Are you always trying to figure out ways to spend less money?
Yes. Trying to cut bills? It can feel like a constant exhausting, uphill battle. You work and work, cut corners, have #Nospendmonths and tighten the purse strings but a couple of binge takeaways later and your wallet is shouting at you. Family life, buying a house, attempting to plan a wedding, the arrival of baby Norah all these means funds are tight. I tend to get frustrated and wonder with so many outgoings will small savings here and there actually make any difference.
Will it really make a difference?
Steps like setting a budget and meal planning are important to being financially savvy. As is being thorough and doing a 10-minute benefit check. But what can you do about those outgoings that you can’t avoid each month? Regular bills might seem small and insignificant on their own, BUT their cumulative effect can be a big drain on bank accounts. Check out our easy and doable tips for how to save money each month. A couple of phone calls really can make a difference when looking at your regular spending. Here is how we saved money in 45 minutes.
How to Save Money Each Month
Start by looking to reduce your utility bills and other recurring monthly bills, be sensible with your spending and make money where you can.
#Change your bank and earn up to £200.
Twenty years I was with the same bank. Had the same pin number. Many people think loyalty pays, but I had fallen in the trap of feeling ‘safe’ and got financially lazy. Don’t be put off by thinking it will be stressful as most bank accounts have a switching service to make the process easier. The most popular reason to switch bank is to get higher interest, to boost savings. With all the choice, how do you know which is the best option? Do your research and pick what is best for your personal money needs whether it be a reward account, interest free overdraft, or good customer service. Cashback can be a great addition to your income and the Nationwide refer a friend incentive meant that this month my bank account had an extra £100 in as did my partners. That’s £195 saved this month (minus the £5 parking to spend 15 minutes switching at the bank where they give you free coffee!)
#Buy smart online.
For one month try using Quidco or Topcashback on every online purchase, however small. I made £2.68 this way over the last 28 days. Penny pinching may not be for you but over the course of the year that is £20 odd. Before you buy something search for a promo code using sites like Vouchercodes as even a 10% discount saves money. Who doesn’t want to be rewarded for their everyday purchases? Normally I shop in store but even when buying groceries why not make use of new customer deals such as Sainsburys deal when you get £18 off £60. That’s £17 saved for us this month (minus the £1 green delivery fee). Mysupermarket.co.uk also compares the prices of individual items at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Waitrose, Asda and Aldi.
#Review your entertainment packages.
Do you need everything you are paying for? Often people fall into paying for Amazon Prime, Now TV, Netflix and Tv licenses. To cut your bills pick one and alternative every few months if there are shows in each you enjoy. Cancel unneeded subscriptions. I didn’t realise I was paying for Kindle Unlimited £7.99 per month and iTunes were taking £1 a month for I still don’t know what. That’s a £9 a month saving. There are apps to help with this now. TrueBill can review your purchase history and look for unused subscriptions and other recurring charges, and help you cancel them. Undeniably useful.
#Calculate your utilities.
First, get practical with your savings. Use LED lights, install a smart meter, lower your hot water, fix dripping taps, install a slow flow shower head, get a water meter etc. We originally didn’t have one and the quarterly bill was £400 calculated with the house size and occupants. We got a meter and the bills come to about £150. It saves about £100 a month. And, we could still do more bath/shower switches.
Avoid vampire drain and unplug things as appliances still use energy even when turned off.
Join Martin Lewis’s new customer deals, which tracks your tariff and sends you an alert when you should switch. Use an account like Uswitch to search for better deals or call your current provider and see what you can negotiate. Gas, electric and broadband deals, research it all. Be thorough as cheap broadband rates may be offset by high phone line rental. Vodafone are currently offering superfast broadband but calls are 11.50 a minute. Check signal strengths but don’t be afraid to try different companies. I am tempted by John Lewis offering a year contract £20 unlimited broadband, evenings and weekends included with a £30 gift card and no setup FEE. That’s £2 cheaper than my current Sky deal. Be careful to look at the hidden costs, companies may have the best annual price, but huge admin fees.
#Pick up the phone.
There’s fierce competition in the mobile marketplace so make use of it. If your handset is decent then consider choosing a Sim only deal. We have had one the past two years. You get a LOT more for your money. Mobile tariffs are coming down in price, so if anything, you should be paying less each year, not more. Add a spending cap which means you won’t be able to exceed data limits, so you can avoid any unexpected bills, it saved me £7 this month! Watch out for those mid contract price rises and never accept the renewal price with the same company.
Taking a day to cut your bills, with small steps like these, may be tedious. I avoided it for months, but you won’t get a money makeover overnight. It took me 45 minutes to make the calls and use the websites to save £330.68.