It’s always important to know how to save money – but never more so than in these challenging economic times. There are plenty of simple ways to save on living costs, so don’t allow a feeling of hopelessness to envelop you.
While it might feel harder than ever to set money aside at present, check out our easy money saving tips that can help you to cut down on spending without too much effort.
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1. Mend damaged clothes
Basic sewing requires only a few items such as needles, thread, straight pins, a pair of scissors and maybe some buttons. Mending garments, instead of buying new ones, can save a lot of money – and it’s not hard to sew a seam or a pocket!
You may have a few sewing skills from school that will come back to you with practice. You could even invest in a second-hand sewing machine. It’s possible to pick one up relatively cheaply on auction sites such as eBay. This makes hemming trousers or skirts easy and less time consuming.
2. Cooler machine washes
Setting your washing machine to a lower temperature is good for the planet, as well as your budget. If you reduce the temperature from 40°C to 20°C, it could save you a massive 62% on running costs.
Check the garments’ labels carefully to make sure you’re washing them at the correct temperature, as you may have your washing machine set at too high a temperature without even realising it.
3. Buy own brand products
Never dismiss supermarket own brands, as the products can be just as good as their branded counterparts. Avoiding big names doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste – and it can save you a fortune.
Most supermarkets do a “budget” range that’s cheaper than their regular products and you can make significant savings. The consumer magazine, Which, has done plenty of taste tests and has found some own-brand products such as crisps, oven chips and mayonnaise actually taste better than their big brand rivals.
4. Avoid BOGOF deals
When retailers offer BOGOF deals, you may think you’re making big savings, but it can have the opposite effect. We’ve all walked into the supermarket and seen what appears to be a great money-saver.
However, according to the experts, the average UK resident spends £1,300 more every year on BOGOF deals that they don’t need. This then contributes to food waste, as the extra items often go out-of-date before we’ve had time to eat them.
5. Don’t overheat unused rooms
With the current energy price crisis, save money by turning down the radiators in rooms you don’t use. You don’t need to turn off the central heating altogether. By having it lower in the spare room, you can use it at a higher temperature in your main living area.
You can also fit reflective tinfoil behind the radiators on external walls to help reduce the amount of heat loss in the rooms.
6. Check your bank statements
Evaluate your spending habits to see if you’re paying for anything you don’t need. Go through your bank statements and make sure no direct debits or regular card payments are being taken out for things you don’t use any more.
You may discover services that you’ve forgotten about and no longer use, such as old subscriptions for Netflix or Amazon Prime that you may have taken out during the pandemic.
7. Shop around for car insurance
Check your motor insurance policy and make sure you’re on the best deal. If you’ve been with the same insurer for years and simply renew the policy annually, you might not take much notice of any price increases.
Shop around on comparison sites such as Compare the Market and Go Compare to see if you can find a better deal. If your policy isn’t up for renewal yet, check with your existing insurer whether there’s a financial penalty if you cancel early.
8. Manage appliances and gadgets
Instead of leaving your phone on charge overnight, charge it for a couple of hours before bedtime instead. Then unplug it, so you’re not wasting electricity. According to the Energy Saving Trust, this can save you around £30 a year.
Don’t leave appliances on standby when not in use. Turn them off at the socket. Make sure your freezer is regularly defrosted. Leaving it with ice thicker than 3cm deep is costing you more in energy to keep your food frozen.
9. Use online auction sites
Sign up for sites such as eBay, where you can sell any items that you don’t use. If you have clothing, shoes, household appliances, old exercise equipment or just about anything else that’s simply gathering dust around the house, sell it.
You can also buy items much more cheaply. Some of the items are new, as they are unwanted gifts, or clothing items that were never worn after purchase. You can pick up some real bargains if you have the patience to look.
10. Consolidate debts
If you have credit card debts, devise a strategy to get rid of them. While it’s unlikely you’ll have a lump sum to pay off, try transferring the balance to a 0% interest credit card to save money in the long term.
If you have an emergency, it can still be tough to find the money, no matter how strictly you budget. If you don’t have savings to dip into, a logbook loan, secured on your vehicle, can help to fund an unexpected expense, like an appliance breaking down. You can carry on driving your vehicle while you pay off the loan.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk.