Save Money: 5 Easy Ways To Cut Your Day-To-Day Costs
When it comes to cutting back on your outgoings – whether you’re saving for the future or want to spend your money on something else in the here and now – a little effort can, quite literally, pay dividends.
Whatever your circumstances, stripping out the more extravagant lifestyle luxuries is the most obvious way to save money. However, some expenses – such as food, utility bills, and travel – are everyday essentials and cannot be avoided altogether: if you’re keen to cut back on your day-to-day costs, here’s five great ways…
1. Cut the cost of your food shop
Problem: Without even realising it, your food shop can account for a significant chunk of your weekly outgoings.
Solution: In most cases, it’s possible to trim down the amount of money you spend on your groceries:
- Set a realistic budget, dependent on the size of your family, and then aim to stick to that figure
- Plan your week of meals carefully. Go to the supermarket armed with a list and only buy what you really need to avoid unnecessary waste
- Search online for meal prep and large batch cooking inspiration to save time as well as money
2. Cut down on little impulse buys
Problem: When you’re out and about, it’s easy to spend a few quid on little things but it can quickly add up. Write down every non-essential item you buy, in the course of a week, and then multiply by 52 – food for thought!
Solution: Be mindful of easy, convenient or tempting purchases when you’re on the go:
- Invest in a reusable insulated bottle and bring chilled water or a hot coffee from home (this also avoids single-use plastic containers which are bad for the environment)
- Pack healthy snacks and drinks for yourself and your family – don’t let the threat of ‘hangry’ tantrums persuade you to panic-buy goodies on the spot!
- Ignore the miniatures, promotional deals, magazines, and other goodies by the checkouts – they’re deliberately positioned there to tempt you into buying something that’s not a necessity
3. Drive down your gasoline spend
Problem: Most households rely on a car – it’s part of modern life – but it can be costly.
Solution: There are ways to keep running costs as low as possible. Fuel is a regular outlay – here’s how to reduce your expenditure:
- Regularly check your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure – too low or high will use more fuel
- Avoid using the air conditioning unless you really need it, as this also uses up additional fuel
- Don’t fill the tank too much – this adds weight to your vehicle and ups your fuel consumption
- Fuel prices fluctuate, so register on a website like PetrolPrices.com or download the app to find the cheapest petrol and diesel in your local area.
4. Save money when you switch energy
Problem: Appealing introductory tariffs, that prompt you to sign up to an energy provider, are usually only valid for a limited period. After the initial term has passed, your bills can suddenly hike up unexpectedly.
Solution: MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis is an advocate of swapping between gas and electricity providers in order to get the best deal available:
- Use your annual energy statement to check tariffs on a couple of price comparison sites
- Head to MSE’s Cheap Energy Club – the team monitors the energy market for the lowest tariffs and will alert you if you’re over-paying for your gas or electricity
- Visit the Money Advice Service’s guide, for even more information about lowering your gas and electricity bills.
5. Shop around for insurance
Problem: Inexplicably, when your household, travel, or car insurance renewal rolls around, you could find that your premium has risen for no obvious reason – even if you haven’t made a claim. This is because insurers rely on a certain amount of consumer apathy, aided by the automatic renewal process.
Solution: As your renewal date approaches, check the proposed premium versus what you paid for the previous years’ cover – if your premium has increased:
- Visit a price comparison site to obtain like-for-like quotes – frequently, you’ll save a substantial amount by switching to another provider
- Contact your current insurer and give them a chance to match your most competitive quote in order to secure your loyalty
- Consider an insurer where you can bundle home and car insurance policies together for a discounted price
Go the extra mile to save
For the budget-conscious, shopping around, double-checking tariffs and surcharges, or simply cutting back can also save you money on:
- Mobile phones
- Landline phones
- Council tax
- Subscriptions and/or memberships
With a few tips and a little extra effort, the cumulative effect of trimming down your monthly expenses can add up to a saving of thousands of dollars over the course of a year – can you afford not to?
Dakota Murphey is a full-time Mother and independent writer. She has spent the past 5 years writing and advising other families on wealth management strategies. Find out what Dakota's been up to on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey.