Most of us seem to be in the same boat – money is tight, and once we have paid the bills and bought the shopping there is seldom much left at the end of it to set aside for a rainy day. But with a bit of imagination it is surprising how much we can save from our everyday budgets. Here are just a few ideas:
- Use vouchers
There are so many resources on the web these days which allow you to access and print off discount vouchers – for supermarkets, coffee shops, restaurants, theme parks etc. – that to pay full price in almost any of these places is an unnecessary extravagance. Create a dedicated e-mail address (some of these sites will send you promotional material and/or pass your address on to others and nobody wants their inbox filled with spam), research them via Google to ensure that they are genuine, and print off the coupons. Only use them to visit those places you were planning to use anyway, otherwise it’s a false economy. Work out how much you’ve saved and put it into your piggy bank.
- Sign up to loyalty schemes
Most major stores operate them, so if there are discounts to be had then use them. But be careful not to allow them to influence your shopping habits. If you don’t need something and wouldn’t otherwise have bought it you are not saving money by buying it because it’s cheap!
- Save on bills
Always negotiate the best deal possible on car insurance, broadband, your mobile and so on. Never just accept the first price you are offered and be prepared to shop around, if needs be moving to a new supplier who is prepared to offer you a reduction (but be sure to
read the small print first!).
- Save energy
Insulate your home to reduce heating bills and invest in energy-saving light bulbs – they will save you a lot of money over time as well as being good for the environment.
- Sell unwanted items
Most people would be surprised by what value there is in the items sitting dormant in their sheds and attics. If you think something you don’t need has any kind of value then sell it – at a car boot sale, on eBay or via your local community forum. You will raise useful funds as well as clearing out some space in the home. If they are in reasonable condition sell any unwanted second-hand books through Amazon or suchlike.
- Reclaim Tax
Are you sure you are taking full advantage of all the tax breaks that are legally open to you? Did you know that if your spouse is earning below the tax threshold the difference can be offset against your own tax liability? Check and make sure that you are not paying more tax than you need to, don’t depend on the tax people to automatically notify you.
- Take your lunch to work
Why work if you are going to spend what you earn in the café or pub during your lunch break? Make a packed lunch and take it with you instead.
- Avoid credit charges
If you have credit cards make sure you pay them off in full each month before they incur charges. Also, where at all possible take care to avoid buying items on hire purchase if they are going to clock up additional costs as a result. The lenders are rich enough already, why give them your hard-earned too?
- Make extra money
The internet has brought with it all manner of possibilities – blogging, affiliate schemes, drop shipping, self-publishing, market research (very well paid!) and completing online surveys. Add to your income and save the extra towards ensuring your child’s future.