Saving money doesn't have to be stressful. In fact, here are ten simple things you can do in your everyday life that will help you put away a few extra pennies and build better financial habits.
1. Bring your own packed lunch to work
Buying your own food and bringing it in to work will be much cheaper than buying lunch out or at the staff canteen every day. Not only that, but it’s is better for your health to eat food you have freshly prepared yourself. If you buy your own food you can regulate what you are eating, and make sure you have a balanced diet. You know exactly what’s going in to each serving.
2. Cook in bulk
If you cook in bulk you can save a lot of money on food.
By making a huge pot of something such as curry or stew, you can then use it again for dinners the rest of the week, prep it for work lunches, or even freeze it to eat it at a later date (such as the weekend before payday).
3. Ask yourself the 5 second finance questions
Before you buy anything run through this list of quick easy questions in your head, they should take no longer than 5 seconds each to answer. It will help you figure out if you really need what you're about to buy and whether it's worth the money.
4. Do your food shop online
The biggest issue with food shopping is that when you go to the store you are more likely to impulse buy. The best way to avoid this is to make a comprehensive list of what you need to buy and then do it all online.
This means you aren’t lured by things that you see on the shelves, and the offers are easier to see. The basket also keeps a running tally of exactly how much you are spending as you go along, this means that you can stop when you reach your limit, or readjust your priorities so that your shopping always comes in on budget.
5. Switch accounts to get the best deal
Shockingly, Brits are more likely to stay with their bank than they are with their partner. However, by taking the plunge and switching banks, you may make some great savings. Many banks will offer great new deals or discounts in order to entice new customers.
Always be on the look out for new and better offers. Sometimes, in order to keep you on board your current provider will even be willing to match competitor offers.
6. Walk when you can
Walking is free, transport is not.
The easiest way to implement this is to start walking on a daily basis. Not everyone can walk to work, but maybe you could pay a cheaper train or bus fare by getting off a stop or two earlier, and then walking the rest of the way.
7. Drive sensibly
Driving between 55-60mhp is more fuel-efficient than going at the 70mph speed limit. If you can’t keep to that speed then definitely stick to the speed limit, because driving at 70mph is 25% more efficient than driving at 80mph.
Also, maintaining a steady speed is more efficient than constantly speeding up and slowing down.
8. Dump channels you don't watch
If you don’t watch them, then ditch them. Many providers are happy to create bespoke bundles. Even better, ditch pay TV entirely. It’s expensive, and you can always find cheaper streaming options online.
9. Pay off your credit card in full each month
If you can, always try to pay your whole credit card debt off each month. This means you will not have to pay the company extra in interest payments. It will also stop the debt mounting up and spiralling into unmanageable amounts.
10. Plan out your year ahead in presents
If you see something nice on sale in June then buy it and store it, and give it as a gift at Christmas. By spreading the spending you don’t use up a huge part of your paycheque in one go, which, in turn, forces you into spending on your credit card. This is especially good advice in relation to events like Christmas, where you usually need to buy more than one present.