Today’s post is all about how to Stop Wasting Money. If you’re serious about getting your finances in check then identifying areas where you’re wasting money is one of the best places to start. Cutting back in these areas can be the difference between spending more than you earn and having a bit extra left to save each month.
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1. Ditch Expensive TV Packages
This is one of the simplest ways to cut your monthly bills. If you’re currently paying for a subscription TV package such as Sky or Virgin, then you can look at cutting this straight away. Even the most basic Sky package costs £22 a month, and that’s an introductory deal.
If you’re struggling for cash – this is one of the first places you should look at cutting back! You don’t need to give up decent TV either. If you’ve got a decent internet connection, switch to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon or Now TV. All of these come in at under £7 a month with a free introductory period.
What’s more, all the streaming services below let you cancel at any time. If you fancy slashing your TV costs take a look at my guide to cheaper alternatives to Sky TV.
2. Stop Paying Credit Card Interest
If you’ve got credit card debt with an interest rate – ditch it right now. Get it switched to a 0% deal like yesterday! Credit card interest rates are extortionate if you don’t manage them right. That being said, 0% credit card deals are great for slashing the costs of any debt you have if you use them properly. Just make sure if you’re switching to pay it off – cut the new card up and set up a monthly payment to make sure you clear the balance by the end of the term.
I used this trick for years as a gradually cleared the debt I built up at Uni and didn’t have to pay a penny of interest on it as a result. If I couldn’t clear the debt by the end of the term, I switched to another deal to avoid paying interest.
Take a look at this page on Money Saving Expert to find the best current deals.
3. Don’t Get the Latest Mobile Phone
Are you on a pricey mobile phone contract so you can have the latest iPhone? If you are this is another area to cut back on. This is a luxury item and you can get a mobile phone deal for under £10 a month with a decent smartphone. So, if you’re paying £40 plus you can save £30 a month – that’s £360 a year…
Try using this handy comparison tool from uSwitch to find the cheapest deals.
Some of the cheapest contract deals around are from Tesco Mobile from £7 a month and Virgin at £7.50 a month. GiffGaff is also a great choice if you’re happy with your current phone and just want a SIM only deal. You can get one of these for a bargain £5 a month with Giff Gaff.
4. Shop Around for the Best Deal
When you’re buying something new make sure you’re getting the best deal. This is especially easy to do with online shopping these days. Take a look at my post for more tips on getting the best deals online. The post covers 16 tools and tricks for getting the best deals when shopping online.
5. Cut Down on Takeaway Food and try a Fakeaway
How many takeaways do you currently have a week? If you’re a takeaway fan, then cutting back on these can vastly improve your finances. Let’s say you spend £40 a week having a single takeaway for a family of 4 – that equates to over £2000 a year just in takeaways! Cut this to once a fortnight and you save £1000 a year or around £80 a month. Cut it to once a month and you save around £1,500 a year!
Now there are plenty of alternatives too. “Fakeaways” have become popular in the last few years to improve your diet and lose weight. But, they’re also great for your wallet as well as your waistline.
If you’re looking for inspiration take a look at this Chicken Jalfrezi recipe and give your tastebuds a treat!
6. Replace the Coffee to Go
Do you pick up a Starbucks or a Costa Coffee on your way into work every day? If you do, then this could be draining your bank balance massively. £3 x 5 days be per week is £15 per week just on coffee. Multiply this by 52 weeks and you’re spending over £750 a year just on takeaway coffee. Do yourself a favour and cut these out. If you need a coffee for your commute, try investing in a coffee flask.
7. Ditch the Bottled Water
Why pay for something when you can have it free? I’ve always begrudged paying for bottled water and have never really got why so many people buy it for home use – it makes no sense to me. Not to mention the plastic used to produce bottled water – Brits use a staggering 7.7billion single-use plastic water bottles a year but very few are recycled (The Guardian)
If you buy this for home use, this is a really easy fix – stop buying it! If you’re worried about the quality of tap water invest in a filter and keep it in the fridge… If you need it when you’re out and about – get more organised and take a water bottle. This will save you loads over the course of a year.
According to TapWater.org the average person will spend £25,000 on bottled water over the course of their lifetime – WOW!!! And, when compared to the cost of tap water, bottled water costs 500 times more. This is the equivalent to paying £1500 for a pint of beer or a glass of wine. Would you do that? I know I wouldn’t!
Take a look at this post from Moneystepper which gives a great argument for ditching bottled water
8. Stop Buying Microwave Meals
Yeah, yeah, I know they’re convenient. They’re also unhealthy and expensive for what they are. Cook from scratch and benefit from healthier food and lower costs. If you struggle making meals in the evening when you get home from work, try investing in a slow cooker.
If you’re looking for some ideas this post lists 9 slow cooker meals for families for under £1 a head.
9. Switch Away from Branded food
Switching to own label supermarket food it one of the simplest ways of cutting your grocery bill. Most of the time you won’t even notice the down switch either. If you’re worried about taking the plunge taste test a few items each week – if you like the switch stick with it.
10. Cut-out the Designer Clothes
This is another massive drain on a lot of people’s finances. I’ve personally never bought loads of designer clothes, but I know plenty of people who do. If you’re looking for ways to trim your spending this could be a lucrative hunting ground.
Now, one of the arguments you’ll often here is “They’re worth the extra cost as they’re better quality”. While researching this post I found a bit a split consensus. A lot of people swear by spending more on clothes because they last longer and cost you less in the long run.
Then I found this article that revealed a new study from the University of Leeds. The study revealed that cheaper clothes actually last just as long (or even longer) than more expensive designer clothes.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be sticking with my mantra of avoiding pricey designer clothes.
11. Stop Paying for Unused Gym Membership
Did you know, Brits waste a staggering £558m a year on unused gym membership? In a poll of 1000 gym a couple of years ago, 11% of gym goers admitted they’d never been over the course of the year, depsite paying an average of £47 a month. That’s £564 a year on unused gym membership. Are you one of them?
Want to keep fit but don’t want to pay for expensive gym membership? Take a look at this post from Save the Student for some great free ways to keep fit
So, there you have it. My list of 11 ways you can stop wasting money every month so you can start saving. How do you save money? Are there other things you stopped buying to save money? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.