We’d all like a bit more money in our bank at the end of the month. A little something to put away or to treat ourselves but with rising costs and wages stagnating it can be hard. Inflation has been stuck around 0% for what seems like an age but is it really making a difference? The best way to have more money to spend on the things you like or to save for a rainy day is to spend less. Here’s how you do it without cutting back unnecessarily.
Budget and track
Keep a spreadsheet of your regular bills and track everything you spend. I mean everything. After 2-3 months you’ll have a good idea of what you tend to spend outside of your main bills and this could be an easy way to identify areas of overspend.
Use cashback websites
Cashback websites get paid a referral or affiliation fee for everything you spend on one of their client’s sites and they share this commission with you. Sites like TopCashBack and Quidco are market leaders and cover pretty much any site you might spend on so why not get paid for shopping you were going to do anyway? You can also link your debit card to your account and it will give you cashback in certain shops or their apps even pay you just for going into a certain shop, you don’t even have to buy anything!
Reduce your bills
Switch your energy provider to the cheapest fixed deal on the market and you could be saving hundreds every year. Cashback and comparison websites will give you money for switching so not only can you save money, you can get paid for doing so. If there are more rooms in your house than people then generally you can save money by being on a water meter so that might be a consideration if you’re on a fixed tariff.
Haggle! The best deals on mobile phones, TV, landlines and internet are usually reserved for new customers so call your provider and ask to leave. You’ll be transferred to a customer retentions team who will usually have the power to offer you an attractive deal to stay. You don’t even have to be willing to switch, you just need to tell them you are. If they try to call your bluff (very rare but not unheard of) you can tell them you need to discuss it with a partner and will call back. If this happens you can try back a few days later and try your luck with someone else. Towards the last Friday of the month is a great time to call as they’ll have internal targets to reach so might offer a little more than they would on a Tuesday at the beginning of the month.
Use coupons and special offers
BOGOF deals (buy one get one free) is only ever worth doing if it is an item you were going to buy in the next few weeks anyway. Take the opportunity to stock up on non-perishables and items that can be frozen. Take advantage of introductory offers like the MrSmithCasino welcome bonus if you enjoy online casino games such as slots, table games or live roulette. Other excellent introductory offers included money off online delivery from supermarkets such as Tesco who offer £12 off your first order or Ocado who offer a whopping £20 off your first spend of over £80.
A quick internet search will often yield a discount voucher for your favourite takeaway or online shop or another good trick is to sign into your account for an online store and leave the item you want in your basket before exiting the website. You’ll often get an email reminding you of your basket with a discount offer.
Coupons can save you a lot of money and there are shows dedicated to ‘extreme couponing’ where coupon fanatics will have stock rooms full of products they got for free or paid next to nothing for.
Flog unwanted goods on Craigslist, Gumtree, eBay and MusicMagpie. You may no longer want it but someone else might. Even a broken wooden bed frame might fetch more on one of these sites than it would cost to have it disposed of just for the materials. Never assume no-one else will want it just because you don’t.
Get rewarded for your little treats
A coffee here, a cinema ticket there, a birthday card for a friend – these things all add up but if you know your rough monthly average spend and try to keep within that then a rewards credit card could really work for you. You can get cashback, loyalty points or gifts just for using your card as normal and if you set up a direct debit to pay it off every month you’ll never incur interest.
Those insurance comparison adverts might be annoying but they can save you money. Make sure you are getting the very best deal on your home and car insurance by comparing the latest deals. Using little tricks when putting in your details to see if that shaves any extra off. Tweaking your job title from Estate Agent to Property Valuer could save you money. Adding a more experienced driver can help bring the premium down too.
If you have a 0% credit card put your car or home insurance on that as annual premiums are vastly cheaper than monthly ones. Use a card repayment calculator to see if your existing credit card’s interest rate would save you money over the often extremely high credit fee your insurance provider will charge for monthly premiums. Even if it’s just a few pounds, it all adds up. You can even do this with your home phone line rental and save 10-15% on your monthly line rental charge.
Don’t forget to use a cashback site when buying your insurance too.
Test your tastebuds
Swap a few items from your weekly shop with a cheaper own brand and see if you can tell the difference. Most of us eat with our eyes and we’ve become so attached to brands we grew up with we’ll often stick with them even if a similar tasting brand is half the price. You could save hundreds every year just by making a few swaps.
Don’t waste food, keep a list of what you have so you don’t overbuy and can plan meals around what needs to be used. Wasted food costs the average family £700 per year.
Follow these tips and you could be hundreds of pounds better off each year.