Many of us will be looking to tighten our purse-strings and you might think that there are some things that you just can’t save on. Well, you with a little forward planning and compromise, you should be able to cut back your spending on a lot of the everyday basics. Here are our top tips to help you save:
1) Save on petrol by car-sharing: commuting to work can be costly, and while it may be cheaper to ditch the car, if there’s no public transport route to the office and it’s too far to walk, you’re left with no choice. However, you might be able to recoup some of the cost by finding out if any colleagues live near you and if they’re interested in carpooling. You could save on petrol costs by getting them to pay some money towards it when they travel with you, making your journey cheaper. Sign up to Liftshare.com to see if someone’s travelling your way or ask around in the office.
2) Make use of discount vouchers: extreme couponing doesn’t just have to be for our friends across the pond; here in the UK, you can get discount codes for hundreds of retailers. Sites like allaboutmoney.com and apps like Shopitize make it easy for you to keep up to date on the latest discount codes, so make sure to have a browse before you do your supermarket shopping. It’s also worth having a flick through any Sunday papers you buy, as supermarkets will often put discount vouchers in these too.
3) Plan your big shop so you don’t run out of basics: one of the big ways you could be wasting money on essentials is by not planning what you need before you leave the house. If you don’t write a list, you might not realise you’re out of toilet roll until you’re back from the shops, meaning you’ll have to nip out to get it from somewhere else, perhaps to a nearby corner shop. These can be more expensive and trips to little shops can quickly start to become costly up if you do it once or twice a week.
4) Check out the charity shops: buying everyday clothes, like work wear, can seem like a bit of a chore and can be less rewarding than spending money on an evening outfit. Cut back on the cost of clothes by going for a look in your local charity shops to see what’s on offer. You might be tempted to turn your nose up at the thought of second-hand clothes, but spend an afternoon hunting through the racks and you could pick up some real bargains! For more tips on hunting for clothes in charity shops, check out our guide.
5) Visit the pound shops for some items: checking out your local Poundland, Poundworld, or 99p Store could be a way to save on some big brand products and everyday essentials, but you sometimes need to be careful. As these shops only have one set price for everything, some products may be rounded up in price and could actually be cheaper in your supermarket. Stick to brands and search online beforehand to check that you’re getting a good deal and don’t get carried away just because everything seems such great value. If you don’t need it or didn’t plan to get it, don’t buy it!
6) Buy non-perishable items in bulk: whilst it can be cheaper per unit to buy the larger packs of some products, this isn’t always a good idea. If you buy the bigger bottle of milk or pack of cereal just because it works out slightly better value, it’s not a good deal if you end up throwing half of it away. Instead stock up on non-perishable goods, including toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, foil, and batteries, as these might be cheaper in larger packs and you can easily save the excess until you need it. However, don’t buy more than you’ve got room to store, otherwise you’ll be tripping over it for weeks until you’ve used it all up!
7) Leave it a bit later: if you’re used to doing the supermarket shopping in the morning or the early afternoon, you could save money by just waiting a few hours. Turning up in the evening means you might be able to pick up a few deals on meat and vegetables in the reduced aisle, as they’re often discounted to try and get rid of them before the end of the day. However, there are no guarantees of anything you actually want being reduced so if you bank on this, you may just have to take whatever’s there.
8) Look for cheaper petrol in your area: we’ve all heard the recent reports about how the price of petrol is falling, but you can still pay a wide range of prices depending on which petrol station you visit. Sign up for PetrolPrices.com and you’ll be able to search by postcode to find the cheapest place to fill up your car in your area. You might want to look how far away the best deal is though – if you’re going to have to drive for miles just to save 5p a litre, it’s probably not going to be worth it.
9) Check out the own brands: when you’re doing your supermarket shop, get into the habit of training your gaze a few feet below where it usually is. Supermarket own-brand products are usually stocked on the bottom shelf, with the more premium ranges at eye level to encourage you to go for the expensive option. Have a look at what own-brand products are available in comparison to the well-known brands and you might surprise yourself. You’ll have to do a bit of trial and error as some products might not be worth scrimping on, but you can often get great quality for a fraction of the price of the famous names.