There’s nothing more frustrating than checking your bank each week and thinking “Where has all my money gone?!” Whether you overspent when you were out for food or drinks with friends, bought one too many takeaway coffees on the way to work, or just seem to be spending more than necessary on your weekly food shop, there are some great hacks out there to help you save a few more pennies on each of your purchases.
To give you a helping hand, here are 10 top ways to spend less money:
1. Get creative in the kitchen
We’re all guilty of taking the easy way out and popping to the nearest supermarket on our lunch break to pick up a meal deal, but this is going to drain your bank account quicker than you might realise. £3 a day doesn’t sound like a lot, but five days a week quickly becomes £60 per month. For the same amount you spend on your meal deal each day, you could easily prepare two days’ worth of lunches at home to take into work with you. Have a look for some delicious recipes online and get cooking! Salads, pastas, jacket potatoes.. the options are endless (and far more exciting than a store-bought sandwich).
2. Become your own barista
In lockdown many of us mastered the art of the at-home coffee. With countless TikTok videos showing us how to re-create our favourite coffee shop drink, it’s easier than ever to save money on your daily coffee. Purchasing a bottle of your favourite coffee syrup and a milk frother will give you the same coffee experience for a mere fraction of the cost.
3. Actually check your bank account
We’re all guilty of refusing to look at our bank after making a few big purchases (who wants to see that kind of money leave their bank?!), but it’s so important to stay on top of what comes out when. The more you check your bank, the more aware you will be of the money you have and it will therefore help you budget better and consider purchases before swiping for contactless.
4. Make the most of happy hour
Everyone loves going out for a few drinks with their friends or colleagues on a Friday night, but it often comes with a big bill at the end of it. Cut the costs by making the most of happy hour at bars near you where you can usually get drinks at a reduced cost, or even buy one get one free. It will make such a big difference and your bank account will thank you for it!
5. Share streaming accounts
I think everyone is guilty of stealing their roommate’s or family member’s Netflix password, but there’s often an option for a family streaming account where you can have multiple people on each account per household. That way you can all pool together for your favourite streaming service, and it will come out cheaper than if you were to pay for a singular accounts each.
6. Question whether you really need your gym membership
This isn’t one for everyone, but for those of you out there that signed up for a gym membership, went consistently for about a month and now go once every blue moon, consider cancelling it. There are thousands of online home workout videos that you could follow when you want to exercise, rather than forking out money each month for a membership you don’t use.
7. Delete your card information from your gadgets
We all know how convenient it is to have autofill on for your card details on your smartphone and smartwatch, but that’s entirely the point; it’s a bit too convenient! If you have to manually fill out all the information each time you want to purchase something, it will give you the time to debate whether or not you actually need what you’re buying.
8. NEVER go food shopping on an empty stomach
This is rule number one for whenever you go food shopping. An empty stomach will definitely influence what you put in your shopping trolley, and you’ll most likely get home and think “Why did I get that?” So only ever head to the supermarket after you’ve eaten or squeeze in a quick snack beforehand.
9. Go to the dark side
No, we don’t mean you should channel your inner Darth Vader, but just make sure things are turned off when you’re not using them. As we don’t immediately see the cost of leaving gadgets and the switch turned on, you won’t really think twice about the lamp you accidentally left on while you were out at work, but in reality it could add a fair bit to your electricity bill over the course of the year if you do it often. Rather than keeping your main lights on when it gets dark, opt for lower cost lamps or even candles. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll also feel much more relaxed! You can also make the switch from old incandescent light bulbs to new LED bulbs which can allow you to make huge savings – especially as LED bulbs tend to last 20x longer. Or just remember to turn the lights off when you’re not at home or in rooms you’re not using.
10. Unsubscribe from retailer mailing lists
While being on mailing lists is great for getting early access to discounts and sales, it’s encouraging you to spend money when you might not necessarily have wanted to do so. Do yourself a favour and unsubscribe before your bank account starts to look significantly emptier.
Rick Harris is director of money-saving website www.offeroftheday.co.uk, which pulls together the best offers from some of Britain’s leading retailers.