Advantages It is a good way to learn and hopefully develop good habits
These are only a few small ideas to save money during a very difficult time financially for us all when money can be hard to come by, here are a few of the things I do to save myself money, although I do appreciate some of them may prove difficult for everyone. I'm not going into the whole issues of shares, buying homes etc, because these are for more qualified people than me, these are just hints to make and save a little bit of money in a financially difficult time for us all.I have found that I have learnt so much in the last two years, that when hopefully the economic climate brightens I will be smart enough to avoid credit cards, avoid obvious rip-offs and excess and live within my means, smartly but to a decent standard.
1. Sell those things you don't need/want any more - Sentimentality is a wonderful thing, but why do you need some of the things you have? If you don't need them and they are taking up space sell them, you can sell on Ebay, Amazon or Play for games, dvd's and music, you can sell your CD's on MusicMagpie, sell your car on exchangeandmart website, or literally anything you want, but think about the things that you really need and want and if you don't need things, get rid of them to make space (And money by selling them) for things you really do need. A few years ago I got rid of nearly everything I owned and travelled the world, it was liberating and interesting to appreciate what I felt I really needed, what meant something to me and what had been bought just to look cool, smart or simply keep up with others.2. Check your bank account for any needless outgoings - Do you have a gym membership you only use once a month, is it worth closing this and investing in home weights, do you have old magazine subscriptions or anything that you don't really want but can't be bothered to cancel? Well cutting Gym membership could save you up to £50 per month, magazines can save you anything up to £10 per month and you could always visit your local library to read them, or visit their websites. Do you spend ridiculous sums on lunch or coffee, work out whether it would be cheaper to make packed lunches, or purchase a decent bag of coffee, which would stop you paying nearly £3 per time at Starbucks/Costa etc?
3. Join your local library - If you love reading but can't afford to cover your fix every month, join your local library, it's free and you can borrow books weekly, many libraries have exceptional catalogues and you can also read newspapers, magazines and borrow CD's and DVD's too. You can generally search and reserve books on library websites now, so unless it's the very latest book, you should be able to borrow and read anything you want from your local library, you can always come back and buy a book if you read it and love it at a later date.4. Food Shop around - In the current environment, there are bargains to be had, but it is definitely worth mixing up your shopping. For example I will buy a dozen eggs, 1.5 litre lemonade and 4 litre milk in Iceland for £1 each and also get any chocolate there, as they always have special offers on multi-packs of chocolate bars, Poundland always offer good value for tins and tea and coffee so I buy this and many of my toiletries there, whilst the Tesco Value range has some great and some ordinary items, but mixing this up, allows you to stock up on the good bits for your larder and still get change from a tenner, if you live in a large town and have the time and inclination, one good search at the start of the month allows you to find many of your items at awesome prices and you can get so much more for your money.
We buy fruit and vegetables from the market or from Lidl's 29p range, get meat from the local butcher, asking advice on the best cuts etc, and buy wine and beer from Netto's, this might sound like a lot of work, but it isn't really and the satisfaction from having a house filled with food and everything we need for the month in budget is lovely and allows us a few more luxuries. We also bulk buy, so if there is a great offer on something which won't go off, we'll buy as many as we can carry, be it toilet rolls, deodorants, anything that offers significant savings, also have a list of what you want to buy, as this allows you more structure to know when you have everything you need, and work out what you spend as you go along. Also if your buying from Tesco gain clubcard points and use them to buy other items or luxuries for your family.5. Use your internet fully - Use websites like moneysavingexpert.com to find the best deals on moving any credit cards to 0% deals, they also offer details of the latest sales and voucher offers in shops, also check hotukdeals for any special offers and mysupermarket.com for the latest price drops and sales in supermarkets. Look on Amazon, put items you like on your wish-list and wait a month or so, as the prices generally drop a little during this time, also use sites like Dooyoo and Ciao to take trusted opinions from others of what is worth buying and what isn't, you can differentiate the chuggers who make up the items at 600 points with their 152 word reviews, from those who truly have an opinion that they want to share with others. Also using sites like Quidco will give you cashback on some of your purchases, which all counts, especially on those larger purchases.
6. Find new hobbies and interests that can be done for free - You could join your library, buy a football and take the family to the park, find interesting new places to walk, or just learn about the history of your home town or city, but there are wonderful days out all over the UK, that require nothing more than your interest and the ability to reach them, we live in a historic and diverse country with wonderful regional nuances and differences that we should celebrate and enjoy.7. Treat yourself, but do it frugally - You could do this by waiting for the lastminute.com website to have one of their special spa day sales (These are nationwide, but I do accept the comment that they are predominantly based around larger cities), where everything is under a tenner, you could check groupon.co.uk for their excellent deals, where they offer a special day out for one day only, recent finds have included a plush London dinner for two for under £20 and a wine tasting. Also search toptable and lastminute for meal deals in your area, and also check out the vouchers section of moneysavingexpert.com to find which restaurants are offering which deals.
8. Make small, realistic savings plans - Set yourself a savings target, don't go crazy, but if you think about putting away £20 a month now, then your holiday in September will feel a lot cheaper with £160 already saved, likewise, put £20 a month away now and Christmas will seem much easier and more relaxing when you tap your christmas fund of £220 to pay for gifts.9. Try to avoid overdraft charges, if it means moving money between accounts or simply spending less, do it, because this stealthy charge of up to £30 a month could save you nearly £360 per year.
10. Enjoy yourself, when you happy, you have less need to spend money, so do things you enjoy, for me this is watching films or football or boxing, swimming or working out, or spending time with family. For others you need to find your own happiness, but part of the difficulty of modern life is that spending is similar to eating, people do it for comfort when they are depressed, they don't always need 'things' they just want that quick fix of having them to make them feel happier. Enjoy yourself, we only get one go at this life!!!!
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