With ever-rising prices and more ways to spend money than ever before, saving money can feel like a pipe-dream at times. But there are a few habits that you can pick up that might help you out.
1 – Always check prices
Nobody likes shopping around, and it can be boring. When you’re looking for something specific, sometimes, you just want the convenience. But it’s worth checking prices in more places than just your local supermarket or Amazon.
Don’t assume you know what the cheapest option will be. Not only can prices vary a lot between retailers, but there may be sales happening in one place that aren’t happening in another. If you’re lucky enough to have multiple retailers close to each other, you could save quite a bit by checking out prices online first.
If you’re looking for a particular item online, it’s definitely worth shopping around, even if it’s just comparing delivery prices!
2 – Forget loyalty
A lot of brands rely on you using them over and over again. And that can be easy to do, especially if you find something you like. However, that can mean that you’re missing out on the best deals.
For items, try other, cheaper brands for a change. It may not be quite what you want at first, but sometimes, it’s about getting used to it. However, other times, you might be surprised just how similar they are. This is even more the case when it comes to some supermarket own-brands, some of which are made by the original manufacturer as well!
When it comes to things like painkillers or off-the-shelf medicine, it’s worth checking what is actually in the more expensive brands. As an example, the price difference between a named brand aspirin and a supermarket one can be astonishing. With services like utilities, banking or broadband, it’s always worth looking around. Other providers may well offer a better deal for a new customer than they would for an existing one. You can find sites that will help you compare and find the best deal online.
3 – Always check for voucher codes
When you’re buying something online, always check for a voucher code. This is particularly worth doing for more luxury or expensive items. Voucher sites will offer discounts for lots of things, and there are lots of discounts sites. Some will be out of date, but you can sometimes find bargains.
One other tip, if it’s a one-off purchase, is to check the social media accounts of the shops or manufacturers – they’ll sometimes do special offers on there that don’t get onto voucher sites.
4 – Be ruthless but realistic
Making plans is a lot easier than following through on them. If you’re a regular latte drinker, you might find that cutting them out completely might be a bit too optimistic.
If you can cut something out of your budget, great. If not, it might be worth trying to cut it down at least. Buying a coffee every two days rather than every day will start making you savings fairly quickly, without going cold turkey on your java fix.
The trick isn’t to live without treats – it’s to cut down on the expenses you don’t need.
5 – Create a budget
Creating a budget isn’t necessarily easy, but it might not be as difficult as you think. It’s all about keeping track of what you’re spending and using that info to help you plan. You don’t need to spend hours and hours examining it.
There are apps that can help you keep track of this now, either by photographing receipts, or easy-to-use entry forms. Some of them even use open banking to help you keep track of your spending and make recommendations. Either way, it’s all about keeping track of the money going in and out of your account.
Once you’ve been doing this for a little while, this is where you can see how much you’re spending on various things. And then you can start figuring out what you can cut out and save on.
There may well be things you just can’t change or save on, and that’s fair enough. But some people find that keeping track of their finances can help them realise how expensive some of their regular habits or treats really are.
None of these are magic fixes, but they’re all ways that could help you out. The important thing is to keep working at it and not give up. Even just saving a little this month puts you in a better place to save more next month.
This is a guest post by Lending Stream, who offer 6 month short-term loans as an alternative to payday loans.
Disclaimer: We do not offer professional advice, just few tips on how to save money.