How can I spend less?
With the cost of living continuing to rise, never has it been a better time to explore practical ways to spend less money.
The good news is there are plenty of straightforward ways to do this, with both big and small results. Check out our helpful hints to cut spending and free up some cash in your budget.
Cut down on your grocery shopping
The average weekly food cost for the typical UK household is currently £114 - an increase of 15% from a year ago. But you can save money on groceries by planning out your meals each week and studying what’s already in your kitchen before you buy. Create a list and stick to it; it’s very easy to be tempted by special offers and treat items when you’re in store - but these quickly add up.
In addition to what you buy, think carefully about where you buy. If you haven’t already, consider switching to a low budget supermarket and shop based on your budget, rather than convenience.
Buy budget brands
One of the easiest ways to save money quickly is by avoiding big name-brands during the weekly shop. You’ll be surprised to find that brand-aside, the product is largely the same - in many cases, they’re even made by the same company! If you’re particularly fond of certain branded products, at least consider supermarket-own brands of staple goods such as pasta, rice and cleaning products.
Cancel TV subscriptions
Most of us have a television streaming service of some description but how many of these do you have and do you actually use all of them on a regular basis? Netflix, Prime, Disney Plus - consider cancelling your least favourite and seeing if you can manage without it. That goes for your satellite TV provider as well.
And for those you can’t live without, explore a shared membership with family and friends. Many providers such as Netflix will let you watch from multiple screens with an upgraded account which can save everyone money.
Reduce energy costs
Making small changes at home can save money on your gas and electric bill. Simple things such as taking shorter showers or having shallower baths, doing the washing up in cold water and installing energy-saving lightbulbs can make a big difference.
It may seem obvious but turning lights off when you leave a room, switching off appliances rather than using standby mode and only heating the parts of the home you’re in are also worth doing. Not to mention using more economic eco wash cycles, doing your laundry at night or early in the morning and hanging your washing instead of using the tumble dryer.
Take a packed lunch
You’ll be surprised by just how much you could save by packing your own lunch for work. If you’re busy and surrounded by some delicious eating options it’s easy to be tempted to pop out for lunch but even a supermarket sandwich will end up costing you a lot more than one you make at home in advance.
Like the grocery shop, if you’re going to stick to this, you need to be prepared so consider what ingredients you need and add them to the weekly shopping list. Even better, take leftovers from dinner the night before. You’ll be surprised by how tasty they can be the following day!
No more take away coffee
This will be a tough one for coffee addicts, particularly if you’re in the habit of popping in to your favourite coffee shop on a daily basis. But a latte a day costs £84 a month and that’s more than one thousand pounds a year!
If you can’t curb the addiction, treat yourself to a nice reusable coffee mug and add a box of latte sachets to your shopping list. You’ll save yourself a lot of money and you’ll be helping the environment in the process.
Don't eat out to help out
Who doesn’t love dining out? Being waited on hand and foot, delicious food and drink at your beck and call and no big pile of washing up at the end of it. But there is a hefty price to pay for such an indulgence and it’s important you ask yourself if your budget can honestly cover it. It’s easy to spend in excess of £50 per head when eating out in the UK.
Instead, explore apps that offer access to some of the tasty but unsold food from your local eateries. Not only will you be able to eat at a vastly discounted rate compared to dining in but you’ll also be saving food from going to waste - and food waste is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Love your local library
For the bookworms among us, supporting your local library is not only good for the community but you’ll also save money by borrowing instead of buying.
Most libraries will stock all the latest must-reads and you’ll likely find audiobooks and digital copies as well. Browsing the bookshelves is a fantastic way to spend some down time and costs you nothing in the process.
Sell to save
Did you know most people sleep better at night in a neat room? Decluttering not only has many mental and physical health benefits from an improved lifestyle and wellbeing, but it can also help you financially. Work your way through your home - including your wardrobe - and put anything that you don’t love or use regularly to one side. Then explore options to sell those items through an online auction platform or community marketplace.