Want to save money but don’t know how?
Money saving tips from Loans 2 Go…
We all know that we should be saving money. There are so many good reasons to do so. And we do want to. But somehow we just can’t seem to do it.
Something needs to change, and summer is a great time to get started. So here are ten quick ways that you can begin to save money. Starting today!
- Pay off your debts
Easier said than done, right? But many of us are in a financial trap because we are spending so much money each month paying off debts. That means that there is no extra cash to save, and not even any extra cash for emergencies. This can lead us to getting into more debt and the vicious circle continues.
The best way to start saving money is to find an affordable way to pay off your debts and still have spare cash each month. One way to do this is to take out a new loan that completely covers all existing debt. At Loans 2 Go, we offer a Standard Personal loan that is ideally suited for this purpose. You can borrow money over a period of 18 months and repay in affordable weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments. This would consolidate all your debts into a single payment that you can afford, leaving you free to start saving the money that you release by doing this.
You can apply for your loan online, and if your application is successful you could have the money within 60 minutes of approval!
- Budget carefull
As part of your mission to save money, it’s important to be know exactly where your money is going, so that you can see if further savings can be made. So make a list of all the money that is coming in, for example salary/wages, tips or bonuses, benefits plus any contributions from family. Then list all your regular payments eg mortgage/rent, household bills, loan repayments, subscriptions etc. Then add to your list regular essential spending such as food and transport to work, and anything else that you regularly spend money on such as clothes, cosmetics, entertainment, socialising etc.
If you do not already pay bills by direct debit it is a good idea to start doing this as soon as possible. It helps you to see exactly how much is going to be taken out of your bank account and when. Sometimes you may even get a discount for paying by direct debit. But do always check your direct debits regularly to make sure that they are all still needed, and chase up any that the supplier has not cancelled. Also check there are no standing orders going from your account that you should have cancelled.
Make sure you test out your budget: it may look good on paper but most of us spend far more than we think. So for the first couple of months make the effort to record everything you do spend either in a notebook or a financial planning app. This will help you to get your budget as accurate as it can be and start trying to stick to it.
- Plan ahead
As part of your budgeting, try to get as many of your regular expenses as possible onto monthly direct debit payments rather than annual payments. For example Council Tax, insurance premiums, and gym membership fees. This will enable you to spread the cost throughout the year rather than having to find all the money in one go.
If you have a big expense coming up that cannot be paid regularly then plan ahead and start putting aside money each month to help you pay for it when the time comes. Where possible, keep on top of what happens when so that you avoid any nasty surprises financially.
- Pay less tax
Tax is a mystery to many of us but it is worth spending time and effort understanding what you need to pay and what tax relief you may be entitled to. Everyone’s circumstances differ, but Which have produced a very helpful guide – 35 ways to save on tax – as to the different tax reliefs available, some of which may apply to you.
- Cut your energy bills
Energy bills are one of the largest chunks of money that many of us spend each month; and unexpected bills are one of the most common reasons for taking out a loan. When it comes to energy, prices always seem to be going up: but there are savings to be made.
Changing energy supplier is one easy way to save money, and it can be possible to save up to a few hundred pounds a year by doing this. It is well worth comparing the prices offered by different suppliers: Ofgem provide a list of price comparison websites here. All you need is information about your current energy plan, including how much you use and the name of your tariff.
Another way to save money on energy is to always try to use less. For example:
- Always turning off lights when you leave a room.
- Use energy saving light bulbs as they last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs and don’t cost very much more.
- Instead of turning the heating on or up when you feel cold, why not put on an extra layer of clothing or bedding?
- When the heating is on, turn down your thermostat slightly. Just a 1°C reduction could cut 10% off your heating bill.
- Make the best use of appliances eg only using the dishwasher and washing machine when there is enough to fill them, and cooking several meals at once in the oven.
- When boiling the kettle don’t use more water than you need; and to keep your fridge and freezer running at their best, keep them full – even jugs and bowls of water will prevent cold air escaping.
- Showers tend to use less water and energy than baths, though if you have a power shower make sure you turn the pressure down to save energy.
- Research major purchases
If you are making a major purchase then research exactly what you want and use price comparison websites to ensure that you get the best deal available. Always be prepared to haggle with the supplier – if they have sales targets to meet (usually towards the end of the month) they may be prepared to give you a better deal.
Also consider whether you absolutely have to have the item brand new? There are many ways of obtaining items that are as good as new, for example sites such as eBay or Gumtree. Or another option to consider is upcycling, where you buy an item in used condition (eg a chest of drawers from a charity shop) then spend time upcycling it into your own personalised item.
- Plan your food shopping
Most of us spend far too much money on food, and one of the reasons for this is that we don’t plan what we buy. This means that we tend to grab whatever catches our eye and spend much more than we intended to as a result.
So, whilst it can seem very time consuming to plan meals, it really is the best way to save money so is well worth doing. You can plan meals around what you already have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer rather than end up wasting that food. You can also plan meals that use some of the same ingredients to avoid further waste.
It also saves money if you batch cook food. Once you get cooking, it is not really much more expense or effort to make double quantities of meals such as casseroles, curries or lasagne. You can then either freeze them or maybe swap meals with a like-minded friend. Believe it or not, it is possible to eat well for less!
- Shop around
Still on the topic of food shopping, it’s also a good idea to shop around. At any one time, different supermarkets will have different deals, so you need to work out where is best for your shopping that particular week. Try the website MySupermarket.co.uk which enables you to compare the price of a basket of goods across various supermarkets and stores to show you what you could save by shopping around.
- Cut the cost of socialising
Many people worry that if they are on any kind of economy drive they won’t be able to go out and enjoy themselves at all. This is not true!
Firstly you could rejig your social life to do more staying in with friends as well as going out. For example having meals or takeaways or games/film evenings in different homes can be just as much fun as going out but cost a lot less.
If you are going out to eat then look around for vouchers and offers to save money. Many restaurants offer online promotional vouchers. Also check newspapers for vouchers and visit voucher and deal websites such as GroupOn, Wowcher, MyVoucherCodes and VoucherCodes to check for current discounts and deals. Other sites such as Bookatable enable you to book your deal in advance and pay less on the night.
You can also sign up to receive email offers from many popular restaurant and pub chains, so either go online beforehand or fill in a subscription form when you are next there.
- Put your savings aside
All the above tips can help you save money but it is really important to put aside the money you save. Sometimes it seems that even if we have a bit more money it just gets absorbed by our daily lives. This is what you need to stop happening!
So open a new savings account at a bank or building society, or investigate an ISA or other investment plan if you prefer. Ideally use an account that is not very easy simply to take money out of, as your savings will then have more of a chance of building up.
But whatever method you choose, start putting money into that new account as soon as you can. Otherwise you will find other uses for it very quickly! Even if you can only put a very small amount aside at first that’s fine. You are taking your first steps on the path to saving money and that will help you to a better future.
Check back here soon for more money saving tips from Loans 2 Go.