A significant proportion of households have no money in savings whatsoever. This means that an unexpected bill or emergency could push many people into financial ruin. When debts and recurring expenditures are factored into the picture, the outlook can look a bit grim.
However, there are some techniques everyone can use to slash bills in their house and generate additional income from side-hustles. While these are unlikely to make you rich, they can alleviate the constant pressure you might feel when you’re short on cash. So, read on for some money-saving tips every household can use.
Break Down Your Paycheck
When you get paid each month, you should allocate your funds before spending any money. Using this approach is an excellent way of progressing towards financial freedom. A helpful strategy is the 50/30/20 rule.
Start by allocating 50% of your take-home pay on essential expenditures. These will include things like rent, bills, food, and debt payments. Next, 30% of your money can go on fun things. For example, you could spend this on eating out, drinks on the weekend or tickets to see your favorite artists. The final 20% should go towards your future. This additional money could be put into a rainy day fund or financial investments.
While this can be a valuable tool to help you save, it is important to remember that these ratios don’t have to be fixed. They can change depending on your circumstances, so if you have some months where money is tight, adjust the percentages accordingly.
Focus on Getting Rid of Credit Card Debt
If you have credit card debt, you should prioritize a plan to get rid of it. You shouldn’t worry if you don’t have a magical sum of money to eliminate the entire amount. You can actually achieve the same results by simply transferring the debt to a 0% balance credit card. This will allow you to avoid paying any interest for a fixed period while paying off a set amount of debt each month.
Depending on the card you use, you might be subject to small balance transfer fees. As such, you need to do the maths before transferring debts and check it works out for the best. You should also ensure you set up a direct debit to avoid missing any minimum payments. Otherwise, you risk getting stung by a significant late payment fee.
Go Incognito When Shopping Online
When you shop online, websites collect information about you in the form of cookies. They will often use this data to adjust prices depending on what you’re looking at. Using an incognito browser will delete this information after you leave a page, so companies can’t track your habits and raise prices on items you are more likely to buy.
This is an especially valuable tip if you are shopping around for your next holiday. Airlines are notorious for increasing the price of flights that you have previously looked at. So, if you are planning a trip, consider using incognito mode to pay the best prices.
Avoid the Payday Splurge
An astonishing number of people spend nearly half of their disposable monthly income within 24 hours of being paid. While there are certain things you might be looking forward to purchasing between paychecks, this kind of splurge is counterproductive if you want to achieve financial freedom. Don’t let your spare income burn a hole in your pocket. Instead, consider whether you really need to spend on an item and carefully think about the financial implications of the purchase.
Change Energy Supplier
Switching your gas and electricity supplier is one of the easiest ways to save money on household expenses. You can spend as little as 15 minutes on a price comparison site, and you are almost guaranteed to find a better deal. You could save hundreds from doing this relatively easy task.
Generally, it is a good idea to check whether you’d be better off with another supplier once every 18 months or so. This doesn’t just apply to energy bills either; when your insurance or internet contracts come to an end, shop around for a better deal before committing to anything new.
Switch to Unbranded Products
Swapping branded items for own-brand offerings in your weekly shop is an excellent way to save money without compromising on quality. Keep your eyes peeled in the supermarket aisles for own-brand alternatives to staple items like cereal and pasta. The own-brand ranges of most supermarkets are constantly expanding and represent significant savings compared to branded items.
You might be worried about the taste or quality of own-brand items being inferior. If this is the case, try a blind test on your family to see if they can tell the difference. If they can’t, then you’ve found a winning product at a fraction of the usual price.
Don’t Upgrade Your Phone Unless You Have To
A lot of people believe they have to get the latest and greatest phone each time their current plan expires. However, there is likely still a few years of life left in your handset, and using this can save you a significant amount of money.
So, when your current mobile plan expires, rather than rushing to upgrade to the newest model at an expensive tariff, consider switching to a SIM-only plan. Lebara provides a range of SIM-only plans at a reasonable cost without needing to commit to a contract. Opting for this can save you a substantial sum and also delivers the flexibility to alter your outgoings on mobile plans depending on your current needs.
Slash Your Expenditure on Groceries
While it might seem obvious to only buy what you need, food waste is a pressing issue. It is estimated that around three-quarters of household food waste is still edible. This kind of food waste is bad for the environment and your wallet, so be sure to only buy what you need and make an effort to use it up.
One way to do this is to use a portion calculator and plan your meals in advance. This way, you can figure out exactly how much of each item you need to buy in your weekly shop. Ultimately, this will help you to cut down on food waste while simultaneously reducing your expenses.
The world food aisle in your local supermarket can also deliver significant savings on staple foods like rice, lentils, beans, and spices. You can also save a sizeable amount by shopping in the evenings. Around this time, supermarkets begin to discount items, so you can get some great bargains.
Try No-Spend Days
A good way to save some money and test your mental resolve is to have a no-spend day each week. This can help you become more financially aware in the long-term and help you put some money away each week.