Ok so you need to save some money but don’t know where to start. If you’re struggling with money it can all be a bit overwhelming.
The first thing to do is work out exactly how much you’ve got coming in and going out every month. Write down everything, and I mean EVERYTHING you spend money on. Include your mortgage/rent, bills, shopping, petrol, etc.
It might sound obvious but it’s amazing how many people don’t actually have an accurate idea of how much they’ve got coming in and going out each month.
If you’re frequently popping to the shop or grabbing a coffee while you’re out, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending. Try keeping a money diary for a week or two. Keep your receipts and write down how much you spend each day, then you’ll have a clearer idea of where your money’s going.
Once you’ve done this, you can see what is essential (bills, rent etc) and how much you’ve got left after paying it all, which should help you set a budget and see where you can cut back.
Reduce your outgoings:
- Check your energy tariff. This is quick and easy to do, just use an online comparison site and see how much could save by switching to another provider, or even just a different tariff. Once you’ve found your new supplier, check if they have an offer on cashback sites like Quidco or Topcashback, and you may actually make money by switching.
- Is your phone on contract? Can you get it cheaper? If you’re coming to the end of your contract, it’s worth shopping around to see if you can get a better deal. If you want to stay with the same provider, the best thing to do is find the deal you want elsewhere, call your provider back and ask them to match it. If they refuse, ask to speak to their retentions team, more often than not they’ll match or better the offer in order to keep you as a customer.
Contract not up? Contact your provider and see if there’s a better tariff for you to be on.
- Are you paying interest on credit cards? If so, see if you can switch to a 0% interest card, or a lower interest rate. It’s worth checking your credit rating before you do this, as applying for credit and being turned down can affect your rating. There’s a great tool on moneysavingexpert.com which lets you know which cards you’re likely to be approved for, and it only uses a ‘soft search’ so it won’t impact your rating. If you can’t switch, contact your current provider and see if they will lower your interest rate. Some will refuse straight away, but if you’ve got a good history of paying on time, some will be happy to lower it for you, especially if you explain you are struggling.
- Unused gym membership? I read somewhere that we waste an average of £500 a year on unused gym memberships. That’s a crazy amount of money to throw away! If you really want to get fit and save some money, go for a run, walk, play football with the kids or take them to the local park.
- Save money on your monthly shop For us, this was the biggest saving we could make. Before I was pregnant, we would do our monthly shop with no budget or shopping list. We’d head out on payday and anything we fancied went in the trolley. It’s amazing how much you spend when you aren’t watching what you’re buying. There are a ton of ways to save money on your monthly shop from cashback apps to meal planning.
- Get cheaper car insurance. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to switch insurance providers. Use a comparison site to see if you can get it cheaper elsewhere. If so, it might be worth switching mid-policy. Make sure you check the cancellation fee on your current policy though and only switch if it’s less than the amount you’ll save.
Increase your income:
- Ask for a pay rise. This won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve been working for the same company for a while, if you’ve taken on extra responsibility, increased sales for the company etc, it’s worth asking. The worst they can say is no!
- Declutter your house. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Sell on eBay, local Facebook selling groups, Mum’s sales or car boots. If you don’t use it or need it, free up some space and make some extra cash!
- Get paid to eat and drink as a Mystery Shopper. Since becoming a stay at home Mum, I’ve usedMystery Shopping as a way to fill my spare time, make a bit of extra money, and have a few free nights out with my other half. There are so many sites you can sign up to, so I’ll be writing a separate post about it over the weekend.
- Get a second job. If you have some spare time and really need the income, it might be worth looking into a second job. Be aware though that if your second income pushes you into the next tax bracket, you may end up paying a lot more tax on both jobs. Definitely something to consider before applying.
- Complete online surveys. There are a ton of sites out there offering cash or rewards for completing online surveys. I will only recommend sites I’ve had a good experience with as there are many out there which take up a lot of your time and give you very little reward. My two favourites are Swagbucks and Prolific Academic.
- Switch bank accounts. There are always banks offering cash or gift cards for switching your account to them. With the switching service it’s quick and easy and the cash is usually in your account pretty quickly. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions before applying as some will require you pay a minimum amount in or have a set number of Direct Debits.
There are tons more ways to make and save money, this is really just to give you an idea of where to start. Think outside the box, do you have any skills or talents you can use to make extra money? Crafting, cooking, helping out family with odd jobs or babysitting?
I’ll be updating the blog with other ways to save and boost your income on a regular basis so watch his space!
Don’t forget you may need to declare your extra income to the HMRC!