Now that Christmas is over and a fresh new year is laid out before us, many will be making resolutions to improve their lives over 2019. One of the top New Year’s resolutions is to save money, as it’s common to feel the pinch after Christmas time. It’s surprisingly easy to fall into bad spending habits, and often this happens through wanting convenience or being rushed into a purchase.
These bad spending habits can be quite easy to break, however, with just a handful of small lifestyle changes. By adopting some of the below habits, you may be surprised at how much money you are able to save out of your weekly or monthly budget. The smallest changes can add up to some of the biggest savings over time, so it’s certainly worth exploring while you’re in the mood to make positive changes.
1. Start keeping tabs on what you’re spending
Whether you’re the kind of person who likes to keep detailed spreadsheets or you prefer to add up in your head as you go along, it’s certainly useful to be mindful of what you’ve spent over the course of each day. If you make purchases in a number of places, both physical and online, it can be difficult to keep track of what you’ve spent, which can then result in a lack of money before your next payday. We’ve all been guilty of spending more than we mean to, and by keeping tabs of your spending you’ll be more likely to hold back when you need to and thus avoid any nasty surprises.
2. Walk when you can
Consider walking rather than taking the car or public transport where possible. Not only do you save money on fuel/fare, but it’s also a great way to keep fit and healthy. Walking all year round can help to boost your immune system and is great for lifting your mood, particularly when it’s sunny. This in turn, leads to better health overall and can save you money on medications and missed days from work. With a little forward planning, incorporating walking into your everyday routine is easy and you may be surprised at the benefits, both financial and otherwise.
3. Cut down on eating out
If you like to visit the odd restaurant or café during the week, or you prefer to order a takeaway at home, consider cutting down on this and making more meals yourself. If you’re not experienced in the kitchen, there are plenty of free ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, for example, which can guide you through even the most simple dishes, and can provide plenty of inspiration so that it doesn’t seem boring in comparison. If you save just £20 on eating out over the course of a month, you’ll have £240 in a year. Cutting down even more can make a big difference to your everyday finances, especially if you eat out very regularly.
4. Always check for online vouchers before a purchase
Before you buy anything at all from a physical store or online, check to see if there are any voucher codes or exclusive offers you can use in order to get some money off. If you Google the name of the store and ‘voucher code’, you may well find an offer to suit. There are a number of sites which collate various offers and list them all in one place, which is very useful if you’re looking for a quick last-minute deal. Similarly, if you shop regularly at the same store, see if they have a reward scheme or points system to help you save in the future.
5. Change the way you ‘get coffee’
Many of us enjoy a cup of coffee on the go, or a quick visit to the local coffee shop for a bit of time out. Money saving gurus often recommend foregoing your takeaway coffees altogether, but this can be difficult if it’s something you enjoy or if it’s part of your work routine. Rather than ceasing to get your regular cup of coffee altogether, invest in a takeaway coffee mug of your own. This way, you can alternate making your own and buying from your usual place to cut back on costs. Most coffee shops will give you a discount if you bring your own cup, and always take advantage of any reward cards offered so you can get a free coffee every now and again.
6. Switch to cash only for everyday expenses
Rather than paying for everything with your debit or credit cards, try using cash instead. Studies have shown that we tend to spend less when using cash, as it’s easier to make the connection to exactly how much you’re spending. It’s also easier to check how much you’ve got left until your next top-up, and it’s simple to divide up for different expenses. In addition, switching to cash is a great way to help you with tip number 1 on this list. Putting all your small change into a pot at the end of the day is another way to boost the saving power of this habit, so why not give it a go?
7. Opt for second hand items
When you want to buy something, consider looking for a second hand version if appropriate. Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and eBay are good places to start, and charity shops are great for hunting out hidden treasures. Even when it comes to more high-end items, pre-owned can save you a lot of money without having to compromise on substance or flair. And remember, once in your possession, no one will know that something is second hand. Take, for example, H&T’s range of pre-owned luxury watches, which are perfect for saving money on an extra special gift.
8. Shared finances? Communicate openly
If you share your finances with another person, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open about your budget. Share your savings plans with them, and help them to make spending habit changes of their own. Money issues can cause tension and arguments, so it can be difficult to start these conversations; but once you make a habit of communicating freely about money issues that affect you both, you’ll find that two heads really are better than one. If everyone is on the same side, then the benefits of making these changes will only multiply faster.