Whether it be a response to overspending at Christmas or a new year’s resolution to be more frugal, January is often a time people attempt to save money. Saving money needn’t be an extreme compromise on your regular lifestyle and doesn’t have to be through measures that won’t have any longevity either. Here are five simple and straightforward ways to save money while applying some common sense to your finances.
Reduce your day-to-day expenses while at work
Buying lunch at work is a huge expense that can add up to a tidy sum each month. Therefore if it’s practical to bring your lunch from home, why not do just that? It might not be possible everyday, but even a few times a week will make a difference.
The most cost effective way of bringing lunch from home is to take leftovers – a spoonful or two of last night’s dinner in some Tupperware means no additional costs for lunch and minimal effort too. For some people that might not be practical if you work outdoors or don’t have anywhere to store and heat your lunch. Although including food to make your lunch in your regular grocery shopping is still likely to save money against buying lunch every day.
Instead of buying soft drinks, drink water from the water cooler too. Refilling a water bottle will quickly save you money against buying soft drinks or even a new bottle of water every day. Not to mention it’s environmentally friendly in reducing waste from plastic bottles and healthy too.
Beat annual transport fare rises
If your transport season ticket fare is going up, buy your new season ticket just before the increase comes into effect. Typically, annual season tickets present the best value but buying an annual season ticket isn’t cheap. Nonetheless, a lot of employers offer interest free season ticket loans. If you can get one before fares go up, that’s a double saving.
Take stock of your finances
If you’re going to attempt to be more prudent, it’s worth examining your finances. For many people, saving isn’t very appealing and for some it just isn’t possible. However, if you can afford to save, setting up a monthly payment to a savings account for an amount you can do without makes sense.
Search for a savings account with the best interest rate and make sure the terms and conditions of any savings account suit you. For example, if you think you might want or need access to the money without any constraints, make sure the savings account has easy access.
Check that any credit cards you have offer a competitive interest rate and make the most of card benefits such as air miles or cashback. Don’t get taken in by only paying the ‘minimum payment’. By only paying the minimum payment, all you’re doing is increasing the interest applicable on your outstanding debt.
If you have a lot of credit card debt or loans, consider consolidating your debt with one loan that has a better rate of interest than the average of what you’re currently paying for everything. It’s usually easier to budget with one payment and to deal with one lender too. Also look for credit cards offering 0% balance transfers as they can give some respite from paying interest on your credit card debt while you clear your balance.
Review your domestic expenditure
It goes without saying but similarly to taking stock of your finances, it’s always a good idea to look at your domestic expenditure to make sure you’re getting the best deals. With a plethora of price comparison websites, there’s no reason to not check if you’re getting the best value deal on your utilities. Don’t be afraid to inquire with service providers either. Many have retention teams that exist essentially to offer customers a better offer to entice them not to leave.
Budget your finances
Again, it’s quite obvious but many people decline to budget their finances. This doesn’t have to be via a detailed spreadsheet tracking income and expenditure. But taking a moment to look at how much you’re spending against how much you earn and considering where most of your expenditure is, can make all the difference to your finances. If you need to save a little extra month, for many people this can be a simple solution.