If you’re looking to save money, you’ve come to the right place. Our top tips will help you cut your spending on everything from energy bills to holidays.
If your finances are in a poor state at the moment, you are unlikely to be alone.
January can be a particularly trying time as far as money is concerned thanks to higher than normal spending over Christmas and New Year.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of simple money-saving tips covering everything from shopping and transport to personal finances and holidays.
1. Turn down your thermostat
Reducing the target temperature in the typical home by one degree Celsius can save around £75 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST). Would you really notice the difference?
2. Buy energy-saving lightbulbs
This will involve an initial outlay but the EST estimates that the £100 it would cost an average household to replace all its incandescent bulbs would lead to savings of £45 a year.
3. Switch your energy provider
Lower oil prices may lead to energy firms cutting their rates – but there is no guarantee these savings will be passed on automatically to customers. Use a price-comparison service on a regular basis – say, every six months – to find out if there’s a cheaper deal for you.
4. Check for discounts
If you’re shopping online, make sure you check for any discount or voucher codes for the retailer you’re using before you go to the checkout. A simple Google search for the company’s name and "voucher" or "discount" may lead you to a site than can give you cashback on, or money off, your purchase.
5. Draw up a budget
A good way to keep a lid on spending is by working out where your money goes every month and identifying where cutbacks can be made. Setting a budget is the first step to getting in control of your finances.
6. Use your ISA allowance
If you have any spare cash, the interest you earn will usually be taxed unless you put it in an ISA. Rates on ISAs are just as good as on normal accounts, and in the current tax year you can put up to £15,000 into one.
7. Save without thinking
Set up a standing order to move money into a savings account or ISA as soon as you get paid every month – it’s a much more effective way of putting money aside than waiting until the end of the month and hoping you have some cash to spare.
8. Join your company pension
If your company has a pension scheme, it will probably add money of its own provided you contribute as well. Soon more or less all UK employers will have to offer schemes.
9. Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry
Studies show you are more likely to make impulse food purchases or to buy junk if you go shopping on an empty stomach.
10. Make your own
Processed food is often more expensive than the raw ingredients it contains: consider making your own bread, pizzas, jam and soup. It may not be as convenient but it is likely to be a cheaper and tastier option.
11. Use your freezer
When you’re cooking think about making more food than you need and storing the excess in your freezer. This will cut your energy bills and could mean you can take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free offers in the shops.
12. Consider a home swap
You may be able to cut your holiday accommodation bill almost to zero by organising a home swap. If you live somewhere that tourists might like to visit, consider a service such as Lovehomeswap which matches up swappers from around the world.
13. Get the right holiday credit card
The charges for using some debit and credit cards overseas can be eye-watering, especially for smaller-value purchases. Well in advance of your trip, find out how much your existing cards will charge and look for a cheaper alternative if necessary.
14. Fly during the week
You are likely to get a cheaper flight if you can depart at less popular times, such as in the middle of the week. The more flexible you can be, the better the price you should be able to get.
15. Sell your passenger seat
If you’re making a long car journey, you may be able to find a paying passenger to help cover some of your fuel bill. Websites such as Liftshare and BlaBlaCar can put you in touch with someone who would like to share your journey.
16. Seek out the cheapest fuel
The cost of petrol and diesel may have fallen recently, but there can still be a big difference in what retailers charge. PetrolPrices.com can help you find the cheapest source of fuel in your area.
17. Don’t drive too fast
You can minimise the amount of fuel your car consumers by driving at the optimum speed: according to the AA, driving at 70mph uses as much as 15% more fuel than 50mph, while travelling at 80mph can use 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph.