If you’re looking to get on top of your personal finances, but don’t know where to start, there are plenty of simple lifestyle swaps that could help you save hundreds of pounds every year.
From price-checking products to giving up takeaways and making sure you’re not overpaying on monthly bills, here’s how you can make your money last longer.
Go for own-brand foods
Branded products are notoriously more expensive than own-brand items, even though there’s generally not much difference in flavour. In fact, more often than not what you’re paying for is fancier packaging, rather than its contents.
Take basic table salt as an example, it only contains two ingredients: salt and an anti-caking agent. So unless you’re going for specialty salt like Himalayan, pink or sea, just stick to the supermarket’s own brand.
Save the extra pennies for fresh goods instead or put them in your savings account.
Compare energy providers
Whether you’re cranking the heat in winter or using a fan in summer, many people waste money on energy every year. There’s a simple solution: swap energy providers.
You can easily check costs on comparison sites and get great deals. The best part? They usually do the work for you and it’s a seamless switch. Watch out for cancellation charges with your current or new provider, as they can really sting. But don’t worry, some newer energy providers will offer to pay any cancellation fees for you.
Get back in the driver’s seat
Owning a car puts a huge dent in the wallet. While there’s not much you can do about the price of fuel, shopping around for insurance deals can help you cut costs.
Start by visiting a price comparison site to compare plans and breakdown cover or contact your provider to see what options they have. Whether you change insurer altogether or take out a new policy with your existing provider, there are plenty of options to save money.
Try creating your own takeaway
Do you often splurge on takeaways? A great way to reduce the cost of small luxuries is to make your own, also known as a ‘fakeaway’. It can be just as delicious at a fraction of the cost.
Cooking kits have boomed in the last year and for good reason. While ordering in could cost between £15- £20, plus delivery fees, an at-home kit like Blue Dragon’s Pad Thai will set you back less than £3 and comes complete with all major ingredients (barring meats). And it’s fun, too.
Spending a fortune on coffee from the local café? Invest in a good brand like Little’s (we like the Hazelnut flavour) or syrups to keep in your kitchen cupboard, and voilà: fantastic coffee at a fraction of the cost.
Make your bank work for you
People often stay with their bank or credit card provider because it seems like a hassle to switch, but in reality it’s not and doing so could see you reap the rewards.
You want to look at six key aspects: interest rates, overdraft limits, monthly fees, cash back, benefits and contactless payments. This will change regularly, so make sure you have the latest information before you make the switch.
New challenger banks such as Monzo or Starling could be good options too. Unlike many traditional banks, spendings are logged instantaneously and you can set up spending alerts, allowing you to keep better track of your finances.
Always check for discounts
Retailers are fighting for shoppers’ attention right now, which means there are many discounts to be had on all sorts, including clothes, furniture and toys.
Before paying for a product online, do a quick search for voucher codes or add an extension to your browser that will suggest deals automatically.
And sign up to become a member too, as brands like MADE.com, to name but one, will offer a £10 joining gift.
Swap the gym for home workouts
Gym memberships can cost a small fortune, but if there’s anything we’ve learned to embrace in the past year, it’s home workouts.
Invest in a bicycle or basic weights that will save you money long-term, or try an online class. If you still want the gym atmosphere every now and then, try getting a free day pass or ask a friend if they can take a free guest along to their class.
When the weather improves, plan hikes or other outdoor activities. This will not only let you reconnect with nature, but it’s all free, too.