25 Easy Ways to Save Money

Written by Karen Bryan

Here are the tips on 25 easy ways to save money. Follow most of them and you could potentially save thousands of pounds per year.

 

pink piggy bank

  1. Draw up a realistic budget. You need to know exactly how much money is coming in and your current spending.
  2. Stick to your budget. I don’t necessarily mean by accounting for every penny, just checking that total spending for the month falls within the monthly budget. Don’t be tempted to overspend, as it’s easy to get into debt.
  3. Get a cashback credit card. The Santander 123 Credit Card pays 3% cashback on petrol/diesel and Transport for London and national rail travel purchases (up to a £300 spend per month), 2% on department store purchases and 1% on supermarket shopping. There is an annual fee of £24, but this is refunded for the first year if you hold a Santander 123 Current Account. If you spend £300 a month on a mix of fuel and transport, you could cover the annual fee within three months.
  4. Think before you buy. Do you need this product or service, will you use it and/or will it add value to your life. Then search for the lowest possible price.
  5. If you opt for a 0% on balance transfers or new purchases credit card, make sure that you set aside money every month to pay off the full balance before the end of the promotional period. Put this cash into a high interest account.
  6. Use cashback sites for shopping for products and services. I use TopCashBack.co.uk but do take heed of my tips for using cashback sites. As examples, I’ve earned £42 for opening a Co-operative Bank Current Account and £47.50 for successfully applying for a Post Office 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card.
  7. Turn down your thermostat by one or two degrees and wear thicker clothes.
  8. Check out sites such as Approved Food and Food Bargains for low prices on food which is near or past its Best Before date.
  9. Put your savings into tax-free Cash ISA accounts instead of standard savings accounts. With the annual allowance now at £15,240, you can build up a sizeable tax-free pot over the years. As some current accounts pay a much higher rate of interest than Cash ISAs, you could keep your cash in one of these current accounts until the end of March, only putting the money into a Cash ISA before the end of the tax year on 5 April.
  10. Keep your old mobile for longer and buy a SIM card when your contract expires. Giffgaff have some good deals; a £12 goodybag gives you 500 UK minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data. Click here to order your free giffgaff SIM card and get an extra £5 credit when you activate and top-up your sim card.
  11. Open a current account which gives you some free perks, e.g. the Halifax Reward Current Account regularly offers a £125 switching incentive and £5 a month bonus if you pay into it at least £750 a month and pay out two direct debits a month.
  12. Keep a note of when bonuses on your savings accounts end. A couple of  weeks before the bonus expiry, search for the best interest rates so that you’re ready to move your money.
  13. Use price comparison sites to find the best deal for car and home insurance, mortgages, broadband, mobile phones and household fuel. However, do take into account factors such as the amount of the excess and level of cover.
  14. If you’re happy with your current supplier, contact them to ask them for a better deal before you switch. Direct Line matched the home insurance quote I got from Churchill, but the Direct Line cover was better, as it included free annual travel insurance.
  15. Change your driving style. Don’t accelerate too much, use the gears to drop speed as you approach a junction instead of braking hard and stick to speed limits.
  16. Keep your current car as long as possible. We decided to trade-in our 9-year-old Skoda Fabia when it needed some expensive work done on the brakes. At that time, Skoda were running a Zero VAT offer, reducing the price of a replacement.
  17. Don’t buy higher price trendy brand name items. I have a Samsung laptop, netbook and mobile phone. They may not have the cool image of Apple products, but they do the job well and cost a lot less.
  18. Check if there are any valid voucher codes when shopping, e.g. I got another 5% off the price of my camera with a voucher.
  19. Keep a £100 buffer in your current account, to avoid accidentally going overdrawn.
  20. Build up an emergency fund, so that you don’t have to borrow money or max out your credit card if you need to repair or replace something.
  21. Use loyalty cards when you’re shopping. Although the returns can be pretty low, e.g. the Tesco Clubcard gives you 1 point for every £1 spent in the store, it’s still something back on spending that you’d do anyway.
  22. Cut your own hair; this could save you hundreds of pounds a year at the hairdresser.
  23. Before you dial any numbers that start with numbers like 0844, 0845, 0870, see if you can find an alternative cheaper geographical number to dial on the SayNoto0870.com site.
  24. Don’t fall into the spend money to save money trap. It may seem like a no-brainer to snap up a bargain, but you’d save more money by not making the purchase.
  25. Try to focus on things that will save you the most money. For example, setting aside a few hours to find the best mortgage rate, which could save you thousands of pounds, versus spending time running around three different supermarkets to save a few pennies.

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