out or entertainment are considered non-essential.
2. Monitor Your Spending
Having defined your budget, you must now keep tabs on your spending. This can be realised by manually recording your costs in a diary or using a budget tracking application. Documenting your expenses allows you to identify areas where you are overspending so you can adjust your plan.
Click to learn how to budget your salary each month.
3. Favour Cash Over Credit Cards
Choosing to use cash instead of credit cards can curb spur-of-the-moment purchases and keep you in line with your budget. This approach is particularly beneficial for maintaining a clear view of your spending over a specific period.
Cash provides a visible representation of your remaining spending power and serves as a physical reminder of your budgetary limits. When your cash reserves are depleted, it indicates the need to stop spending and live within your means. Unlike credit cards, which may tempt you into exceeding your budget, cash can help prevent overspending and ensure you stay within budget.
That said, if you are restrained with budgeting and money, there are some smart ways to use a credit card that can benefit you financially.
4. Capitalise on Discounts and Vouchers
Securing discounts and vouchers for essential items can preserve a significant amount of money. Before making purchases, it's recommended to look for online promo codes or deals that could yield long-term savings.
Various retailers often extend discounts and promotions, so it's wise to check their websites or social media for any current offers. You may also opt to subscribe to their newsletters to receive unique deals and vouchers.
Moreover, several platforms compile coupons and deals from a range of retailers, simplifying the hunt for the best bargains in one location. These platforms usually feature a search function, making it easy to find vouchers and offers for specific items or retailers.
There are even apps and many unique ways to save money on the weekly grocery shop, so check these out!
5. Compare Prices
Avoid confining yourself to a single shop; instead, compare prices across numerous outlets before finalising a purchase. By allocating time to seek the best deal, you can save a significant amount on everyday items like groceries or household goods.
Limiting yourself to one shop could result in missed potential savings available elsewhere. Prices can vary substantially across stores, and by investigating various alternatives, you increase the chance of finding better deals.
Start by identifying the items you require and compile a list. Then, visit multiple stores or check their websites to compare prices. Note any promotions or discounts that might affect the overall cost. Thorough comparison enables you to make informed decisions and choose the most financially favourable option for each item.
Don’t forget to check cashback websites like Widilo and Topcashback to see if you can save even more money with a cashback offer. These types of websites have free membership options and quite literally give you cashback on purchases with well-known retailers.
6. Choose Non-branded Products
While shopping for groceries or other household goods, non-branded items can be as efficient as their branded counterparts but generally cost significantly less. If quality is not a priority, opting for the less costly alternative can lead to considerable savings over time.
Non-branded items often contain the same ingredients as branded ones but without the associated costs of advertising and branding. This means they can offer the same quality and utility as branded items but at a lower price.
While choosing non-branded items, remember there may be minor differences in taste or appearance. However, these variations are generally insignificant, and the potential savings can outweigh these minor differences.
7. Avoid Unnecessary Purchases
Impulsive buying is a prevalent issue leading to unnecessary spending. One way to combat this type of spending is to create and stick to a shopping list.
While building a shopping list, determine the essential items and stick to it. Avoid the temptation of window shopping and adding items to your basket that aren't on your list. If you come across an item that sparks your interest, pause and reflect on whether you genuinely need it. Impulse buying frequently stems from our desire for instant gratification, so taking a moment to think about your wants and needs can assist in dodging impulsive purchases.
Consider scheduling your shopping trips at times when you're least likely to succumb to spending on impulse, such as when you aren't tired or hungry.
8. Cancel Redundant Services
It's worth considering the reduction or cancellation of services like TV subscriptions or phone plans that encompass features you rarely or never use. These services can be costly and may gradually erode your budget without delivering substantial value in return.
Review your current TV and phone plans closely and consider the features that you don't need or utilise. For instance, if you barely watch live television, consider cancelling your cable TV package and opting for streaming services instead. If you also don’t watch any BBC catch up programmes, as well as no live TV, then you can save money by cancelling your TV licence too. Similarly, if your phone plan includes unlimited data but you only use a small portion each month, think about switching to a plan with a lower data cap to save money.
When deciding which services to remove, it's important to evaluate the value each service offers. If a service is essential to your daily life or adds significant value, it might be worth retaining, despite its higher cost.
9. Take Advantage of Free Alternatives
Whenever feasible, take advantage of free options. Many cities offer a wealth of free resources, such as libraries or parks, providing plenty of entertainment at little or no cost.
Public libraries are rich sources of knowledge, offering free access to books, magazines and educational materials. They also frequently host events, workshops and book clubs, offering opportunities for intellectual and social engagement. Parks and recreational areas offer outdoor spaces for relaxation exercise, and community gatherings, usually at no cost.
Moreover, technology has given rise to various online platforms offering free streaming services. You will find a wide selection of films, TV shows, and documentaries without the burden of subscription fees. Many of these services are supported by advertisements, enabling you to enjoy entertainment without any direct costs.
10. Transition from Smoking to Vaping
Smoking is not only harmful to your health but also costly. By shifting to vaping, smokers can save hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds every year, leading to a healthier financial state and lifestyle. Moreover, e-liquids can be purchased for as little as £1 online, allowing for vaping throughout the day without incurring significant costs.
Vaping is a safer alternative to smoking as it doesn't involve inhaling tobacco smoke laden with harmful chemicals that can lead to various health issues. Vaping also allows you to manage your nicotine intake, simplifying the process of gradually reducing your nicotine dependence.
By incorporating these 10 strategies into your everyday life, you can make significant strides towards achieving your financial objectives. Remember, saving money is a continuous journey, not a destination, requiring patience and steadfastness for successful outcomes.
Before you go…
Are you completely new to this saving money thing? Not sure where to start? Hopefully this article has given you some great suggestions, but, before you go, check out these easy 5 tips to start saving money as a beginner for even more help getting started on your path to a better financial future.