15 simple ways to save money – and no, you’re not doing them all!
Even the most thrifty amongst us ‘leak’ money, usually in ways we don’t even notice
So NMTBP is giving you 15 relatively easy ways to save money. As you incorporate more and more of these tips into your life, the savings add up and you may surprise yourself with how much you can save over the course of a year
It will take a little work on your part but those thousands of pounds in savings can help you get out of debt sooner and then build up a nice nest egg for the future
1 – Take your own lunch to work at least a few days a week: Lunch times are great opportunities to network and make connections that could improve your career prospects. So unless there is a common eating area for those who bring lunch in, you can limit bringing in lunch to a couple of days each week. Find a balance between saving some money and making the connection. Take a lunch in 2-3 times a week and eat out the rest of the time
2 – Make a list before going shopping: It’s called impulse buying for a reason. Humans simply have a very tough time resisting the temptation to purchase extras while shopping. Without a list, you’ll buy items that you don’t need. Even worse is when you forget to purchase the item you came to the shop for in the first place! If you plan on cooking at home, pre-plan a rough menu and make a list before you go food shopping. Getting all that you need in one trip can help avoid another unnecessary trip as well as temptation
3 – Go food shopping while you’re in a hurry: Maybe you need to go out in a couple of hours. Or your favourite TV programme is going on in an hour. Try to squeeze in your food shopping trip in that intermediate time. Armed with your grocery list, you should be in and out very quickly with little time for meandering and getting tempted to buy things you don’t need
4 – Buy in bulk whenever possible: When it comes to non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you find something on sale. Items to stock up on include cereals, tinned goods, rice, beans, pasta, water, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, toilet paper etc. For such items, shopping at warehouse stores like Costco can save you quite a bit of money, provided you stick strictly to your shopping list when you shop at these places
5 – Buy generic products whenever possible: Does it really matter whether your cereal is made by Kellogg’s or is the store brand? Does it matter if your washing powder is Persil or the shop brand? For a few things you may well prefer brand name products. For others, you could find that generic store brands are perfectly acceptable and they’ll save you money. Find what works for you and switch to generic brands for at least a part of your shopping list
6 – Consolidate and pay off debt as soon as possible: If you carry any debt, focus on consolidating it to a lower interest and paying it off as soon as possible. Money paid in interest is money thrown away! Why spend your hard-earned cash to make the financial institutions rich?
7 – Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees: Get organized about your regular bills. If possible, automate the payments. Most utilities and other recurring bills can be paid by direct debit or standing order. Also, many banks offer free bill pay programmes. So there really is no excuse for forgetting to pay a bill on time and forking out the late fees. Say, by chance you do forget a bill, if you are a first time offender, call the company and request politely to waive the late fees, and more often than not, they’ll oblige
8 – Be aware of your bank balance and avoid overdraft fees: If you use your current account often or have some bills that are paid automatically from your current account, be aware of the balance and avoid overdraft fees. Most banks now offer free automated text warning systems, so take advantage of these
9 – Disconnect your landline if possible: Unless you have small kids in the house or older people to take care of, it is more than likely that you’ll be able to survive with only mobile phones and can get rid of your landline. You’ll only be able to do this, however, if your Internet and/or Sky/Virgin comes via cable or satellite, though Internet (and TV via the Internet) can come via 3G as well, albeit less reliably
10 – Instead of buying books or audiobooks, borrow them from your local library: Whenever possible, borrow your books instead of buying them. The card to your public library is free and the libraries are generally well stocked. Chains of libraries are usually connected by Council and book availability can be checked online. If there’s a book that you can’t find in your local library, you can make a request online for it to be brought in from one of the other branches
11 – Price check before buying anything expensive: For other items that are expensive, do a price check on a comparison website before buying. Better still, if you can wait for a while you can track the prices and grab a great deal when it comes along. Frequently available online coupons make it even easier to save some money, especially when purchasing any electronics
12 – Keep your car as long as possible: When possible, try to keep your car as long as possible. Find the balance between the money spent on repairs versus the monthly installment on another vehicle and choose to run your old car as long as the repair costs are lower
13 – Do regular scheduled maintenance on your vehicles: Don’t skimp on scheduled maintenance or forget to do regular oil changes. Remember to check the air in your tyres often. And use the grade of fuel that the owner’s manual recommends. These small acts can significantly lengthen the life of your car, giving you years of additional use
14 – Avoid buying a new car: When you eventually buy a car, see if you can make do with a pre-owned vehicle. A new car depreciates significantly the moment you drive it out of the dealership. Is the new car smell really worth thousands of pounds? Pre-owned cars that are only a few years old with low mileage are the best bargains. Regardless of the purchase, always negotiate with car salesmen
15 – Plan holidays ahead of time: Holidays are a necessary part of saving our sanity in the busy lives that we lead, but they’re also a huge drain on your family finances. You can cut the cost of a holiday significantly by planning and booking well ahead of time. Bookmark travel sites for finding inexpensive airfare, hotel etc., and book at least three months in advance
These tips actually barely scratch the surface when it comes to ways to save money. Make it a sub-conscious habit to save money in things that you do every day, even if it’s a few pounds. All that money saved can add up significantly and you can save it or spend it on things that really matter!
NMTBP is not saying that you should follow all these tips. Trying to be too frugal can make both you and the people around you very miserable. So, pick out a few tips at a time that will work for you and make them a habit, before deciding if you can incorporate more money saving habits in your daily routine