The cost of living is certainly rising and more and more of us are relying on credit to get by, or barely making it from paycheck-to-paycheck. There are some simple things you can do to save money, and in time, you will be amazed at how much money you were spending before.
What do you spend?
Before looking at ways to save money, you first need to get an idea of what you are actually spending and how you are spending it. Start by making a list of your outgoings including everything you can think of from monthly bills to regular purchases such as your lunch at work. You may find it helpful to carry a pen and notepad around with you for a week or two and write down everything you spend. Once you have made your list, then you should immediately be able to see some things that you can cut down on or even cut out all together.
It is amazing how much money you can save if you cut down on take away food and drinks. How much did you pay for your coffee this morning? Now total that up over a month and you will see that it amounts to quite a bit, this goes for take away food as well. Of course you will not want to cut these things out completely, you do deserve a treat from time-to-time, but cutting down on them will save you a small fortune in the long run.
Now look at your household bills. If you shop around for a better deal, then you could save another small fortune. Many people never change suppliers because they get used to the one they are with and can’t be bothered with the hassle of changing. Switching suppliers is not that difficult these days and most companies allow you to switch online. Set some time aside one day and search on the internet for a better deal on anything that you can change.
Your home and mobile phone and energy suppliers are usually the ones you can save the most on. You will be amazed at some of the savings available if you switch suppliers or even just negotiate with some of the companies you already have a relationship with. You can reduce your packages for things like satellite television and mobile phone contracts if you find you are not using all of your channels or minutes allowance. Taking a lower package will usually give you a decent saving and if you weren’t using it in the first place, you don’t need it.
Next look at your credit cards and any loans you have. See if you can afford to pay any of your debts off in full. There is no point in paying interest on a credit card if you have enough savings to pay it off. The interest you are paying on your card is almost certainly more than the interest you are gaining on your savings. Don’t worry, if you can’t afford to pay a debt off in full, there are still things you can do to save money on your credit. If you try getting a new card that offers an interest free period on balance transfers, then transfer your other cards to it then cancel them. It is important that you cancel the original cards so that you are not tempted to use them. You could also get a personal consolidation loan to cover all of your debts. That way you would only be making one payment each month. However, you may end up paying more in the long run and it will take longer to pay off.
If you are struggling, then this may be a good option for you. If you can’t or just don’t want to take out any more credit, then try to pay more than just the minimum payment on each of your debt accounts each month. If you only pay the minimum, then you may find that you are paying off very little of your actual balance instead only covering the interest.
If you use public transport to travel to work each day, then this is another area where you may be able to save money. It may be possible to buy multi journey tickets that cost less than the number of journeys would if bought separately. Many companies now offer weekly or monthly tickets that give you unlimited travel for a set price; these are great for cutting the cost of your travel. If you drive to work see if someone else will car share with you and split the cost with them, even if you don’t drive yourself you may find that someone you work with would allow you to car share with them as it would save them money as well.
If you drive, then you should also see if there are ways you can cut your car expenses; the cost of fuel is rising and parking in major towns and cities is far from cheap. You can cut down the cost of your car by simply trying to use it less. If you are going somewhere that is within walking distance, then perhaps you could walk rather than drive. It might take a little longer to get there, but you will save money and get some exercise at the same time. If your car insurance is up for renewal, then make sure to shop around to get the best deal. This is an area that can save hundreds of pounds if you put in the time to look for the best price.
All sorts of things can affect the cost of your insurance, some of which you can change and some you can’t. Your job title affects your insurance price; if you are in a supervisory position say so as insurance companies think this shows responsibility. Playing about with the level of cover can also save money; it is sometimes actually cheaper to have fully comprehensive insurance than it is to have third party cover only. If there is more than one car in your household, then get a quote for multi-car insurance. While multi-car policies might not be cheaper in all cases, it is worthwhile to check because some people have saved a hundred of pounds or more by insuring all the cars in their household on one policy.
Shopping is another place you can save money. More specifically, money can be saved on your weekly groceries and on clothes shopping. Swap premium brands for store brands and you will be amazed at how much money you can save. Store brands are just as good as premium brands and they are a whole lot cheaper. Clothes shopping is an area many are guilty of spending too much on; try to only spend what you can afford, and never put anything non-essential on a credit card no matter how much you want it. If you don’t have the cash to pay for it and you don’t need it, then don’t buy it. It may be hard, but if you want to save money, then this is the biggest area you can save.
This is another area where you should shop around to get the best deal. All the major supermarkets are online these days so it is easy to compare prices. Don’t be afraid to shop in discount stores, their products are just as good as the major supermarkets for a fraction of the price. When it comes to non-food shopping, you can save a bundle by comparing prices online or even buying from auction sites like eBay.
Look at what you do for fun. Do you go on a lot of nights out? If you do, then this is another area where you could save a lot of money by simply cutting down. Going out to dinner or to bars could be costing you a small fortune. Obviously you don’t want to deprive yourself of these things completely, but cutting down on them will save you a lot of money.
There are now also loads of websites around that offer discounts to use in places like restaurants or high street stores. Take advantage of these discounts as much as you can, they are really easy to use and can save up to 50 percent on nights out. All you have to do is create an account on one of these sites and they send you emails with their offers. If you want to take one of the offers, then you simply click the link on the email and follow their instructions.
Try to put a little away each time you get paid. If you can, then save anything at all, even a small amount each month to do so. Money soon adds up and you can then use that money to treat yourself to some of the things you have been cutting down on, or use it to pay off a debt. Even if it is just putting change in a jar, saving anything is better than saving nothing. You won’t miss a bit of loose change each week, but it will soon become something worthwhile.
Of course you shouldn’t concentrate on building up funds in a savings account if you have outstanding debts. Instead, you should use this money to pay your debts as the interest on the debt is almost certainly more than any interest on savings. It is important to have an emergency fund in case you need it for something. Set an amount and put anything you save over that amount toward your outstanding debts. Paying off your debts early saves a lot of money in interest so it is well worth paying a little extra each month, especially to things like high-interest credit cards.
Although the cost of living may be rising, there are things you can do to save money and help you cope better with it. Saving money doesn’t mean that you have to deprive yourself of the things you enjoy, but cutting down and re-examining your debts saves you a lot of money. Saving money needn’t be hard, there are simple things you can do to save a little each month. Once you get used to doing these things, you will barely notice them and you can save a small fortune.