With UK inflation rising and energy, house and food prices soaring, the cost of living is putting an almighty squeeze on household finances and living standards.
This financial strain, on top of the modern day stress of juggling a career with relationships, families and friends could leave thousands of professionals with physical or mental health problems in the not too distant future
The thought of not being able to pay for essential household items such as food and bills could trigger anxiety, panic and sleep loss. With less disposable income, your social life or relationships could also be impacted, potentially leaving you feeling lonely or isolated.
A study of 10,000 participants by the Money and Pension Service found that 31% of people have low financial wellbeing and 36% claimed that they felt worried when thinking about money.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled our top 20 money saving tips to help ease the financial strain and increase your financial wellness.
Ask for a pay rise
With UK inflation and the cost of living soaring, now might be the time to have a conversation with your employer about a pay rise.
Most employers are more likely to give you a raise if you have been with the company for at least a year or more. If you have been with the company for a number of years, you could ask for a pay rise once a year.
Ask for extra hours
If you’re feeling the pinch, why not ask your employer if there are any extra hours available? Take a look at the way the company is currently operating and ask yourself if there is something which you could be doing during those extra hours to make a real difference. How could they refuse you?
Ask for more responsibility
If you’re ready and capable of taking on more responsibility, why not speak to your manager? When having the conversation, treat it like you’re the owner of the company.
Be confident, demonstrate your capability and highlight the impact which you will make to the company if you’re promoted.
Once your manager is on board with the concept, it’s time to negotiate a pay rise to reflect your increased responsibilities.
Start a side hustle
One way to bring additional revenue into your household is to start a side hustle. Could you start a drop shipping business? Begin freelancing? Offer consultancy? Become an Instagram influencer?
Whatever your passion is, make sure it doesn’t end up costing you money. A new business will often require some financial input and if the business plan is poor, you could end up financially worse off.
Declutter your outgoings
Take a look at your bank statement and ask yourself honestly if there are outgoing payments which don’t need to be there. Are you buying an overpriced lunch every day instead of planning ahead? Do you make impulsive purchases in the middle of Lidl during the big shop? By recognising where you are unnecessarily spending money, you can start to make changes.
Say goodbye to streaming services
We live in a world where on demand TV is a luxury which we will pay for. Amazon Prime, Netflix, BritBox, Disney Plus, Sky, Spotify are just a few of the streaming giants which are available for between £10 and £25 each month.
If you are struggling financially, cancelling some or all of your subscriptions could help you to save a significant amount of money.
BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub and All 4 (Channel 4 On Demand) are free services (if you pay for your TV licence) which you could watch instead.
Sign up for loyalty cards
If you regularly shop at a retailer, restaurant or supermarket, sign up for loyalty cards to build points which can eventually be converted into money off vouchers. If you will be making the purchase regardless, you may as well collect the points as you go and reap the rewards.
Why not accumulate the points throughout the year and use the money off vouchers to ease the financial strain of Christmas?
Here’s just a few major chains which offer loyalty programs.
Supermarkets: Tesco Clubcard, Morrisons More, Marks & Spencers Sparks Card, Nectar Card and Lidl Plus.
Health & Beauty: Boots Advantage Card, Superdrug Health & Beautycard and Holland & Barrett Rewards For Life.
Fast food and drink: Subway Card, Nando’s card and Starbucks Card.
Use price comparison websites and shop around
If you’re buying anything (physically or online) use a price comparison website or shop around first.
It’s especially important for things such as house, car & life insurances and broadband & energy providers as these can wildly vary in price.
If your contracts auto renew (which they often will these days), keep on top of the renewal dates so you can shop around. Prices on auto renewals will usually be a lot more than what you were originally paying.
Get cash back
If you’re about to make any online purchase, before you do it, take a look at cashback sites such as TopCashback and Quidco. You could earn hundreds of pounds each year which is available to withdraw as cash directly into your bank account.
Thousands of retailers and service providers are listed including everything from flights, to car & pet insurance to gas & electricity providers. You’ll need to register before you can use them.
Leave your online shopping in the cart overnight
If you’re tempted to make an online purchase, pop it in the cart and leave it overnight. If you’re still as eager the next day, go ahead and make the purchase.
Often a quick impulse can lead to overspending; a cooling off period might make you realise that you didn’t want it as much as you initially thought.
When an item is left in a cart for a period of time, some retailers will even send you a discount code as an incentive to hurry the sale along which can help you to save more money.
Transfer your credit card debt
If you're making large interest payments on credit card debt, it might be wise to move it all onto a 0% balance-transfer credit card.
These credit cards won't charge any interest on transferred debts for a certain time period which could give you the opportunity to repay any money owed. If you choose to do this, be careful as the interest usually jumps up at the end of a promotional period. Pay the balance off in full to avoid this from happening.
Make the swap
If your supermarket food bill is spiraling out of control, try swapping branded products with a supermarket own version. You might be surprised with the quality and often, unbranded products win blind taste tests.
Switching from supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons to supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl can also increase your weekly savings. A 2021 survey found that on a 33 item shop, Lidl was £10.24 cheaper than Tesco.
Watch The Martin Lewis Money Show
This year, Martin Lewis was awarded a CBE for services to broadcasting and consumer rights in the Queen's New Year Honours. The Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV is packed with helpful financial tips in areas such as benefits, pensions, inflation and debt. Previous episodes can be watched for free on the ITV Hub.
Sell things which you don’t use
eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, auctions and car boot sales are a quick way of making cash. Certain things will sell better than others so it’s worth checking out what things are selling for before taking the time to list them.
Before listing an item, consider selling fees, listing fees and delivery charges to work out exactly how much you will be left with. eBay in particular will take a cut of your profit but you have a wider geographical area in which to sell to.
It is free to list your items on Facebook Marketplace and you could eliminate delivery postage charges but you will likely only attract people in your area to sell to.
If you are selling anything, make sure you get the (not counterfeit) money upfront. It has been known for scammers to target sellers on these types of sites.
Reduce your fuel costs
Making small changes could help you to reduce your fuel costs. Remove any excess weight from your car, avoid using the heating and air conditioning and ensure your tyre pressure is at the right level.
If you’re able to work from home, reducing your commutes will also help you to keep fuel costs down. Alternatively look into carpooling to share fuel costs.
Check what you’re entitled to
Billions of pounds of government benefits and allowances are left unclaimed every year. Spend some time on the Government website or on a benefits calculator to see what you are entitled to.
Changing banks can seem like a scary and long winded task but it’s actually easier than you think and banks regularly offer free cash sums to attract new customers.
You should always check the T’s and C’s and make sure the account is right for you before you switch.
Buying countless birthday and Christmas presents can be a financial struggle. Why not speak with your friends and family to implement a ‘no presents for adults’ rule and a strict spend limit for kids presents? You never know, your nearest and dearest might be relieved that you have raised the subject.
Alternatively, look into secret Santa's or homemade presents to reduce costs.
Borrow or rent rather than buy
If you’re in need of a particular item which isn’t available through a second hand store or charity shop, consider renting or borrowing instead.
Mooch or Badlee are apps that let you borrow useful items from nearby people. Meanwhile Rotaro, HURR and Hirestreet are sites which allow you to rent clothes which is particularly handy if you need an outfit for a special occasion. This trend is particularly fashionable with eco-conscious consumers.
Quit bad habits
They might seem like small purchases but regular bad habits could add up over time. Smoking 10 cigarettes a day could cost you up to £2,000 a year. Buying a £8 bottle of wine every day could cost you just short of £3,000 a year. Even your Starbucks habit could be costing you up to £1,000 per year.
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