Take our daily saving challenge and see how much you can cut back on this February.
If you are still recovering from the festive splurge and trying to stretch that monthly budget, why not try our money saving challenge? We’ve put together 29 ways that will help those pennies go further this month – one for every day, including the extra one!
Meal prep EVERYTHING (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 don your apron and get your oven gloves at the ready - try something new today.
Here are some of our favourites to start you off:
Make coffee shop coffee at 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, it might be worth investing in an Aero Press. This clever little device is a portable coffee maker which you can use at home or in the office saving your bank balance.
Join Facebook groups
As a nation, we spend approx. 39 minutes a day on social media according to a 2019 Ofcom report, but how many of those minutes were dedicated to finding easy ways of saving money? There are lots of Facebook groups set up to act as a hub for money-saving tips, suggestions and links to bargains posted by its savvy members so you’ll never be short of ways to save.
Buy second-hand and upcycle
Not only does it help with the environment and cost less, but second-hand doesn’t always mean 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 and Facebook Marketplace for some great bargains. If you’re up for a little challenge or creative task, then try to customise your second-hand item and make it completely unique. You can find tutorials and inspiration on YouTube and social media.
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.
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. Also, certain retailers will happily provide you with samples to try and even discount vouchers for when you come back so always make sure to ask.
Save money on your mortgage
If your fixed-rate mortgage deal has come to an end, you could be paying more than you need to. Just like with utilities, it’s worth shopping around and comparing deals to see how much you can save.
Bag a 0% interest credit card
If you have a balance on a credit card that you’re paying interest on then now’s the time to see if you can score a 0% interest and balance transfer deal. This can alleviate the pressure of paying unnecessary interest to your provider and instead of putting it towards paying your balance off faster.
Spa day at home
Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pamper yourself after a hard week at work. As we all know, spa days can be a bit pricey however you can enjoy the perfect home alternative with some simple supplies:
- Bath bomb
- Deep conditioning hair mask
- Epsom salt foot soak
- Under-eye masks
- Scented candles
- Body lotion
- Mini manicure set
You can even take it a step further and make all your own treatments for a truly organic experience on a tight budget.
Collect your debts from friends and family
This might not be a popular option as it can often lead to awkward conversations if not handled tactfully, however reclaiming outstanding debts from friends and family can really do wonders for your bank balance. It’s easy to underestimate how lending the odd £10 here and there slowly builds up. Most of the time, people will have forgotten and will be more than happy to repay you after a gentle reminder.
If the places where you shop regularly offer a customer loyalty scheme and you’re not signed up, why? Supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco give you points for every £1 you spend as well as tailored money off coupons. These can be then used to redeem against your next shop so take a few minutes to sign up and start saving ££ £s.
Save the change
Based on the traditional loose change jar, many banks are now offering a ‘Save the Change’ service for online banking customers. The way it works is that every purchase you make using your bank account, the total is rounded up and the extra is deposited into a separate savings account eg. £2.20 for a coffee rounded up to £3.00 with 80p automatically transferred. This is such an easy way to save that spare change and you’ll be surprised how quickly it builds up, and how little you miss it from your main account.
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 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.
Swap branded for unbranded – challenge yourself to tell the difference
In most cases, you can’t tell 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go shopping later to score bargains
Supermarkets usually reduce produce in the evenings and this is a firm favourite with students and families alike when it comes to saving on the food shop. You can pick up bargain veg and meat for a fraction 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.
Wait to buy with the 30-day rule
Impulse purchases can be costly and, ultimately, a waste of money. So the next time you see something that you think is a ‘must-have’, wait 30 days and see 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.
Whether you’re popping to the local shop for a pint of milk or going to see a friend down the road for a catch-up, try to make a conscious effort to not just jump in the car because it’s easy. Not only will you be contributing to saving the planet and getting your daily steps in, but you’ll also save on money on fuel.
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 glueing over the crack. If you spend a bit of time and are doing this, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
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.
Plan your weekly shop…and stick to it
Going to the supermarket without a list is a sure-fire way to go over budget without buying all the essentials that you actually need for the week/month. Before your shopping trip, write down everything you need while checking your cupboards, fridge and freezer to make sure you actually need it. This will help keep you on budget and stop you from buying repeat items.
Tip – If you still find that you struggle to keep to your list when in the supermarket, try shopping online where you can keep a better eye on your spending.
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 cashback on purchases. So now’s the time to check out what’s available and find the best deal for you.
Stream 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 (you will need to let them know and can easily do this via an online form found on their website).
Bulk buy and batch cook
This is a great way to make your food budget go further and sort out your meal prep all in one day. Buying in larger quantities is usually cheaper especially when it comes to more expensive items such as meat and batch cooking saves you so much time through the week.
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.
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