There’s nothing more likely to suck up your money than commencing building work. Whether it’s unforeseen issues or you adding a little bit extra here and there ‘whilst you’re at it’, you can guarantee it’s a bit of a money black hole. So, being deep in the middle of our own work, I know just how hard it is to save funds and make them go that little bit further. Whether it’s to buy a home, save for a holiday or just to store up a rainy day fund, here are my tips for ways to save money and making your money work for you.
We all know how hard it is not to spend money when it’s right in front of us. One of the easiest way to manage this is to remove it from temptation before you really know it’s there. Set up a direct debit for a small amount each month that goes out on or straight after payday. Treat it as you would any other bill, as something that has to be paid. Make it tricky enough to access that you’re unlikely to just dip into it on a day to day basis. This is your rainy day fund, ignore it and let it slowly grow.
Do your research. Using cash back sites like Quidco can really pay off if you’re a frequent online shopper. With offers along the lines of 3-5% off on a vast range of companies, it’s free money. Just go to the site first, select where you want to shop and it tracks the sale using cookies on your computer. Once the purchase is confirmed in the forthcoming weeks, you get your payout. Even if you’re not a big shopper, it’s good practice to shop around for your insurances and utilities, even your Sky bill. IN this last year alone we saved over £300 on our electric, sky, home and car insurances. It quickly adds up!
Credit Where Credit’s Due
There are numerous different credit offers available allowing 0% interest on purchases or bank transfers. We’ve used one of these cards to purchase the interiors for our building work, giving us 20 months to pay it off without additional charges. Instead, I’ll make regular small deposits to pay off the amount over that 20 month period. Providing you’re always accounting for making that final payment, it’s a great way to spread initial outlay. Payday loans and credit cards can get a bad reputation but treated with respect and a proper understanding, they can be a powerful tool to create income quickly and help raise your credit score. Always be aware of the terms of your credit agreement and make sure you can keep up with repayments. Once your agreement is up, review it.
Things get costly when you’re doing them last minute. Take, for example, the weekly food shop. By meal planning and ensuring you’re only buying what you need, you can save significantly on a major weekly expense. We took our average shopping bill from £90+ a week down to less than £50 purely by planning meals more carefully. It’s not only meal planning that can save money, by looking around you can find savings on days out and activities easily, many places sell advance tickets at a lower rate. If you fancy being even more frugal, pack up a picnic and save on the extortionate price of food in many of these places… but feel free to treat yourselves to an ice cream here and there!
Use Voucher Schemes
Many of the big players; Tesco, Boots, Sainsburys, all use points based schemes to entice you and reward you for your shopping loyalty. A huge number of these reward points go unclaimed every year – how crazy is that?! Make sure you keep an eye on what your points mean for you and use them accordingly. For example, a recent trip to the SeaLife Centre would have cost us £47 if we’d bought them on the door. Instead, we used £10 worth of our Tesco vouchers to buy advance tickets – saving us a whopping £37 on a day out! You could even argue they were ‘free’. The general consensus is that you’re better to look at the schemes and use your vouchers to buy other things where possible, using them as cash to do your shopping gets you the worst return but whatever your choice… don’t waste them!
Sell. Sell. Sell.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all got things at home we don’t really use anymore haven’t we? Why not dust them off and sell them on? With an increase in buy and sell groups on Facebook, it’s never been easier to raise some money from your unused items; often people collect them the same day! Whether you’re in to using local groups or going national with eBay, it’s a quick way to get a return and create some space in your home. Key things that sell well are electronic items and baby/child products – you know yourself how quickly children grow. What are you waiting for?!
So there we have it, six easy ways to save money and make your money work for you. What are your top saving tips?