Pay day at the end of each month should be an incredibly happy day for us, but unfortunately a huge chunk of it gets stolen every time by various bills and living expenses. There are, however, a number of money-saving methods that you can take that can significantly cut these monthly expenses.
1. Eliminate credit card debt.
First and foremost, before starting your new disciplined and money-saving lifestyle, you need to try to eliminate as much debt as possible. Being in debt can have a bigger impact on your financial future than you might think. Many of us also fail to realize that the interest the bank charges you for your debt substantially outweighs the interest they pay you in your savings account. Consequently, if you have savings, it is a very good idea to put this money towards paying off your debt.
2. Switch energy providers.
With a growing number of reliable comparison sites available to us, it is becoming incredibly easy to ‘shop around’ and find the cheapest energy providers. Gas and electricity prices can fluctuate depending on the market, so it worth keeping a close eye on this before deciding when to switch. It is also beneficial to choose an online tariff if possible,as this allows you to manage your account online and enables you to enter your own meter readings (saving any costs for someone to come out to do it).
3. Become more energy efficient.
Of course switching providers can save you money, but if you really want to make a difference you should look into becoming more energy efficient overall. Incremental changes can go a very long way and cut energy costs quite significantly. When you’re leaving a room – remember to turn the lights off, when you’re not watching the television – remember to switch it off at the mains. Other money saving tips include turning down the thermostat (even reducing it by 1% can save 10% off your heating bill), and installing energy saving light bulbs.
4. Car insurance.
Car insurance can be very costly, especially for young drivers or for those who opt for a sports car or one with a powerful engine. However, there are a number of steps you can take that can help to reduce your insurance costs. The biggest step (albeit potentially the most upsetting) is to think about downgrading your vehicle to one positioned in a lower insurance group. There are a number of other ways you can save money, though, such as increasing your voluntary excess and to avoid modifying your car in any way. Make sure you use comparison sites, too, as they are excellent at finding you the cheapest available policies. Oh, and try not to crash.
5. Bring your own lunch to work.
At the time it doesn’t seem like a lot of money but if you were to actually add up just how much you spent on buying lunch every month, you’d be as shocked as I was! Preparing your own lunch at home can save you a fortune, and meals for the entire week can be made in one big batch so you needn’t worry about ‘not having time in the evenings’. The same goes for your morning cup of coffee – making it at home and bringing it in in a thermos instead of buying one on your way past Starbucks will save you a surprising amount of money.
6. Change your cell phone plan.
As a society we are becoming increasingly dependent on our closest little friend – our cell phone. If you are looking to save your money, however, you need to ask yourself if you really need the very latest cellphone and look at how much of your minutes, texts and data allowance you actually use. If you are paying for more than you use, contact your network provider and downgrade your monthly tariff.
7. Save on fuel costs.
Fuel prices are constantly changing (and rarely in the direction that we want them to). Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it. What we are in control of, however, is limiting our use of fuel. If you live in close proximity to your place of work, consider cycling or using public transport. When you do have to use your car, you can extend the life of your fuel quite dramatically by driving more efficiently. Tips include avoiding excessive speeds, avoiding unnecessary breaking or acceleration, ensuring your tyres are inflated, and lightening your load where possible.
8. Be sensible with entertainment.
Entertainment is enjoyable and hugely important, hence the old “work hard, play hard” motto. However, it can be very easy to get carried away with it financially. When you go to the movies, try to bring your own drinks and snacks to avoid paying their astronomical prices. When you’re planning on eating out, have a quick look online to see if you can find a coupon offering a discount or a deal. Another technique is to leave your cards at home, decide how much you want to spend on your chosen entertainment, and only take this much cash with you.
9. Sell any unwanted items.
Whilst this isn’t exactly an expense, it is a fantastic way to earn money that can be put towards your monthly expenditure or towards paying off any debt. If you’ve got any unwanted items lying around the house or any clothes that you never wear in your wardrobe, sell them! You’d be surprised just how many people within the eBay community want to buy the items that you class as ‘junk’ or clothes that you question why you ever bought!.
10. Keep track of your monthly expenses.
This is by far the most important method of cutting monthly costs. Whilst it doesn’t directly save you any money, it allows you to clearly see the different areas of which your spending comes from, so that you can continuously look for ways of sustainably improving your expenditure each month. Keeping track also makes it a lot easier to set budgets and stick to them.
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. Helpucover is a trading style of Cardif Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offer a range of cover including Income Protection, Pet Insurance, car GAP insurance and Gadget Insurance. Visit us online at http://www.helpucover.co.uk