Financial Planning

Ten Easy, Practical Tips for Saving Money

Ten Easy, Practical Tips for Saving Money

Many of us started out in 2019 with a resolution to spend money more sensibly. Perhaps you are largely on track with that goal. Or, as in the case of most people, maybe not!

Either way, as we approach the year’s half-way point it is usually a great time to review your spending plan, income and outgoings. This is especially true with summer approaching, where you might have to spend more on entertaining the children outside of school or on holidays.

Below, we have compiled ten straightforward ways to reduce ineffective, unnecessary spending over the next few weeks without dramatically compromising your lifestyle:


#1 Family subscriptions

If you use online services like Spotify, Netflix or Amazon Prime, then are you sure you are on the best deal? Collectively, these sorts of services can exceed well over £50 in monthly outgoings (£600 a year), so even 10% or 20% savings would make a big difference here.

Sometimes multiple people in one household are signed up to these online services via individual subscriptions. However, there might be cheaper deals available via a single family subscription which gives you access to the same movies, songs and video series.

Spend an hour to do some research and potentially save yourself over £100 a year.


#2 Your energy provider

Powering your home amounts to hundreds of pounds a year, and switching to a better deal (as well as unplugging appliances when you don’t use them) could save a lot of money.

Check out some online price comparison sites for different energy providers, and see if you could reduce your monthly bill by tens of pounds. It usually takes just under 3 weeks to switch your gas and/or electricity supplier – not too long at all.


#3 Take a coffee cup

Lots of coffee shops on the high street are increasingly offering discounts to customers who bring a refillable cup when they buy coffee, in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint.

If you regularly buy a coffee on your morning commute, consider taking a reusable flask with you. It could save you between 20p and 50p per cup, which could amount to a saving of £52 to £130 per year (depending on the discount and purchase frequency).


#4 Time your insurance purchases & shop around

If you simply renew your car, travel or home insurance when the contact is about to expire, then you might be paying nearly 40% more than if you had switched to a better deal.

Car insurance amounts to hundreds of pounds per year, so taking the time to research other providers might not only save you £100+ across 12 months – it might offer you more protection in the event that you need to make a claim.

Also, think about buying your car insurance about 3 weeks before your contract expires. There is some research to suggest that this is the best time to look!


#5 Optimise fuel spending

Do you know the cheapest places to buy fuel for your car, which are near to your home or place of work? If your daily car journey to work involves taking a motorway, for instance, then you could save a fair bit on fuel costs by filling up elsewhere.

Filling up at a supermarket might cost you 116.74p per litre at a supermarket, but it could cost you 137.7p per litre on a motorway. That amounts to about £10 more to fill up the tank on the motorway. If you do that once per week over ten weeks, that’s £100 you could have saved.


#6 Travelcards

If you are a frequent train user, then you almost certainly will have heard of the Railcard system. The 16-25 Railcard is well-known, and for £30 can save you up to a third on qualifying rail fares across the year.

Less well-known, however, are railcards such as the Two Together Railcard, which lets you reduce your fare by 33% if you travel in a pair. The Family & Friends Railcard also reduces adult fares by the same amount when travelling with children aged 5-15 (who get 60% off). Both are £30 and are well worth considering.


#7 The mortgage

For most people, this is their biggest single monthly expense. Any savings you can make here, therefore, could possibly amount to well over £1000 over the year.

Perhaps you are on a variable rate mortgage, and switching to a fixed-rate could offer you a much better deal. Or, maybe remortgaging to a cheaper deal (with your current lender or a different one) would produce a big reduction in mortgage outgoings.

It’s especially important that you seek professional advice before making any big financial decisions about remortgaging.


#8 Clear your debts

Are you currently incurring costly fees from your bank by unnecessarily falling into your overdraft on a regular basis? Some bank can be quite punitive in this respect, so tightening up your spending and getting out of your overdraft could produce big monthly savings.

Of course, credit card debt and personal loans can also be a regular, big financial drain. The average UK household is £2,668 in debt with a credit card. With an APR of 18.5%, that could cost you well over £1,000 in interest over three to four years.

If you are able to clear these debts quickly it can, therefore, free up a lot of breathing space in your monthly budget.


#9 Check your tax code

It is estimated that millions of UK citizens are on the wrong tax code, resulting in each person paying hundreds of pounds in tax unnecessarily to HMRC. If you fall into this category, then you could be due to a refund. Check your tax status on the government’s website here.


#10 Think about the “sharing economy”

Do you drive to work every day and could offer some car space to other commuters? You could consider signing up to an online service to share fuel costs with a fellow traveller (just make sure you choose a reputable service).

Or, perhaps you have some free storage space which you could rent out? Or perhaps you have an unused driveway at your home which you could offer to commuters or tourists?

Just make sure you handle any potential income correctly from a tax point of view!

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