To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the £1 coin (which was on 21st April, if you didn’t know), I have been challenged by MoneySupermarket.com to come up with 30 ways to save money. Yes I know these are £2 coins…!
I actually thought that was too difficult so I wasn’t going to do it, but following a little push from a couple of blogger friends over the last couple of days I sat down this evening to see how many I could come up with off the top of my head. It was much easier than I thought. And I guess that is the point. Saving money is actually not very difficult at all, we just need to exercise a little thought and do what we know is common sense.
So here are my 30 simple suggestions. I know most of my ideas don’t necessarily save exactly £1 each, but they all add up… I hope you find them useful.
1. Drink water from the tap rather than buying bottled. Buy yourself a reusable water bottle – it’ll pay for itself in no time at all and then you can refill over and over again knowing you’re saving a few pennies each time. Get the tapwater.org app to find out where you can fill up for free in town too so you’re never stuck for a drink.
2. Keep a reusable carrier bag or tote bag in the car, in the office, in the bottom of your hand bag – never pay 5p for a disposable one.
3. Do your food shopping with blinkers on keeping you focussed on your shopping list. Supermarkets have experts finding ways to “help” us spend more when we go shopping – don’t give in to temptation! And remember that offers are there to entice us to buy more than we need!
4. Get your vegetables and fruit from the market or your local farm shop. Not only is it cheaper but you’ll also be cutting down your food miles as well as supporting your local farmer.
5. Learn to cook. Being able to put together quick and easy meals (even without a meal plan) using fresh ingredients means we are much less likely to reach for the takeaway menu or the supermarket ready meal. And you know what you are eating!
6. Buy a slow cooker. Seriously – they’re brilliant! They save money because they use very little energy to run (so much less than cooking in your oven) and you can use the cheapest cuts of meat to create lovely tender meals. And the best bit? When you walk in your front door after a long day at work the house smells amazing and you can sit down to dinner straight away.
7. Take a packed lunch to work. So much cheaper than buying a Boots Meal Deal every day.
8. Being sociable is lovely and makes life loads of fun, but you don’t have to go out for lunch every day. It is possible to eat a sandwich before you head off to the pub for a lunch time gossip.
9. Don’t buy a new outfit, swish one! Organise a clothes swap with your friends – everyone brings their unwanted (decent!) clothes and accessories, you have a great night in trying stuff on, and everyone leaves with something new to them. Anything not taken goes in a charity bag. Thanks Michelle for introducing me to the world of swishing!
10. Try on in store – buy it online. You can generally get a better deal on pretty much anything if you shop online. Having said that, you always need to take into account delivery costs, and the added inconvenience of being stuck indoors while waiting for your parcel. Shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal on everything you purchase.
11. Buy used. Some things, quite a lot of things, really don’t have to be new. Decide whether your next purchase could be second hand and get yourself a bargain.
12. Make use of your Tesco, Boots, Nectar, Co-op and all those other points cards you carry around with you all the time. I dare you to check how much potential cash you have sitting in your accounts! Use them for treats or things you need – your call.
13. Get your hair cut at the local College salon. Trainee hair dressers are well supervised and you’ll pay a teeny amount for a nice do.
14. Learn to sew. You can buy plain t-shirts and tops for very little money, then customise them yourself using various embellishments and patterns. Create something unique to you for next to nothing and enjoy learning a new craft at the same time.
15. When something breaks, don’t just chuck it in the bin, try and repair it first.
16. Make use of any benefits you get through work. If you work for a large organisation you will almost certainly be a member of some sort of benefits scheme that gives you discounts on various products and services, it might even include some local restaurants and attractions. If your place of work doesn’t have one then speak to your HR Manager and see what you can set up!
17. Turn off your TV and other gadgets (as in right off, not onto stand-by) when not in use. If you’re bad at remembering to switch off, try a Power Down or Intelliplug.
18. Turn off the lights! Yes – just like your mother used to tell you! No point having them on if you’re not in the room.
19. Use Facetime or Skype rather than making long distance calls. It’s cheaper and so much nicer!
20. Make sure your broadband gives you all the bandwidth you need – make sure you’re not paying additional charges when you could get a better deal.
21. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees. Cooler water costs less.
22. Turn data roaming off on your mobile phone when travelling. Most hotels, coffee shops, shopping centres etc have wifi so you’ll never be that far away from a connection.
23. Take your foot of the accelerator! If you slow down gradually for junctions and traffic lights you’ll use up all the energy stored in the turning wheels rather than wasting it by braking. All that distance you travel with your foot of the gas is free! I should also add don’t speed!! Apart from the obvious “it’s against the law” and could cost you your license, keeping your speed down saves fuel.
24. Maintain your car properly. Cars with properly pumped up tyres, clean air filters, that are topped up with oil, have clean windows free of chips are cheaper to run and require less money spending on them in one go at service time.
25. Not going on holiday this year? Cancel your travel insurance! Many of us take out an annual policy and automatically renew it, but if you’re not going abroad, or you are only taking one or two trips, check to see if getting insurance trip by trip is cheaper.
26. Make use of direct debit or standing orders so you never forget to pay a bill and don’t end up with additional charges.
27. Use your legs as your transport. Cycling or walking to work is free… it’s not possible for everyone but many people (me included) spend money on fuel when we could easily do the journey another way. (If only the weather was better!)
28. Exercise outdoors. Gym memberships, personal trainers and exercise classes are very expensive. In the summer months take your exercise outside – jog, walk, skip, hop, hoola hoop, do sit ups in your garden.
29. Leave your wallet on your desk. Okay, maybe in your desk drawer! “Going for a walk” in your lunch break can often end in impulse spending – so leave your wallet behind and get some fresh air without any temptation.
30. Find different ways to de-stress. Many of us use retail as therapy – anything from a bag of sweets or a chocolate bar to new shoes (I’m not admitting to any of those…!). There are plenty of other, completely free, ways to relax. Find something free that you enjoy and do that instead.
What would you add to my list?