Bills, shopping and that all important mortgage payment can leave little left over for that much needed haircut or new dress you’ve had your eye on. However, with a little research and some good old ‘outside the box’ thinking, we’ve come up with 10 great ways to get your savings back on track.
1) One Bottle for the Entire Household
It seems that every person in the family has their own favourite brand or product. If you have a household with five people and everyone uses a different brand of shampoo, you find yourself buying five different bottles. Try to coordinate with your family members on a preferred brand, or take turns picking the product.
2) Try it Before you use it
It happens to every woman: you run out of concealer and head up to the store to get more. You pick out a shade that looks similar to your previous one. However, you’ve made a mistake. The colour is too light and you’ve just wasted £12. If you sample the item before buying it, you can save yourself an expensive mistake- along with another trip to the beauty counter.
3) Clear your Credit Card Debt
A recent survey showed that most British families owe over £2,000 in credit card bills. And while plastic provides an easy way to purchase everyday goods, not paying off your monthly balance can lead to disaster! If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider a low-cost loan as an alternative. According to This Is Money, a credit card debt (APR 15%) of £2,200 over three years will cost £545 in interest. A loan at 6% will cost £209, making a total saving of £336.
4) Consider Switching Providers
Feeling like you’re being ripped off isn’t pleasant. However, most adults still have to deal with overpriced fuel and land line telephone bills every month. In order to break this vicious cycle, you should seriously consider changing suppliers. The domestic market for fuel and broadband is very competitive and more accessible than ever, thanks to online sign ups.
5) Make a Shopping List
It may seem simple, but you’ll find that the biggest expenditures during your weekly shopping trip are unplanned purchases. Stores spend a small fortune studying ways of making us part with more of our money than we would have otherwise intended to.
Have you ever wondered why your favourite song is playing in the background as you navigate the aisles? Ever seen those irresistibly priced biscuits right in front of your eyes, ready to be bought? Possibly not, but you will have noticed that the bill is often more than expected. To prevent digging into your pocket more than necessary, write a list before leaving the house, stick to it and only buy what you need.
6) Have a Soup Night
For many families, a dinner can easily cost a good £8-£12 per head. On the other hand, most soups can be made for less than £3. That alone can cut an average of £10 off your food budget per week, or £40 over the space of a month. Cooking from scratch can be overwhelming, so allowing one night a week to cook a simple meal, like soup, will help you gain confidence and save valuable time.
7) Make Something Every Week
This is more about getting into the habit of cooking from scratch, but it is also about finding small ways to shave additional costs off your budget. Cupcakes at a coffee shop can be £1.80 apiece. A pack of six at the supermarket (if you’re lucky enough to find a good offer) can cost around £3-£5. However, a batch from nearly any cookbook recipe comes in at less than £4. Use this Candis guide to saving on food to see how much you could save.
All of these steps are useful, but perhaps your most powerful weapon is learning to say “no.” It’s easy to give in to a screaming child in the middle of Toys R’ Us. It’s even easier for “a few drinks” to turn into £40 worth of cocktails. Saying “no” a few times a year will do wonders for your bank account and, in the long run, your own financial happiness.
License: Creative Commons
Bargain lover, Yasmine Gleghorn, fully believes in looking and feeling good for less. When she isn’t roaming Ebay, you can find her making chocolate cupcakes.