It is a common regret for many people in the UK, looking back and wishing we’d spent less money on something or other in the previous weeks or months.
Although saving the pennies is something desirable for all of us, wasteful spending is something that still creeps into our lives on a regular basis.
However, with a bit of simple planning and dose of willpower then it is more than possible to make effective changes to your spending habits. Even small alterations will add up over time, giving you the chance to afford the products, nights out or holidays you’d never thought possible otherwise.
As a way to help you to save money, here are just 5 easy ways to help you get going.
Plan an Approach
To begin with, write down your potential earnings for the year and then subtract the necessary daily, monthly and annual outgoings. Evaluate your possible additional spending and look at areas where you can cut costs; this will give you an idea of how much you’ll have spare throughout the year.
Of course, if your budget is putting you in the red then you really need to re-evaluate. The old adage, ‘only spend what you can afford’ springs to mind when it comes to this. Saving requires a degree of self-control so set yourself a target to work towards; this could be a lucrative holiday at the end of the year or a new car.
Big savings can come by cutting back your regular expenditure, even if it’s just by small amounts each week. The weekly shopping trip is a good place to start, especially with supermarkets keeping prices competitive. Make a list and stick to it – try not to be drawn into special offers that actually end up costing you more. Buy foods that are filling and can be stored for a lengthy amount of time such as pasta, rice and frozen goods.
Your mobile phone bill is another considerable expense, an item now considered a necessity for the vast majority of people. However, paying over the odds for a top-of-the-range model is certainly not essential and it is here you can make further savings. Being drawn into expensive and lengthy phone contracts can cost you in the long-run. Consider buying a cheaper handset and using a pay-as-you go service instead.
In all likelihood, the main cost you will incur once a month will be your mortgage payment. With many people struggling to get onto the property ladder, taking out a loan-financed mortgage is becoming the only viable alternative. With thousands of deals to choose from, there are undoubtedly savings to be made out there however. Comparison websites are useful for this whilst gaining professional financial advice can also help out.
Choosing to refinance your mortgage payments may seem complicated but are a relatively easy way to save money. Also, if you can afford to make overpayments for an extended amount of time then your interest rates and final debt will be severely reduced. Although this will cost more in the short-term, the eventual savings can be very lucrative.
Basic living requires us to pay regular utility bills, notably our gas, electricity and water. These costs will most likely take up a fair amount of your yearly outgoings so is worthwhile looking at. Due to a competitive market, there are plenty of energy companies who offer potential savings on your monthly or quarterly bills.
Another way to reduce these costs is to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Make sure your insulation is up to scratch in the loft – this can potentially take hundreds of pounds from your heating bills. In addition, simply turning off electrical items when not in use will also save money somewhat effortlessly.
Perhaps the most obvious way to save money is to simply cut down on the things you don’t need. In a materialistic modern society, it can be easy to be drawn into a world of unnecessary possessions that provide us with a financial headache more than anything else. For clothing items, consider if the designer label will make you feel happier than its more affordable alternative. Likewise when it comes to food shopping, ‘no frills’ items may not have the fancy packaging as branded goods but can be just as tasty and filling.
In fact, doing all your shopping from second-hand or charity shops can unearth some great finds, whilst using a website such as eBay or Amazon can also lead to some great deals. By cutting down on these spending costs, even if they seem like insignificant amounts at the time, can really help you save money in the long run in conjunction with a steady and long-term plan.