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This is that time of year where people start making resolutions for things they want to change or achieve. Facebook and Twitter are full of aims and plans, things like getting fit, losing weight, saving more money, giving up drinking etc.
These are all great goals but because they are sometimes a bit vague and open ended they can easily end up not happening! I know I’ve made resolutions to lose weight plenty of times before and ended the year heavier than I started it!
Whatever time of year you decide to make changes, without actionable steps, resolutions and goals are much harder to achieve. For example – deciding to exercise three times a week is probably going to be a much more effective resolution than simply resolving to get fit. It’s a plan of action, not a hope.
For lots of us, one of our biggest goals is to be able to save more money. As much as it’d be nice to be able to say that money isn’t important, we need it to pay the bills, and for most of us, money is often the barrier to things we’d love to be able to do.
Saving more money is a great resolution to make at any time, and if that’s something you want to achieve, this post aims to take that overarching goal, and break it down into some simple ideas for specific money saving resolutions to act on.
Firstly (and you’ve probably already got something in mind) it’s good to think about why you want to save money. Having a specific goal helps because when you’re making changes or possibly going without something you can think about the reasons why you’re doing it.
Maybe you want to save up for a holiday, pay more towards your mortgage, save for a new car, build up a savings account, save up to redecorate, or pay off debt.
Whatever it is, having your end goal in mind can help with staying motivated. Here are some money saving habits you could adopt this year to save more money.
Start Meal Planning
Meal planning is a great way to save money when it comes to the amount of food you buy and waste.
Planning in advance means it’s easier to shop for exactly what you need and leads to less food being thrown away. You can start meal planning with three easy steps:
- Take time each week to sit down and decide on the meals you’re going to have the following week.
- Check your fridge/freezer and cupboards to see if you already have anything you need for those meals.
- Write down the ingredients you still need for the meals on your meal plan and add them to your shopping list.
Meal planning and shopping to your plan saves you money by reducing your grocery spend, as you only buy the things you need and means you usually use more of what you buy.
Buy More in Bulk
If you’ve got space, buying things in bulk can save quite a bit compared to buying smaller amounts. Things like toilet paper, tinned beans, dishwasher tablets and similar usually are much cheaper the more you buy.
Check prices when you shop, often bigger bottles of things such as shampoo work out cheaper per ml.
This is a really simple one, but effective! Think about which of your journeys you currently take by car or public transport that you could walk instead, and save the money in fuel or ticket price.
If you have a longer commute that’s not walkable, you could consider carpooling instead.
Cut Down on Takeaways
According to research, the average person spends around £1000 on takeaways each year. I love love love a Domino’s pizza, but if you can’t find a discount (and I won’t order without one) a large pizza costs £20! Even sharing with my husband, that’s a tenner each for half a pizza. Pretty crazy.
If you normally spend a lot on takeaway food, cutting down is a good way to save money. You could decide to have one takeaway a month or fortnight, instead of one a week.
If you still want the takeaway taste without the cost, the ‘fakeaway’ recipe ideas below will save money and are healthier too – Just click to view.
Change your Energy and Service Providers
Switching providers for things such as energy or your mobile phone is a great way to save money because a lot of companies will offer good deals for new customers.
Don’t automatically just renew your existing contract, always shop around first. You can compare prices and deals online and also check for any cashback incentives.
Skim Your Bank Account to Save Money
Skimming your bank account is a way of saving small amounts of money reasonably frequently. You can do this manually yourself or set up an app to do it for you.
There are a few apps you can use, but my favourite at the moment is Plum as I’ve found it the easiest to use. You simply link your bank account and it calculates small amounts of money that you shouldn’t miss based on your outgoings, and moves those small amounts into your ‘Plum Savings’.
You can easily keep track of your savings, you can pause the savings at anytime and if you need to withdraw from your savings you can have your money back in your account within 24 hours.
It’s an easy way to automate your saving and takes away the hassle of having to think about it.
Other similar apps you could try are Cleo and Chip.
Use Vouchers, Cashback and Discount Codes
Before buying something check if you can get it cheaper elsewhere either by finding a cheaper price, or using a voucher or discount code.
If you’re shopping online, always check cashback sites to see what cashback is available before you buy.
If you’re shopping for groceries you can use apps such as Shopmium and Checkout Smart to get cashback and even freebies on some supermarket items.
For other shopping you can search online for a discount or voucher code. Websites like Hot UK Deals, Latest Deals and Voucher Codes are great, but even just a quick google for ‘XXX voucher code’ can help throw up a voucher code if there is one.
Buy Second Hand
When you’re thinking of buying something, consider saving money by buying it second hand. You could use charity shops, or buy online using Facebook marketplace, eBay, Gumtree or buy/sell apps such as Shpock or Mercari.
You can find loads of things second hand such as furniture, toys, clothes, all sorts!
I’ve bought most of my daughter’s clothes second hand and they’ve been in such great condition that I’ve been able to reuse them for my two younger daughters as well, so it’s saved loads of money!
Switch to Energy Saving Lightbulbs
If you’re still using standard lightbulbs, switch them for energy saving ones; LED bulbs are probably the best choice.
Compared to using a standard 60 watt bulb, you could save £11 per bulb per year assuming your lights are on for around 4 hours a day and you pay around 15p+ per kilowatt hour for your electricity.
Even factoring in the initial expense of buying new bulbs, given they should last more than 15 years, it’s a long-term continuous saving.