We all know how easy it is to see our hard earned money wither away just days after payday. For the most of us, having at least some kind of budget in place is essential to maintain a good quality of life all month round. Living for payday really isn’t the way to be, especially when that means that having your last week of the month living almost in poverty. Given the average UK wage, it is more than possible to live a comfortable life, but we tend to waste an unreal amount of money on things we really don’t need, nor do we really want that much: it just happens in the spur of the moment. Following this guide you’ll be able to reduce your average monthly expenditure without seeing any drastic changes to the way you actually live.
- Reduce transport/commuting costs
The way that you travel to work or to university will really depend on where you live in relation to your destination; however, there is usually always an alternative. If you currently get the bus for 20 minutes, you could certainly switch that into a steady bikeride. If you drive for 30 minutes and your workplace is not too far away from a train station, you could take the train and probably be there quicker whilst saving yourself some money along the way. The key to saving money when commuting is by not being lazy – Save money; save the environment; be healthier.
- Switch your energy tariff
Switching your gas and electricity tariffs has never been easier. Using a comparison tool such as Money Supermarket or Selectra, you can easily see the cheaper tariffs available to you in an easy to understand manner. Make sure you enter your postcode details first, as prices will differ depending on where you live in the country. In order to be accurate, you need to see prices that are relevant to where your property is located, meaning, for example, that British Gas prices may be cheaper in Northern Scotland than in Merseyside.
Switching your energy tariff has proved to be a huge money saver and is becoming an increasingly commonplace practice. If you have never switched before, you could be saving yourself up to £500 per year, which is a huge saving for absolutely no change in your lifestyle.
- Switch to LED lightbulbs
If you live in an older house it is likely that you will still have older light bulbs in your house. Older, incandescent bulbs are being completely phased out worldwide, as they are extremely inefficient in comparison to the lighting technology that we have today. Switching your bulbs to LED or CFLs can reduce your lighting costs by up to 75%. Bearing in mind that the average household electricity bill is made up of around 15% lighting, this is quite the reduction. If you’re working on a tight budget, just switch the lightbulbs in the rooms that you use the most, such as the kitchen, bathroom and the living room.
- Downgrade your gym membership
If you currently have a gym membership, you may want to think about reevaluating your commitment to it. If you are only running or only doing cardio, you probably don’t need the expensive club-style membership that you may have. If you live in a large city, you will have access to a large variety of gym facilities, which means that you can shop around a bit. Most big gym chains such as David Lloyd and Bannatyne’s will cost you upwards of £50 per month, but if you switch to a basic gym, such as ‘The Gym’ or ‘Pure Gym’ which will have just as good facilities for what you want, you could be paying as little as £10 per month, an instant saving of £40 per month.
- Consider sharing paid entertainment services
If you know somebody who has a Netflix account or whatever service you would like to use, why not ask they if you could pay them to add your name onto the account, expanding the user size, making it cheaper for you both. If you both have a separate Netflix account for £9.99 per month, which allows two screens, why not upgrade to a ‘Premium’ account, which allows 4 screens and costs £11.99.
- Buy fresh produce
Buying fresh, healthier food might sound like it would cost more, as the quality of the food is generally better, but this is certainly not true. Buying ready meals and processed foods that are available in most UK supermarket chains can end up costing you some serious cash and you never really get the portion size you’d like. Buying fresh produce from a market or even the same supermarket and cooking for yourself could save you serious amounts of money over a large space of time.
- Cut down on bottled drinks
Buying bottles and cans of your favourite soft drinks can really add up. The average single can of coke has gone up to around £1 in the UK, which is more than a 100% increase in the last 10 years. Instead of drinking so many fizzy drinks, which are generally extremely bad for your health, bring a water bottle to work with you and just drink water all day. This doesn’t mean that you have to only drink water, but just try to replace a sizeable portion of your daily soft drink intake with water. You’ll notice both financial savings and an increase in your general health.
- Cook food in large batches
When you are cooking for yourself, instead of making just enough for your evening meal, cook enough for multiple meals. By doubling or tripling the amount that you were going to make, you’ll save time in cooking and money by utilizing the already apparent ingredients. This way, you can have your lunch prepared for the following two days or however you want make it work for you.