Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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The 7 best ways to start saving money

Each year, 75% of us can expect an unforeseen large expense.

That expense might be a bill, a car MOT or breakdown cost – perhaps something around the house will need replacing. The possibilities are infinite – but sadly, your money is not.

With that in mind, we’ve put together our top 7 ways to start or build your savings – with a few that you’ll find surprisingly easy…

  1. Do you need those channels?!

Modern TV comes in a variety of shapes and packages – and the truth is, very few of us use even 10% of what we have access to.

Your TV costs might be something you don’t really notice each month – £7.99 for Netflix – an extra £8 for some sport on Sky… but it adds up.

Why not do a ‘TV audit’ – note the channels that you actually watch and compare them to the packages that are available to you. What you’re likely to find is that you’re paying £10-£20 extra for channels that you only use once a week.

Weigh up whether it’s worth it – and if you decide to ditch a service or package, set a direct debit up that puts that money into your savings. It might not be much, but an extra £200 or so throughout the year can be enough to take some pressure of when you need it.

  1. Go fixed rate while you can

There are indications that the base rate will see increases as the UK takes further steps toward leaving the EU – so now might be the time to jump on fixed rate mortgages while that rate is still nice and low.

Of course, this isn’t going to put money in your pocket – but if you take advantage now, you might be avoiding a hike in your payment should the base rate increase.

If this does happen, why not start putting the difference you would have been paying into a savings account – that means that your extra funds are accessible in times of emergency, rather than just disappearing into your lender’s coffers…

  1. Set a challenge

You can work out exactly how much you spend on food, drink, leisure and other variable outgoings each month quite easily – especially if you’re happy to scroll back through some online banking screens.

When you’ve got an average figure why not challenge yourself to reduce it by say 20%?

Half the battle with these costs is that we don’t know how much they are – so calculating the actual amount will shock you. A bit of simple budgeting will see you able to work out what a weekly cost should be.

If you’re careful and can save that 20% – why not stash it in a savings account? You’ll quickly see the money go up and it’s unlikely you’ll feel a huge squeeze.

  1. Coupon and save!

Coupons are tricky – there’s a good marketing ploy being used here, but as long as you know about it, you can save yourself some cash.

The ploy is this – coupons get people through the door when they wouldn’t normally. So, you could stay at home and have a normal meal that costs £15 in ingredients – but hang on a second, you’ve got a coupon for 2-4-1 pizzas at a restaurant here – so why not have a treat.

When the pizza bill comes to £30 you might feel like you’ve had a bargain, but actually, you’ve spent £15 more than you would have done without the coupon – and the restaurant’s got £30 it wouldn’t have got without it.

So, the key is to only use coupons on things you would be buying anyway. It takes a bit of will-power not to cave in to the lovely offers, but you’ll be rewarded when you look at your savings balance.

  1. Sell your old stuff

It used to be that using sites like eBay represented a bit of a challenge – especially if it was someone in Finland that ended up buying your fish tank.

But now, we’ve got local selling groups as far as the eye can see on social media. Sign up, take some quick snaps of your stuff, stick a price on it – and you’ll virtually always have it sold quick-sharp.

Don’t assume people don’t want your stuff. Even if it’s a bit beaten or bruised, there’s likely to be someone who’s got little or no money starting out in their own place.

Perhaps you’ll make a fortune, perhaps you’ll only make a few pounds – either way, stick that money in a savings account and it’s 100% profit vs. giving it away or throwing it in the tip.

  1. Buy people’s old stuff

On the flip side of tip number 5 – if you’re in the market for something that would have a hefty price tag – why not consider looking for it pre-owned?

Selling sites have everything from designer dresses to power tools that can be bought at a fraction of the original price. You might save yourself a couple of pounds on a kitchen utensil – or hundreds of pounds on a big piece of furniture – so why not put away anything that you do save, you can keep it for a luxury item further down the line, or just as a buffer zone in more lean times?

  1. Assess your debt

Although there have been some regulation changes in the past few years, there’s still a chance that you’re not handling your debt in the most money efficient way.

Think about a credit card. You might think that paying back a minimum amount is the most frugal move, but in reality, it’s highly likely you’re costing yourself more money in the long term.

Talk to the people you owe money to, it might be that upping your repayment slightly now will clear your debt far more quickly – or even reduce the overall amount you’re paying back. Okay, adding a few pounds to what you owe now isn’t going to put money in your savings account – but if you’re clear of niggling debt sooner, the quicker you can start saving for a rainy day.

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