A little bit of extra money can always come in handy. Making our pounds stretch further can help us achieve our money goals, whether we want to clear our debts or build up our savings. Below are some ideas to get you started on your savings journey.
Meal planning is an excellent way to ensure you only buy what you need and reduce food waste. It means only the necessary ingredients make your shopping list and you are fully utilising what you have in your cupboards before you shop.
To help you only buy what you need, it’s worth checking the cupboards, fridge and freezer before you write your shopping list. Decanting items into jars and clearly labelled containers is a trick we have used in our kitchen to help us clearly see when supplies of key ingredients are running low.
If you plan for every meal, you will use up the food you have bought and there will be no unused food at the end of the week. Money won’t be thrown away on the food that isn’t used and goes out of date and less food going in the bin means less waste going to landfill.
Keep a Spending Log and Budget
If you get to the end of the month and you’re wondering where your money has gone yet again and why you have no budget left, I would recommend keeping a record of what you spend your money on for a month. Start at the beginning of the month and write down when you buy something, what you bought and how much you spent. By the end of the month, a picture will begin to emerge of where your money really goes.
Sometimes you might see some spending habits that surprise you. Are there certain shops that appear regularly on your spending list? Do you have a big blowout just after payday and then have little left for the rest of the month? Are there things that you have bought that you don’t need or have been wasted?
If you know what is really happening with your money you can decide on what you want your money goals to be and you can plan a realistic budget, including bills, regular expenses, sinking funds and savings. Having a realistic budget will be easier to keep and then you can make sure your money goes where you really want it to.
Be mindful of turning off electrical appliances when you are not using them from the television on standby, the radio playing in an empty room to the lights left on when no one is there. Smart meters supplied by a lot of energy suppliers are a great way to see how much electricity different appliances use. If it’s a sunny day hang your washing on the line instead of putting it in the tumble dryer.
If you are cooking dinner and the oven is on and you have a spare shelf make the most of it and use it to cook something else that could be saved and reheated for another meal. This is a great way of batch cooking your meals, so you have more than one meal in the oven at one time and it makes your meals later in the week easier as you just have to reheat.
When it comes to buying new appliances, selecting energy-efficient models and using items such as energy-efficient lightbulbs can also make a positive effect on our electricity bills.
Stay Away From Temptation
If you have certain shops on the high street or online that tempt you to spend on things that you don’t need and don’t want long term, try giving yourself a little detox. Give yourself a set period of time in which you don’t go to that particular shop or delete the shopping apps off your phone.
Likewise, if there are certain influencers that you follow on social media that you find frequently tempt you with shopping hauls and deals, try unfollowing them for a little while and see how you feel.
You could try a little mantra to say to yourself whenever you feel the urge to buy something that’s not in your budget. Something I often say to myself is ‘I have everything I need.’
If the need to buy something is really great, give yourself 24 hours before you make the purchase. Make a mental note, or use notes or photos on your phone of the item instead of buying it. If you still want the item after that period of time then you know it’s a real want, if you have the funds then go for it.
If you don’t have the funds you can now make a plan to buy it by adding it to your budget. It is useful to have a section of your budget for fun money so you can still have the option of buying some things that you want when they come up.
Use Buying and Selling Apps
Use apps such as eBay, Vinted, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace to sell your unused items and to buy things you need. There is an increasing number of apps these days that allow you to sell your unwanted possessions and buy good quality second-hand items too. I have found that furniture, children’s toys and children’s clothes in good condition sell particularly well and the money raised can go to your future needs.
If postage puts you off selling your items, you can arrange for collection only or you can look at delivery companies such as Hermes or Dpd that will come and collect your item from your house and deliver it for you.
Using these apps to buy things, is a great way to save you money as there are huge discounts to be had for the savvy shopper and people are selling all sorts of items online. Decide on the price you would be willing to pay for a good quality second-hand item, look at photos and read sellers descriptions carefully so you know what you’ll be getting before you part with your money. If you go to collect an item, ask to have a look at it so you can get an idea of the condition before you buy.
Many people are decluttering their homes all the time and they want a quick and easy sale to help them do this. It means there are more bargains to be had than ever before but remember just buy what you need.
Keep and Scan Receipts
Have a try using your receipts to earn points that translate into vouchers for your future spending. Apps such as Shoppix, Zipzero, Receipt Hog, HuYu and Snap my Eats are just some of the apps I have tried.
After a shopping trip keep your receipts to scan and upload into the apps. Points are given for each receipt you upload and points are accrued and exchanged for vouchers or money off your phone bill in the case of Zipzero. Some apps take longer to reach the stage of giving out vouchers than others,
Shoppix, Zipzero and Snap my Eats are the most useful ones I have found and I reached the payout milestones quicker than others. For the small effort of scanning your receipt, points can add up and over the year the cash you can get back can be a useful addition to your budget.
Use Cashback Websites
Make the most of cashback websites for your online shopping or even shopping on the high street. Websites such as Topcashback or Quidco or even some banks offer cash back for certain shops. Simply log in to your chosen cashback website or bank and click on the link to your online shop.
There are many shops, restaurants, takeaways, holiday companies and so on to pick from. You can get a percentage of cashback from the money you spend. If you do this for every online shop, over the year those small percentages of cashback can quickly add up. The amounts can be converted into vouchers for your favourite shops, quite often with a small bonus or you can get a withdrawal to your bank account.
One downside of this can be that the cashback may not be tracked or it can be declined. So it is good to view cashback as a bonus rather than a guaranteed return, but overall the payments I have received have far outweighed the cashback that has not been paid. All in all, it is extra pennies back for your budget, which has to be a good thing. What to find out more? Read Mrs Money Pot’s The Virtues of Cashback Sites.
The more tips we try the quicker we can start to make those all-important savings. Repetition creates good habits and we set a good example for our children to learn from. What money-saving tricks have you tried? Did they help you to achieve your savings goals? Happy saving everybody!