Take a hammer to that piggy bank. Slip your hand behind the sofa cushion. Check your lottery numbers again, just in case…
Yep, there are so many frivolous, most often fruitless ways in which we try to scrape together those few extra pounds when accounts are running on empty. But let’s be honest for a second, rarely do they yield much more than coppers. And we all hate coppers, right? Instead, why not try a couple of seemingly innocuous, but actually rather thrifty, life hacks which can have a surprisingly large impact on your bank balance? It’s all incremental, of course, but a little goes a long way. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL small changes for everyday money saving.
ENERGY BILL EDITS
Did you know that there are a few low effort hacks that you can make to your behaviour around the home which can make a big difference cumulatively to your energy bill? It’s true.
Let’s start with the kitchen. Not all of the output in the heart of the home is strictly necessary. Try turning your oven off 10 minutes before you’re finished cooking to save on energy, as it stays hot long after the dial has been turned to zero. Or, simply use your oven less; harnessing the power of your microwave instead could apparently save you £60 per year. Who knew? Slow cookers are also an extremely energy efficient cooking appliance, needing a similar amount of juice as a light bulb to run. The list is seemingly endless; check out uSwitch’s guide here for more.
Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only place in the home using unnecessary energy. You can make a big reduction by layering up in the early Winter instead of immediately resorting to the thermostat when a chill hits the air. By switching down just one degrees celsius, you can save you £80 per year — and as we said, it all adds up. When it comes to showering, cutting your shower time down to 5 minutes instead of 15 can save you £98 per year — less singing and faster washing, we implore.
STORE FOOD PROPERLY
Sorry, we couldn’t stay away from the kitchen for long. When we’re packing food away in the fridge or freezer, we usually don’t think about how it’s stored. You should; the way that you put away your goods can have an impact on your energy bill.
It’s a simple matter of science; if you pack your freezer more tightly, it keeps more of the cold air in when you open the door. This means that the appliance doesn’t have to work as hard to lower the temperature again once the door is closed. The same applies to the refrigerator too — a full fridge requires less energy to stay cool than one that’s empty. If you’re struggling to pack your fridge or freezer full, filling it with newspaper can do the job. And remember not to open and close the door too often; you’ll be giving your appliances a lot of work to stay temperature consistent.
How you wrap, box and store your food can save money, too. We realise we mentioned the importance of a full fridge, but fill it too tightly and your expensive meats are more prone to spoilage; a little air circulation is needed to keep them at their best. Also, make sure your fridge is running between 1-4°C. Allowing meat to be in the ‘danger zone’ of temperature (that’s between roughly 5 and 63°C, guys) is going to put your stomach in the danger zone, too. Finally, and as a general rule, try to operate a first in, first out policy with the food in your fridge; that is, the items which you bought first should be eaten before those more recently purchased. That way, you won’t be wasting money on shopping when fruit, vegetables and meat go off unduly.
Even when we’re trying to save money, we all deserve a holiday now and then. The good news is that there are ways to lessen the expense both when booking and actually on your trip.
Try and fly out on a Friday if you can, this can save you 18% on your airfare compared to if you flew out on a Sunday. Taking into consideration the average cost of a flight and the fact that the average Brit goes on holiday three times a year, you could save £85 annually by following this tip. Be calculative about when you book your holiday too. You can save £36 per year by booking your trip on a Monday as flights are 5% cheaper.
Consider packing more economically too. You can save £144 per year by only taking hand luggage on your flights. Squeeze more into your suitcase by rolling clothes and stuffing garments in your shoes, and by reading our top tips on space saving packing here.
PRUDENT MEAL PREP’
Being prepared when it comes to grocery shopping and planning lunches for the week can help save on cash. Even making a shopping list before you head to the supermarket can help. In fact, 60% of people who take a shopping list to the supermarket said it saves them money. This could be because it prevents those impulse purchases which afflict us all when doing our groceries on an empty stomach.
Create a meal plan for the week, too. This means that you’re only buying what you need and don’t need to spend money on unexpected lunches out or ingredients which end of gathering dust in the cupboard. Statistics have shown that you can save an impressive £1,300 per year by preparing lunch at home rather than eating out during the week.
Yep, we’ve heard it all before; that coffee drinking on-the-go contributes hugely to going over budget each month. Fortunately, there are a few ways to save money in this respect, with the added bonus that it’s much more eco-friendly, too.
First of all, and sure it sounds simple, but you can start by making your coffee at home when you can, saving you £507 per year by cutting out the daily commute’s Costa (other coffee retailers are available). If you prefer coffee from the store, why not take your own cup? This helps the environment and you can save £150 per year as many high street retailers now offer 50p off coffee when you present your own cup. Result!
So, make the small changes above and watch your pennies turn into pounds this year! For more saving tips, check out True Potential Investor’s Life Hacks interactive.