A lot of people assume that if they want to accomplish incredible things with their cash, they need to be saving hundreds of pounds worth of income every month. However, this isn’t really true. The fact is that just a couple of pounds placed into a savings account every week can make a huge difference to your finances in the future.
Rather than letting yourself get overwhelmed by the idea that budgeting has to mean changing your entire lifestyle, why not make some basic changes to your relationship with cash that really work instead? Here are some top tips to get you started.
Think Bulk, Not Brands
When you’re shopping for essential items like toilet paper, tissues, and even cleaning supplies, it’s easy to get carried away looking at brand names and packaging. However, it’s important not to let the good marketing brainwash you. Instead, look for opportunities to save some extra money by buying supermarket-brand options in bulk.
More often than not, you’re going to get the exact same experience from a supermarket that you would get from a big-brand company, but you’ll save a fortune on the packaging. Remember, you can always buy extra of the things you always need in when they’re on sale, so you don’t run out too.
Rethink your Electricity
When you start searching through your monthly statements for opportunities to save, you’ll notice that you spend cash in some areas more often than others. For instance, a lot of us overspend on food shopping, but we also tend to use a lot of our cash on gas and electricity. If you’re paying over the odds for your electricity, start by looking at offers from other providers to see if you can get a better deal. At the same time, you can also think about exchanging some of your high-consumption appliances with energy-saving alternatives.
While buying a new fridge, washing machine and other essential utensils might require you to take out a loan initially, it will mean that by the time you’ve finished paying what you owe, you’ll have much lower bills.
Stop Over-spending on Drinks
Sometimes, it’s easier to see how much you spend on food from takeaways, restaurants and cafes than it is to recognise how much you’re spending on drinks. How often do you buy yourself a bottle of cola when you go shopping on a weekend to keep you going until you get home? How much do you spend on a morning coffee when you’re on your way to work.
Invest in a reusable water bottle and take it with you wherever you go. Not only will you have an instant source of hydration when you need it, but you’ll also get a health boost by switching away from sugary and caffeinated beverages too.
Prep your Meals in Advance
Next time you’re going shopping at the supermarket, make a list of all the meals that you’re going to make for that week. This will help you to make sure that you’re not overspending when you’re walking through the aisles. However, it will also mean that you have everything you need to start prepping your meals in advance.
While spending an afternoon cooking and chopping on a Sunday might not seem like much fun, it will mean that you have all the food you need ready and available to throw into the oven when you get home after a long day at work. Pre-prepped meals make it much less likely that you’ll end up turning to a takeaway for food.
Make Saving Automatic
Finally, if you’re the kind of person who finds saving difficult, then why not simplify the process by making it completely automatic? Take a look at your budget and find out how much you can afford to put into a savings account after your bills are paid for. Then, you can set up a direct debit that moves your money into your savings account before you have a chance to spend it.
Making saving automatic will reduce your risk of spending the cash that you wish you had put aside for later. At the same time, it also means that you don’t need to think about saving at the end of each month. Just make sure that you come and re-check your budget every once in a while to make sure that the amount of cash you’re putting into savings, and the cash you’re using elsewhere still makes sense.