Take our 28 day challenge and see how much you can save this February.
If you are still recovering from the Christmas crunch and trying to stretch that monthly budget, why not try our money saving challenge? We’ve put together 28 ways that will help those pennies go further this month.
Coffee on the go (from home)
Instead of buying that £3 cup of coffee on your way to work, try making your own in the morning using a travel mug before setting off. If you prefer “a proper cup of coffee” rather than instant, have a look and see if you can score a cheap second-hand coffee maker. It may be a bit of an upfront investment, but in the long run it could save you hundreds.
Make all meals from scratch (yes we mean breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks)
If you’re a fan of eating out on a regular basis, you could be spending more of your monthly budget than you realise on food alone. Instead, create a weekly meal plan with your favourite meals and cook everything from scratch. There are plenty of tasty and easy meal recipes available online so get your apron and oven gloves at the ready - try something new today.
Have a go
Netflix and save
TV packages such as Sky and Virgin can easily exceed £50 a month, even more, if you have all the channels with the internet as well. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon TV are great alternatives at a fraction of the cost and are loaded with great films and series. Added bonus – you don’t need a TV license if you only stream.
Commute by car share
If you drive to work then you can easily save a lot of money by joining a car share scheme with other colleagues. Along with it being cheaper, it is better for the environment with fewer cars on the road.
Just say no to retail therapy
When you’re feeling stressed, stop hitting the shops and spending frivolously, instead find another way to unwind. Try going for a long walk, reading a book in a hot bath surrounded by bubbles and candles or going to see a friend for a well-deserved cuppa and catch up.
Wait to buy with the 30-day rule
Impulse purchases can be costly and can ultimately be a waste of money. So the next time you see something that you think is a ‘must have’, wait 30 days and if you still feel the same way. If you do, then buy it, but 9 times out of 10 you’ll have forgotten all about it.
Buy in bulk
This is a great way to make your food budget go further, especially when it comes to more expensive items such as meat. Buying in larger quantities is usually cheaper and whatever is left over can be divided into portions then frozen ready for next time.
This one is great to combine with ‘Buying in bulk’. Spend one day a week making meals in big batches ready for the coming week. This is great to save money on work lunches and a quick, easy way to have dinner ready when you’re too tired to cook. It’s a win-win.
Go shopping later to score bargains
Supermarkets usually reduce produce in the evenings and this has been a firm favourite with students and families alike. You can pick up bargain veg and meat for the faction of the cost. Don’t forget to freeze anything that won’t be eaten before the use by date so it doesn’t go to waste.
Repair before you replace
We’re so used to throwing things out as soon as they lose a button, get a tiny hole or break. Instead of discarding slightly damaged items, try sewing on a new button, patching up a small hole or gluing over the crack. If you spend a bit of time and are doing this, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Start growing your own food
This is a nice project that you alone or your family can get involved with. Not only will you be growing organic and healthy food but also it is a great hobby to have on top of saving money. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials and blogs to get you started.
Veg for Feb: Leeks, strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, jalapenos, peas
Find fun free things to do
Having fun and making memories doesn’t have to make a dent in your bank balance. Swap expensive meals out or trips to the cinema for walks in the countryside, free taster sessions of new activities or an evening of board games (and a few bottles of wine) with friends.
Buy second hand
Along with saving the environment and a few pennies, second hand isn’t always second best. You can pick up things that may have been used once or twice and sometimes even not at all with the tags still on. Check out your local charity shops, eBay, Facebook Marketplace for some great bargains.
Drink more water to eat less – healthy and money saving all at once
Drinking a big glass of water 30 minutes before your meal not only is a good health habit to have but it also keeps you fuller for longer. This tip is great for work to stop those mid-morning and post-lunch snacks from the vending machine.
Buy quality not quantity
This is another tip which is also good for the environment as well as your wallet. Sometimes it pays to spend a little more in the first instance rather than having to replace a cheaper item more frequently. This works for things like a quality pair of shoes or a safety razor rather than disposables.
