5 Simple Ways To Save Money Right Now
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Sometimes, you’ve got to start saving some money pretty urgently!
Maybe you need to cut down on your expenses due to a large one suddenly cropping up, or maybe you’ve realised that you are spending too much and need to cut back.
Not to worry, there are lots of small (or even big) ways that you can save some money today that won’t take much effort.
It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and companies are sneaky in that they will gradually increase prices over time, and will also automatically renew things that you buy such as with car insurance when they auto-renew you but the price has gone up dramatically!
What are you planning to do with the money that you have saved? There are lots of great things! Such as:
There are soooo many more things that you could use money that you have saved for – sometimes just having a bit more breathing room in your budget is worth saving a little bit of money for.
I know that personally I like having as much extra cash as possible so that I know my bills are covered, I’ll be ok in an emergency, and I can work towards my goals.
Is it just me that feels as though they are constantly needing to save for something?!
Luckily, I know how to save money without resorting to crazy tactics and living an extreme frugal life (whilst I encourage frugality, extreme frugality is not for me!) – and I’m happy to share all of my tips with you.
Years ago – when I was in a really bad mental place – I cut my expenses down to the bare minimum…and it was horrible. Yes I saved money, but I didn’t have much of an income then (had a baby, couldn’t go out to work), so I had to save as much as I could of a teeny tiny income (and I mean that – it was low hundreds per month).
Therefore anything that I recommend on here, I have personally tried and deem to be worth sharing with you. I may no longer do those things myself, but in terms of what I will share on this article today, I still do all of these.
They may seem simple, but they are definitely effective.
Create a Budget
If you’re looking for someone to help you put a budget together, you’ve come to the right place!
I love a budget, because it helps you be completely in control of your finances. Having a budget does NOT mean you are restricting yourself from doing the things you like – it’s simply a list of the money that you have going in and out each month.
Personal finance is personal – so if you want to keep in your daily Starbucks habit, that’s absolutely fine – all I ask is that you add up how much you are spending and add it into the budget. Oh – you have to be able to afford it as well, mind you!
As mentioned, I recommend making a list of all of your incomings and outgoings. The easiest way to do this is usually to head on over to your internet banking (or paper statement – but online banking is much easier in my opinion) and look at your direct debit/standing order section.
This will show you your fixed outgoings each month – so things that don’t change such as your mortgage/rent, electricity, water bill etc.
Don’t forget your variable expenses though…as this is where the money can start to trickle away from you. This will be things such as petrol, and grocery shopping. You may have many other variable expenses, but food tends to be a biggie for most people. We love our food! And there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you have a plan (more on this further down this article).
Once you know how much your incomings and outgoings are, you will see how much money you have left over at the end of each month. For example, let’s say your incoming is £1000 and your outgoings are £800 – this leaves you with £200 after all of your bills are paid.
You can then allocate this leftover money to your savings – it’s probably wise to have various pots for the different things that you are saving for, such as house deposit, Christmas, sinking funds.
I work from the Zero Sum budgeting method approach, which I highly recommend for being on top of your money and ensuring that you are saving money every month.
Set Yourself a No Spend Challenge
A No Spend challenge is basically where you pledge to not spend any money for a certain amount of time – now that doesn’t mean you refuse to pay your bills, but money that is being spent on unnecessary purchases.
I’m talking about things like when you need to pop to the shops for some milk, but end up buying some bread, some chocolate, a magazine, a cute top for your kid, etc etc…and this can happen to a lot of people every day.
It’s not as scary as it sounds, and you can do it for however long you wish – such as a week, 2 weeks, a month etc. If you are one of the people who are going to the shops daily, it’s probably best if you start small – so I’d suggest doing a No Spend week at first.
That’s not to say that you wouldn’t be able to do longer, it’s just that it will be a bit of a shock to your system and you will need to adjust to the new routine. Anything new that we try will take some time, and it’s not always best to dive right in head first. We want to create habits that will be life long habits, and understanding that not all of your financial habits will change on the first day is important to remember.
