With the cost of living crisis continuing, we've compiled 20 saving tips to help you cut some costs this Autumn/Winter.
Are you living within your means? In fact, experts say you should be living BELOW your means. Moneycheck.com provide a complete guide to Living Below Your Means here. Make sure you always assess your affordability to make purchases, or take out a loan.
Manage your budget more effectively. This is the hard part, if you can get this right it can be life changing for your financial situation. Try this step by step budgeting guide from debt help charity Stepchange. In addtion, MoneySavingExpert.com provide a free Budget Planner Tool here, which analyses your finances to help you manage and control your cash.
Are you owed benefits? More than £15 billion in benefits go unclaimed each year according to Which? Try the debt help charity CAP UK's Benefits calculator to see if you may be entitled to/are missing out on any benefits which could help towards your savings and cost of living.
Save on washing and drying - as above, investing in a heated clothes airer or using a general clothes airer, will help reduce tumble dryer use and save on energy consumption. Maximise on your washing machine load, rather than more frequent washes.
Financial reviews - complete a review of all your finances including direct debits, subscriptions, mobile phone contracts, internet broadband, and more. You may find you now qualify for a better deal or no longer need the same level of service, helping to reduce your monthly outgoings. Reduce the number of streaming services you pay for monthly. Normally streaming memberships can be cancelled without penalty.
Upgrade your mobile phone contract. You may be overdue upgrading your contract and find there is a cheaper deal best suited for your needs. A sim only option could be more cost effective, do you really need a new mobile phone? Check how much data allowance you use monthly, you may be able to reduce this and save money.
Consider downsizing your car or home. Perhaps the kids have moved on to university or into their own homes, or you may have switched jobs / retired and no longer need to travel as much. Now is the time to evaluate your circumstances. Source a car with zero tax/lower tax and higher fuel efficiency! Leave your car at home when you can. If you can walk to your destination or car share, this will greatly help with fuel costs. Planning ahead with tasks and car journeys in one day/coinciding with other travel plans could help you save on fuel also.
Expect the unexpected and keep topping up your emergency fund. Remember you can save as little as £10/month at the Harp and Crown Credit Union to keep your account open. Should you need us to help you with an unexpected cost, we offer lower interest rate loan options, members can borrow up to 5 x times their savings (subject to Ts and Cs). Already have a loan but struggling to make repayments? We may be able to restructure your loan, to help alleviate any financial stress over the winter months ahead.
Swap well known brands for cheaper alternatives. Read the small print, some supermarket own brands are the same as high end brands but packaged differently. Don't be afraid to shop the discounted/best-before food isles and avoid food waste where possible. More supermarkets are veering towards removing best-before dates to save on food waste.
Stock up on world food items such as rice and pasta for your batch cooking and reduce meat purchases if you can (even if it's one day without meat per week). Please ensure you are following a healthy, balanced diet, suitable for you.
Spread out hair and beauty appointments to reduce monthly outgoings.
Turn the thermostat down by one degree. Learn how to operate heating controls in a more energy efficient way, ensuring you still maximise on heating your home comfortably.
Turn your lights and appliances off! Turn all appliances off at the socket when not in use. How about taking a TV break at least one day per week and read a book instead, saving on your electricity bill in the process!
Insulate! There are many ways to insulate your home and it's less expensive than you might think. Getting into the habit of closing doors, pulling curtains (invest in thermal lining) and turning lights and appliances off (as above) will also help greatly.
Batch cooking - whether you're on your own or have a large family to feed, savings can be made when you "batch cook", preparing your meals weekly/monthly. Prepare stews, casseroles and more in a slow cooker and freeze any leftovers. Cutting back on oven use will also help to save with energy costs. Cut back on eating out or ordering that weekly takeaway. Consider a monthly treat instead.
Remove shopping apps or alerts from your phone such as Amazon Prime, ASOS, Just Eat, to avoid any spend temptation.
Shop around for the best deals in car, home insurance and more. Never accept the first renewal offer when you may be able to get a better deal. One of our staff members received their car insurance quote recently which showed a huge increase of £185 for the year, and with no changes to their circumstances. They phoned to query this and got the rate back down to the original annual fee. Never accept the original letter offer! Consider paying any annual fees in full (if affordable to you right now) to save on extra monthly fee costs. Check for car and home insurance bundle deals (some discount family members also). Every little helps!
Take a spend break at least one day per week.
Plan for Christmas now - the more time you have to spread costs the better. Why not include essentials in presents. Items such as slippers, nightwear and socks which will keep you warm during the winter and stationary for school are a great option for presents as it saves you from purchasing them further down the line. AND have you considered Secret Santa for your family to save on presents and spend? Agreeing an affordable amount to spend on one family member can really help with costs this Christmas! Shop around for the best deals: take advantage of black Friday sales at the end of November to get big discounts on expensive items. Make a list of who you need to buy for and shop around online to compare prices so that when you see goods at decent prices you can grab them. Google Shopping searches a wide range of retailers and can help you find the cheapest prices.
Let us know if you have more suggestions to save and try and stay within your means! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are here to help, talk to us so that we can help provide the best solution for your financial needs.
Dated: 25 October 2023