Sell anything that you haven’t used in the last 6 months
Clutter can make your home feel messy and not as relaxing as it once was so why not dedicate a weekend to clearing out anything that you no longer use and selling it on eBay or at a car boot sale? Not only will give you extra space but extra budget as well.
Tip – When it comes to shopping for something new, especially more high-end purchases, make sure you stick to the 30-day rule then shop around to find the best price if you decide that you still need it.
Swap your utilities, cancel unwanted subscriptions and check on that gym membership
Now’s the time to audit your bills and make sure that you’re not paying over the odds for services that you no longer use or could get cheaper elsewhere. From your utilities to your TV subscription. If you haven’t been to the gym in a while, see if you can cancel your membership, or if you’re not watching much TV, try downgrading your package or swapping it for a streaming service instead. You’ll be surprised by how much you can save by doing this.
Haggle for a better phone contract
When it comes to renewing your contract, never accept the first offer you get from your current provider. ALWAYS do your homework beforehand and see what offers other companies are providing before negotiating. If you push hard enough, often you will get loyalty discounts, freebies, and even a decent handset at no additional cost. It’s worth a try.
TOP TIP – Don’t be afraid to walk away and cancel if you don’t get the deal that you want. There are plenty of companies out there who are competing for your custom.
Line dry your clothes
If you are guilty of using the tumble dryer for only one item at a time, or you use it multiple times a day, then you could be burning through a lot of energy. Next time, try hanging your washing outside on dry/windy days.
Tip – If you have the heating on, then hang washing on clothes racks near the radiators so that you can keep warm and dry laundry at the same time.
Take advantage of free samples
If you have your eye on a new product, see if you can find a free sample or cheaper small version before you commit to the full cost to make sure you like it.
Swap branded for unbranded – challenge yourself to tell the difference
In most cases, you can’t taste the difference between brand names and own label products, so why not challenge yourself to swap one of your cupboard staples whether its ketchup, washing powder or cereal and see if you miss it? If you don’t then you can save money on your shopping bill more regularly.
Turn everything off
If you’re not in a room, turn the lights out. If you’re not using the TV then unplug it instead of leaving it on standby. When you’re brushing your teeth, don’t let the water run for the full 2 minutes. By changing your home habits, you’ll be surprised how much money you could save.
Get paid to swap banks
Many banks offer new customers incentives to switch, including cash, introductory rates or cash back on purchases. So now’s the time to check out what’s available and find the best deal for you.
Use cashback websites
This one is a no brainer if you already shop online, the only difference is that you need to do it via a cashback website such as Topcashback or Quidco. Also, if you have a cashback credit card, use that when making your purchase through a cashback website to double your savings.
Reuse your coffee grounds for your hair and skin
If you enjoy a good cup of proper coffee on a morning, then you’ll be used to throwing away your coffee grounds but did you know that you can actually use them as part of your beauty routine? Coffee grounds are great for your hair and your skin so why not try these easy tricks for shiny hair and radiant skin.
Borrow or swap instead of buying new
It’s always best to ask friends and family before you buy something that you might only need to use once or twice as you’ll be surprised how much money you can save by doing this. If you need to borrow an evening gown or a tux, try asking a pal instead of hitting the shops. It’s also a good way of getting the measure of something before you commit to a purchase.
Tip: Try setting up a ‘borrow and swap’ group on WhatsApp or Facebook with your friends and family. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Don’t buy in rounds when you go out for drinks
This can prove to be a very expensive way of socialising if there are a lot of you or depending on what drinks are being ordered. It’s best to say before you go out that you would prefer to buy your own drinks as you are on a budget. Friends will always respect your decisions and there’s no reason to feel bad.
Open up a high-interest savings account
This is a great way to build up some savings and to stop unnecessary spending. Work out how much you can comfortably afford to put away after all bills are paid. Also if you have recently stopped smoking or cut back on drinking, put what you would have spent into your new account and watch it all build up.
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