Budgeting isn’t the most fun at the best of times, but making every penny count is something that could help us all. It can be hard to stop ourselves from feeling overwhelmed, but by looking at your spending, you may be able to take back a bit of control.
When it comes to saving money, are there things you can start doing now that could help you get more for your money for the long-run?
We may have tried it before and then said ‘I don’t have time to do this’. But there's never a good time to start. Could you do a stock-take of your cupboards and freezer before you go to the supermarket to make sure you’re not buying anything unnecessarily Maybe there are a few things you’ve not been able to find recently? By planning your meals in advance you can utilise what you’ve got in your cupboards and make large batches to feed the whole family or fill your freezer.
If you find that you don’t know how much you need and often buy too much, use this portion planner to make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your belly!
The next step on from meal planning, is looking at your weekly shop. According to the Office of National Statistics the average UK weekly shop is £60.60 but one woman has been able to cut her food shop bill from £100 a week to just £20. Think you can’t feed a family of four on just £20? Read this and think again.
Now’s the perfect time to get rid of clothes you never wear (or those Christmas gifts you didn’t really want or need). Use Depop to offload clothes, shoes, and accessories for cash, and Shpock or Facebook Marketplace for literally everything else (these are better than eBay if you want cash in hand ASAP). You can also sell old unused tech like mobile phones, tablets, and laptops on Mazuma or Laptopsdirect. Even if you’re not sure anyone will want your old Lego collection, it’s worth putting it up for sale anyway - one person’s trash is another’s treasure!
Many high street shops, like H&M and John Lewis, will offer you money, a gift voucher or a discount if you bring in the stuff you no longer wear.
What makes you spend money? Is it a shopping app on your phone you gravitate to when you’re bored and scrolling late at night? Is it that your card details are saved to your browser or that you shop when you’re feeling down? If you’re someone who shops when sad or stressed, try to avoid temptation or make it more difficult for you to shop quickly. Maybe you can delete an app or two or remove your card information so that you physically have to move to get your card before you can complete a purchase. By making it less easy to impulse shop online, you may find you're able to save a surprising amount.
If you still find you have the urge to splurge, make an agreement with yourself to put it on your wishlist or leave it in the checkout for a day - if you still find yourself thinking about it, maybe it’s worth it. If you forget about it after 24 hours, you probably didn’t need it in the first place.
If you really want to challenge yourself to think about how little you could spend - create a Pot Noodle budget. Imagine you were going to eat the same thing every day - noodles, beans on toast; pick your favourite. From there, add to it only the expenses that are completely necessary. This exercise could make it easier to strip out the necessary from indulgences. While we’ve got a break from social pressures, we can get a firmer grip on what we spend because we have to and what we spend because we want to.
If you have credit card debt, could you benefit from transferring it to a 0% balance transfer card? Compare the different options here. If you are really struggling with debt, Stepchange has a lot of resources and also provides free debt advice.
If you have high-interest debts that might take you longer to repay, you could save money and repay the debt faster by replacing those debts with a lower-interest alternative.
Check to see if Salary Finance could help you lower the cost of existing debts with a salary-linked loan by visiting here.
Sign up to our newsletter
Our newsletters bring you the latest articles to help you improve your financial wellbeing.
If you want to consent to receiving our newsletter please enter your email below to subscribe. If at any point you want to withdraw your consent please email email@example.com. For more information about how we use your personal data see our privacy notice.