How Can I Save Money Day-to-Day?
Unless you’re in the fortunate position that money is no object, it’s fair to say that most of us would like to find ways to save money in our day-to-day lives. There is a myriad of ideas and suggestions on this topic out there, and a quick internet search will come up with all kinds of weird and wonderful suggestions.
In this guide, we’re focussing on some quick wins for reducing common costs and leaving more disposable cash in your pocket.
Move Debt to an Interest-Free Credit Card
If you have debts on credit cards, store cards and overdrafts that you are paying interest on, moving them to a new credit card offering a 0% promotional rate could save you a fortune. Use comparison sites to find the best deal available, making sure you factor in the transfer fee (usually between 1% and 3% and added to the balance on your new card).
If you’re wanting to transfer an overdraft debt, you’ll need to look for a 0% credit card that will allow you to transfer cash into a bank account.
Get a Smart Metre
If you have a smart metre installed at your home it will not only automatically provide real-time metre readings to your supplier (therefore eliminating estimated bills), it will give you information about your energy usage. You will have an in-home display unit that will detail your energy usage by hour, day, week and month in real pounds and pence, so you can identify where you are able to reduce your consumption and in turn reduce your bills.
Track Your Spending
Keeping a detailed log of your spending for a week can be an eye-opening exercise. Most of us budget for and track regular bills and outgoings, but we often lose sight of ad-hoc, impulse or non-essential purchases. Grab a notebook and write down everything you spend money on for an entire week – even down to a packet of chewing gum. You’ll quickly see where you can claw back some money.
Switch it Up
Take stock of all the utilities and service providers you’re using – could you save money by moving your business elsewhere? Using an online comparison service allows you to compare prices for a range of energy, personal finance, insurance and communications services. You’ll be able to identify whether you can save money by changing to a better deal and if that’s the case, switch! It’s usually a very straightforward process and the suppliers in question do most of the hard work for you.
Eat Out Less
This sounds obvious – if you’re trying to save money, don’t visit restaurants and cafes too often. But making sure you include the less obvious things in this economy drive can make a really big difference: takeaways, ready meals, prepared sandwiches and grab-and-go coffees all add up and there are simple ways to avoid them. Take a packed lunch to work, even using leftovers from last night’s dinner to reheat if facilities are available (this will reduce your food waste too!). Invest in a reusable coffee cup and fill it up before you leave home, and do the same with a water bottle so you’re not paying over the odds for bottled water.
Meal planning when you organise your weekly shop can also really help, especially if you make big batches of meals like pasta sauce, chilli con carne and other things that freeze well. Doing this means you’ve got a freezer full of tasty home-cooked meals to fall back on when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook, so you’re less likely to reach for the takeaway menu.
If you’re a smoker, you’ll be fully aware of the health benefits of giving up, but have you thought of the financial gain you could make? Cutting out cigarettes will obviously save you money each week, but it can also have a knock-on effect on other outgoings, too. For example, if you are paying for insurance products such as life insurance or income protection, your premiums could go down if you kick the habit.
Of course, this guide only scratches the surface of the ways you can save money through simple changes in everyday life. It’s all about sense checking where your money is going and asking yourself a couple of important questions:
- Is this spend is essential?
- Can I save money on this purchase?