Saving money doesn’t mean being boring – the cash you save can help pay for treats and fun days out with the family.
Spending less and putting more into your savings may not come naturally, but there are so many different ways to save, some, involving you doing nothing!
For us, spending less than we earn means that we can start putting some money back into the saving pot again and work toward our goal of Mr. Savvy dropping a few hours at work.
But whatever your motivation, there are lots of easy ways to save.
Many of us don’t even have an emergency fund to fullback on. A pot of money just sat there for those “just in case” times, like when the washing machine breaks or the car fails its MOT.
Without this fund, you could start slipping into debt which none of us want to do. I aim to have three months sat there in our fund, in case I can’t get work or Mr.Savvy is sick and doesn’t get paid.
To be honest, most months we’ve had to dig into it for the very reasons above. The washing machine went (it was only 4 years old), my car was written off (I wasn’t even in it) and we had a leak from upstairs into the kitchen!
Saving more money means that we all have it, without having to borrow.
9 stress-free ways to save money
So whether you’re looking to top up your emergency fund or just need to spend less every month, here are 9 easy steps to keeping more of your cash in your pocket.
Switch Your Utilities
I do this every year without fail. I spend half a morning running our current usage through a price comparison site and look out for the best deals.
It may not be the cheapest, but it will be the best one for us, to make sure we aren’t paying extra every month.
Everything gets looked at. Gas, electric, broadband, line rental, home and car insurance plus anything else subscription wise we have.
Last year, by switching and haggling my car insurance alone, I saved a massive £150. It does take time but is really worth phoning around and haggling.
Know your limit though, in case they call your bluff.
Budget for Christmas
It happens to all of us before we know it, the shops are rushing in Christmas trees and every advert on TV is a toy one.
Make this year different and save before December. I’ve been saving since September using the pound a day challenge.
My version is like the poor person’s version of the traditional savings challenges as it’s much more achievable than the ones I’ve seen doing the rounds.
This will give you £364 by the first week of December, and at its maximum, it’s just £7 a week.
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This is such an easy way to save and stops your panicking or relying on Christmas savers every year.
Yep, not a coupon in sight.
Check the offers on the apps first, purchase the item, upload your receipt and get your money back. It really is that simple.
Downgrade Your TV Packages
Loyalty doesn’t pay! Haggle away and see what you can get? What’s the worst that can happen?
If you decide to cancel completely, then have a look into Freeview, which offers a lot of the paid channels (like Dave, Film 4 and Magic) for free!
BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Channel 4 and loads more also offer free apps, where you can stream there shows anytime for nothing!
There’s also an Amazon Fire HD Stick (for a one-off payment, then a range of different services you can try for free.
Amazon Prime is £79 a year after the free trial, Netflix is £7.99 and that lets you stream across two devices. Hayu is another one, that’s £3.99 a month after the trial.
If you can’t live without your current subscription, then phone and get them to lower it. Most of the time they will, or will ask you to downgrade a little for a lot less a month.
Automate Your Savings
There are loads of these about, but services like Plum and Chip are a great way to save money without even thinking about it.
Chip currently offers 5% interest and only moves across what it believes you can afford.
I’ve been using the app for a while now, and have mostly found it easy to use. I’m a fan of ease, but if you hate GIFs and emojis, then this isn’t the app for you!
I like that the automatic savings can be canceled at any time and it’s easy to tell the app to save less or more. The only thing that grates me is the speed of the transactions, sometimes they can be pending for a few days before they are added to your account.
I like Plum and have just started trialling Folio and Cleo too. That said, if you prefer to just transfer over a chuck at the end of the month then these aren’t for you. I just forget, everything, and this cuts me out of the equalization. (It’s nice seeing your savings grow when you haven’t even done anything!)
I’ve just started this and love it. Going out, even for a date night is sometimes too expensive, but this way we get to have dinner and still make money!
It works like this. We visit a store or restaurant and have a meal within the agreed requirements (as in, by three courses and a cocktail or buy two desserts and a drink) then rate our experience, or asses the staff, quality of food etc.
We get reimbursed for the meal and have the option to make extra on top. It’s pretty much a win-win!
I used Emma Drew’s guide to mystery shopping to help me. It’s so worth giving it a go!
- 99 Easy Ways to Save Money as a Family
- 5 Ingredient Budget Meals That Will Get You Through a Working Week
- 7 Money Saving Tips for Christmas: Act Now to Slash Costs
Ignore the Takeaway
We now have a “fakeaway fund”, so every time we resist Pizza Hut or anywhere else, we stick the money in the pot to use on a day out instead.
When we fancy something, I tend to make it now. Nothing is out of bounds, from fake KFC to homemade pizza (which the kids love making) to Maccy Ds quarter pounders. Lush!
You can earn money back by just visiting one of these before you buy. I’ve earned a good couple of hundred quid from Quidco this year on items I was going to buy anyway! Seriously, this is a no-brainer and costs you nothing!
Seriously, if you aren’t meal planning then you need to, right now! Since meal planning, I can now shop for as little as £16 a week for four of us.
I start by going through everything I have and deciding what I can use that week to make a meal and only buy what I need.
Stick the meal plan to the wall so nothing comes as a big shock when dinner time comes around.
I find meal planning hard, but it’s the most important part of eating on a budget. It gives you a plan you can use to help you buy food more wisely and stop you staring in the fridge for 5 minutes trying to think what to make for dinner tonight. This happens more then I would like… So I designed a few menu planners that work best for me and I thought I would share them. Enjoy!
So How Many of these are you doing?
Even if you started these now, there is a good chance you can make some serious savings and see a real difference in your bank balance.
How many have you tried? Let me know in the comments below.