It’s up to you to decide what falls under the No Spend category – I’ve personally seen people include things that I don’t think should be included, but it’s a personal choice! Generally, in a No Spend challenge, you will only be spending money on the essentials and those things that you have budgeted specifically for.
If you need to buy something, that’s fine. If it’s a spur of the moment purchase, this is what we are trying to cut out. The point of a No Spend challenge is to save yourself some money, but also become aware of your spending habits. You may find that you are spending when you are bored, or hungry for example (happens to all of us!).
I have written a post all about how to prepare for a No Spend challenge, which will hopefully help you along your way.
Join A Cashback Website
Have you heard of cashback sites*? Whenever I speak to them about people, I’m always surprised that it’s something that a lot of people haven’t heard about, or don’t use.
It’s free money!
There are some things that you can do to get ‘free’ money on things, and this is one of them. It’s incredibly easy to use – just a couple of clicks and you don’t have to do anything else.
On cashback sites they will list the websites that have cashback available and the varying amounts depending on what you are purchasing exactly. For example, there are sites on there such as M&S, BT, TUI, Walt Disney World, Topshop, Etsy, Confused.com, Interflora, Myprotein…pretty much anything you would be paying for online.
All that you need to do is find the cashback rate that you want, and select it. This will take you to the website that you are purchasing from, and you complete your transaction on there like you usually would – the only difference is that because you have clicked through from a cashback site, your purchase will be tracked.
A great cashback site is Quidco*, where you also have the option of adding your bank card, and getting cashback on certain retailers. Examples such as Toby Carvery, Harvester, Miller & Carter, Hawes and Curtis (my boyfriends favourite place to get suits!) etc. Make sure you check the T&C’s on these though as they are all different.
Honestly, this is one of the very best things that you can do for your finances, as boring as it may sound, it will save you a lot of money and prevent a lot of stress.
More money, and less stress? Yes please!
The biggest concerns that I see raised against meal planning is that you can’t think of meal ideas, or you don’t want to plan your life out that much. We can easily solve both of these problems – number 1, we all tend to eat the same kind of meals…sounds boring but have a think about what you eat and you will see what I mean. Number 2, you don’t have to stick to the meal plan. I cannot stress this enough – mix it up, if you don’t fancy one meal one night, swap it for the next night – it’s as simple as that.
Figure out how often you want to meal plan, maybe start with weekly or fortnightly instead of going all in with monthly, but it will depend on how often you do your food shopping.
I personally do my food shopping every 2 weeks, so that’s how I do my meal planning as well. We tend to eat the same kind of meals, e.g. spaghetti bolognese, steak and chips, chilli and rice etc.
I would also suggest that you try and do your meal plan based around perishable items. Which parts of your grocery shopping goes off quicker than the rest?
Write a master list of all of the meals that you eat, and perhaps some new ones that you want to try. If there are things that you usually cook, you will probably know what ingredients you need – but also, if it is a new recipe, you will have the ingredients needed on the recipe. This will show you what you need to buy in order to create your meals.
Insource What You Usually Outsource
What are some things that you usually pay someone else to do, that you could instead do yourself, and save yourself some money?
Now, before you get all concerned that I’m saying you can never pay for someone to do anything for you ever again, this is just to get you thinking and mix things up a little bit. You do not need to do everything that I am suggesting, but if you are saving for something and are feeling really determined about achieving your goal, making some small changes will be worth it for getting you to where you want to be.
It’s surprising how many things we outsource when you sit down and list all of the things we pay other people to do, but there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have busy lives, and if someone can do something better than us, it makes loads of sense to get them to do it for us.
Examples of things that you outsource but could potentially do in house:
- Hair dye (usually best for colours other than blonde)
- Car wash
- Dog walker
- Dog grooming
You don’t need to do everything on yourself though, do you have a partner that could do some of them for you? Some of them you could rope the kids into, such as washing the car – not sure you’d want them doing your waxing though…
Could you do any of these money saving methods? What are you currently saving for?