Want to make your money go further this year? These top tips can help you shake off bad spending habits, become a savvy spender and have a more positive approach to saving money.
A big part of saving money is having a positive frame of mind. It’s easy to ignore money problems when times are tough, or go for simple options like buying expensive takeaways instead of cooking.
We’ve all been there, but changing the way you save and spend money starts with some simple changes, and a different outlook. Here’s our top tips to get you started.
Have you ever used an ATM that charged you for taking out your own money, or accepted a card charge in-store just because it was convenient?
Let’s say you paid five £1.99 payment charges every month for a year: That’s around £120 you’ve lost in charges alone! This is a way of letting your finances slip away without even realising it.
Ask yourself: is it cheaper to take cash out elsewhere or pay with physical money to avoid a fee? It could help you save money in the long term.
When you start breaking down your regular costs, you start to see just how much convenience and bad habits can cost each year.
A good example is buying premium bottled water at work. Why not bring in your own bottle and fill it for free as an everyday way of keeping your finances in check?
You could even bring your own coffee into the office and save. You can get a jar of good coffee for around £4 or you can buy individual lattes for around £2-£3 for a single cup.
Brands have made an art of talking you to distraction with upsells. If you’ve ever been asked to upgrade your fast food meal to a large, or if you want optional extras, then you’ll know what we mean.
It sounds like you’re getting a great deal, and it’s a quick way to get a little more. But before you answer next time, take a second to think, ‘do I really need that extra thing?’
The same goes for impulse aisles – which can be great as a pick me up or treat – but not when you’re trying to stay in control of your money.
This one’s a classic, and we probably all know someone who’s been locked into a year-long gym membership that they barely use.
The same goes for streaming services or online gaming memberships. Many providers offer rolling contracts that you can cancel and sign up for again when money gets tight. It’s worth asking.
You could also look at your online banking to see how much memberships are costing each month, then ask yourself honestly which ones you really need.
Paying for things has become so easy it barely registers when we do it. Today you can make payments with a tap of a card, a thumbprint on your phone and a single click of your mouse.
This is like catnip for impulse buyers, who might not really take stock of just how much they’re spending on a whim. Thankfully, you have some control over your options.
If this sounds like you, it might be possible to turn off one-click purchases on your favourite sites and remove card payments from your phone. It’s worth a shot!
We’d probably all go mad if we didn’t allow ourselves to buy some treats each month, but it can become a problem if you start dipping into your essential funds.
If you’re worried about getting carried away, why not set aside an allowance for luxuries on pay day, and seeing if you can make it last a full month?
This will give you a clear, separate fund to spend on whatever you like, and you won’t find yourself struggling to pay bills because you spent too much on yourself.
The old slogan ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it,’ is technically true, but in reality the odds are never in your favour.
It might be tempting to have a punt when you hear the next lottery draw is a rollover, and buying some tickets might even feel like a way to solve your money problems.
It’s easy to get swept up in lottery hype, but it’s worth asking if the money is better spent on essentials when times are tight.
This one’s a bit similar to ditching bottled water, but there could be a health benefit too. It’s no secret that some pre-packed lunches have higher salt content and additives than clean, homemade food.
Next time you’re in Tesco, why not think about healthy lunches you can make at home for less?
If you’re trying to be better with money, try adding up how much you typically spend on lunch a week, then a month, and then a year – you might get an eye-opening shock!
If you’re not putting anything away each month, it might be because it ‘feels’ impossible, or you’re used to a particular quality of life.
There’s no shame in making cuts if you’re going to be happier and better off in the long run. It’s about starting small and testing the waters to see how much money you can comfortably get by on.
From there, you can try making more cuts until you find a budget that works for you. It might seem tough, but it’s all about breaking things down.
In the end, if you do have a budget plan, it’s probably going to get ignored form time to time. That’s perfectly fine, but being a good saver is all about tying your best, and not getting down about spending less.
Spending can give us a little impulsive thrill, but when you weight it up against feeling miserable or stressed about money at the end of each month – can you say it’s worth it?
We all view and spend money differently, and for others, saving money comes naturally. In the end though, it’s all about giving things a try, staying positive and talking to people or your bank if times get really tough.
Best of luck, and remember: you’re not alone!
The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert financial advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.