With the new year well and truly upon us, you should already be making good of those resolutions you promised yourself on 1 January. Maybe you’re making this year the one where you give up smoking or become more active? For many, saving cash is likely to be the main driving force for the months ahead. So, with everything seemingly getting more expensive, how can you save cash in 2018? Here are seven ways you might want to think about introducing into your life.
The non-essential bills
One way to save some cash is to take a long hard look at how much you spend on bills and other commitments every month. Yes, there are the essential ones, like the utilities, water, gas, electric and so on, but how about the monthly gym membership you never use? Or the super-fantastic cable or satellite TV package that you never use. If your contracts are coming up for renewal, or you can get out of them without being heavily hit in the pocket, then think about giving them up. They could save you a small fortune each month and, over the course of the year, your bank account could be looking a lot healthier!
Essential bills: shop around
Once you’ve done away with the non-essential bills, take a look at the essential ones if you’re looking to save even more money each month. Have a look, for example, at offers to switch energy providers – could changing your supplier save you money each month? Dig out all of your regular payments for things like car and house insurance. Are you paying more than you should be? Could you get a better deal elsewhere? You should also have a look at the best term life insurance rates.
Cut your credit costs
When was the last time you went through your credit card or loan statements? How much are you paying each month in interest? Could you be saving some cash if you switched your credit card to a zero percent finance deal for example? And, if you have many credit commitments, you could also look at consolidating your debts into one cheaper, monthly payment. However, be warned, while it may lower your monthly outgoings, it could cost you more in the long-term.
Most people lead busy lives these days, with not much of a regular routine. For many, long gone are the days of always being home at 5 p.m. to cook a homemade dinner. However, not having much time on your hands, doesn’t mean that you always have to buy expensive convenience foods to fill your belly and those of your family.
With a little bit of planning, looking at the week ahead, you can bookmark meals for certain days. By planning meals, you can then make a succinct list to take to the grocery store, so you only buy what you really need to. The danger of going to the supermarket without a list is that you end up throwing lots of things into your basket and arriving home with very few complete meals. You may also run the risk of grabbing more convenience foods.
Another way to save money on your grocery bill is to buy food, drink, and other household items in bulk. Think about what you need, and how long you need it for. It’s probably going to be cheaper to buy a packet of 50 toilet rolls, than 25 packets of two. If you are bulk buying, think about visiting a wholesale store, where you can get more of a discount.
The bulk part shouldn’t end with the shopping. You can also cook batches of your favorite meals to save some cash. For example, if you are making a vegetable curry one night, why not increase the ingredients and make enough to chill in the fridge or keep in the freezer for another day. This not only saves on food waste, but it can also save your time and cut a bit off your weekly grocery tab.
We all need to buy new clothes now and then, whether it’s work, for going out, to keep dry, to keep warm, to enjoy the sunshine. However, buying new clothes doesn’t mean that you have to splash the cash on expensive designer goods. Try and avoid the really expensive shops and head for the cheaper stores, to pick up a bargain.
If you really do like your designer brands, then head to some of your local charity shops, they sometimes have some of the big names on their racks, for a fraction of the price. Also, shop around online and across social media, as sometimes you can pick up some bargains, taking advantage of lower prices and special web promotions and incentives.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, most of us are guilty of spending cash on dining out, especially because it’s easier than having to buy groceries and prepare a meal at home. However, even if you only buy lunch out each day, it can end up costing you a small fortune over the course of a month. Keep the receipts and add them up, you’ll soon realize.
So, if you’re looking to save some money, then think about taking a packed lunch to work more often. It doesn’t mean you have to eat it at your desk or in the staff room, why not take it to the park if the weather is nice?
When it comes to dinner, try not to eat out too often, and don’t go for the really pricey restaurants in town. Have a look online for special discount vouchers for restaurants; sometimes you can find a good deal, particularly if you’re eating out during the weekdays.
Set a budget
As you make cuts across your life to save money, you need to back it up with a budget plan, so that you keep up your efforts and know how well you’re doing. Sit down and draw up a list of your expenses and keep a record of what you spend. You’ll be saving money in no time!