Saving money can be an extremely difficult task, especially this time of the year when Christmas is upon us. You might be super organised and budget your cash to get you through the expensive period, but in case you’re not that prepared I’ve put together some little tips and tricks that will help you along the way. These are tips that I have adopted since my uni days where cash was tight. Now I’m earning things are better, but I still budget hard to prepare myself for any surprises that may come around.
Do a meal plan each week and only buy exactly what you need for it.
It can be quite easy to go food shopping each week and buy with your eyes. By this I mean, you have no list and you can’t remember exactly what’s in the cupboards or fridge at home, so you just buy what you think you need. By doing this you are probably just buying things for the sake of it. Instead, try and get organised by doing a meal plan. Once you know what you’re going to be cooking, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to buy. Look in your cupboards and see what ingredients you already have, and see if there is anything you can make with ease that just needs some fresh ingredients. You’ll be surprised.
Use loyalty cards to get something back with each transaction.
Whether you’re doing a regular food shop, filling your car up or buying some new makeup… Get your loyalty card out and get it swiped. It’s a great way of adding points, and points turn into pounds so use your loyalty cards as much as you can to get the most out of it. My personal favourites are the Tesco Clubcard, Sainsburys Nectar Card, Boots Advantage Card and Nandos Reward Card (obvs).
Regulate your meals out to make them more special.
It can be quite easy to eat out a few times a week, but don’t you find that if you do it just becomes another meal. Why not make it more special by just going out a few times a month or just for special occasions? There are plenty of tasty recipes that you can do at home that sometimes taste much better than restaurants. Or perhaps you could cheat and buy an M&S dine in for 2, I think they’re something like £10 and you get a bottle of vino thrown in. Win-win as it’ll be tasty food and it’ll be much cheaper than going out.
Hunt for discount codes. P.S: they are everywhere.
My family call me the discount queen. That’s because I can always find something cheaper online by using a discount code. Discount codes are easy to find and can be found for pretty much any shop online. Sometimes it’s trial and error, but do your homework and find out reliable discount code sources and keep a note of them.
Put money away every month, no matter how big or small – it will soon add up.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could save £500 a year? Well, you could. Put money away every month into a savings account and watch the pile grow. You perhaps wouldn’t notice £30/£40 going out of your bank every month but you’d noticed £500 going out. So save save save and be disciplined, one the pile starts growing it will encourage you to keep going.
Write down all of your direct debits for the month and budget based on your income and outgoings.
I tend to do this every couple of months if things start going up, or if I take on a new direct debit such as a phone contract or gym membership. It lets me know where I am in regards to my income and outgoings and helps me to keep track of my spending. Once all of my direct debits have come out, I know exactly how much I am left with for the month. I will then put money aside for my savings account and then look again at my account to budget myself for the month. Knowing your finances is the key to keeping on top of your spending habits.
I hope this has been helpful. I would love for you to share a money saving tip in the comments section below.