How do you save money when you’re short on time? Jane Taylor, mum of 2 and blogger at Maflingo.com, has plenty of smart tips for busy people.
Jane is a part-time debt adviser, freelance writer and founder/editor of the lifestyle blog Maflingo.com. She lives in Nottingham with her husband, 2 daughters and 2 guinea pigs.
As a busy mum, I know how hard it is to find time to review the household budget and look for ways to save money.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve discovered lots of ‘quick-fix’ money-saving tips that take little or no time to implement. In fact, many of them save me hours in the long-term, so I can spend time doing the things I enjoy, like being with my family and friends.
Want to be more financially savvy but can’t seem to find the time? Try these top 9 ‘quick fix’ money saving tips and start saving:
It only takes me 10 minutes to check through my bank and credit card statements each month and identify unnecessary spending. A few pounds here and there might not seem like much, but it soon adds up, costing hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
For example, buying a meal deal for lunch (£3.50), a latte (£3.00) and a parking ticket (£1.50) twice a week may seem insignificant, but that’s £16 a week and more than £800 a year.
Taking a flask of coffee to work, making a packed lunch and parking a little bit further away won’t take any more time than queuing for a latte, and it saves some money.
A review of my Direct Debits, Standing Orders and bank and credit card statements every month takes 15 minutes but it helps me identify money I’m owed and any subscriptions I no longer need.
For example, I recently discovered my credit card was charged twice for a jacket I bought (£43), I hadn’t been paid for a freelance job (£50) and I was paying a Direct Debit for a service I no longer needed (£7 per month).
It takes a few minutes to register and only adds a minute to the shopping process. Once logged in to the cashback website, I search for the retailer I want, click through to their website and earn commission every time I shop.
Sometimes the commission is a percentage of the price (up to 10%). Even if I only use cashback websites to purchase things like mobile phones and utilities, I can easily earn hundreds of pounds a year.
As well as saving money, price comparison websites save me valuable time by doing the hard work for me and finding me the best prices for goods and services.
Whether I’m looking for a new electrical appliance or a better energy deal, I use price comparison search engines like Google’s Froogle to check the prices at a wide range of retailers. Moneysavingexpert’s Megashopbot goes one step further, combining the results of 9 different price comparison search engines.
Scanning newspapers, magazines, product packaging and websites such as Myvouchercodes and HotUKDeals for vouchers, coupons and deals doesn’t take much time, but shaves pounds off the cost of my purchases.
Taking advantage of supermarket bulk-buy deals and batch cooking meals to store in the freezer is another great way to save money. Not only does it cut down my food preparation time, it also helps me reduce food waste.
I have no shame when it comes to haggling! I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to pay the price on the label. Once I’ve used a price comparison website to find the cheapest deal, I’ll haggle in high street stores or pick up the phone and haggle with insurance companies and TV and broadband suppliers, too.
The energy regulator, Ofgem, estimates the average household could save £200 a year by switching energy providers.
It takes me a maximum of 15 minutes every few months to run a quick search on a comparison website like uSwitch to make sure I’m on the cheapest energy tariff.
I usually opt for fixed rate tariffs as they protect me against energy hikes. I also make sure I search the whole energy market (not just the ones I can apply for via uSwitch) and look at single fuel as well as dual fuel deals. If I’m thinking of switching to another supplier, I always factor in any exit fees I may be charged.
Joining a library is an excellent way of saving money. Not only can I borrow and reserve thousands of books, I can also surf the net and borrow CDs and DVDs (a nominal fee may apply for the latter).
Even better, my library - like many others across the UK - offers free digital resources via subscription services such as Zinio and PressReader. This means I can access eBooks, magazines and newspapers from my laptop, tablet or smartphone, without having to leave home.
Although the range of titles varies, my library offers the latest editions of 175 electronic magazines, including Empire, Cosmopolitan, Hello and Good Housekeeping, completely free of charge.
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.