If you dread checking your bank account everyday, then it’s time to start thinking about where your money goes. Sure, we all overspend unnecessarily, from taking a trip to your local store to pick up one thing and coming back with a bag full of shopping, to going for drinks and unnecessarily having ‘one more for the road’.
But before you beat yourself up too much, it’s not your fault. According to research, humans are hardwired to overspend and behave irrationally, naturally, when it comes to managing money. While science proves you may not be able to control yourself all of the time, trimming your daily budget can truly add up to some super sizable savings. It’s time to take control of your spending. We’ve teamed up with the guys over at Stagecoach, who have reasonably cheap bus fares, to reveal 8 IDEAL ways to keep everyday costs down.
USE MONEY NOT CARDS
A contactless payment here, a swipe of the credit card there; sometimes it’s hard to know where all your money goes. Ditch the plastic and start paying with cash, it feels more tangible than using a card and is easier to monitor. Set up a realistic budget (otherwise your setting yourself up for failure) and withdraw your allowance for the week – then hide your debit card. You could even divide your cash into different purses – one for for food, one for rent and one for fun. If you run out of cash then it’s time to stop spending.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU TRAVEL
Whether you drive a car or commute to work by train, prices are only going up at the moment. So, think about changing the way you travel. This could even be as simple as changing your ticket type (split-ticketing, for example, involves buying a number of tickets for one long journey instead of one ticket). Or instead of buying a bus ticket every day, with a megarider ticket, for instance, you’ll be able to travel as much as you want and can potentially tailor the ticket type to your own travel needs. Whether you’re in need of a weekly bus pass for your travels, or a monthly one — you will find yourself making a saving in comparison to buying a ticket every day.
You could, of course, think about changing your mode of transport all together. Those who have their own vehicle will spend a whopping £168,880 on it over a lifetime. Breaking some of this down on a yearly basis; on average, petrol costs around £1,052.04 while servicing a vehicle costs can add up to £441, plus a whopping £145.80 on parking.
DRINK LESS FROM COFFEE SHOPS
The average Brit visits a coffee shop around three times every week – that’s 156 times a year with an average spend of £8.52. That’s before you consider travel expenses, which when totted up makes an annual average spend of £2,600, a majority of which could be saved if you were to opt for taking your own coffee to work. To put this in perspective with a cup brewed at home, a 250g pack of ground Douwe Egberts can make you up to 30 cups of coffee. When looking to see how much a 1kg pack would cost on Amazon (£15), each cup of coffee would cost around about 13p. So, try taking a flask to work. Plus you’ll be helping the environment by not using so many disposable cups. Simples.
You’re spending on average £2,796 a year and you’re killing yourself – enough said.
BULK COOK YOUR EVENING MEALS
Set aside some time on Sunday and make a few different dishes for the week. Put them in the freezer.You won’t be tempted with takeaways and going out for a ‘quick bite’ after work when you’ve got a delicious homemade meal waiting for you. Also, don’t be ashamed to be that person sifting through the reduced section – just freeze your bargains and use them to cook another time.
SWAP DINNER FOR DRINKS
You can still have a social live and save money at the same time. Instead of dinner, suggest going out for a few drinks instead – happy hour anyone? Or offer to cook some dinner for everyone (enter the tasty home cooked meal waiting for you in the freezer). If you really must eat out, go for dinner at BYOB restaurants – not paying for alcohol will save you a ton.
MAKE YOUR OWN LUNCH
Let’s face it, buying your lunch on-the-go is easy. It’s a convenient option – saving us our precious time to relax at home. But what if we told you that, on average, forking out for lunch every day could cost you £1,288 a year, according to research by VoucherCloud. Evidently, you could make a huge saving by preparing your lunch at home — whether this is making a quick sandwich, eating your leftovers from last night or even batch cooking some soup at the weekend.
PRACTICE DELAYED GRATIFICATION
Repeat after us – never buy on impulse. Instead of buying something from the shop that you’ve fallen for – stop. Bookmark it, go home, sleep on it and reconsider. Chances are you don’t like it half as much as you thought when looking at it through a different lens. That said, one way to keep down your costs is to treat yourself. A little bit of frivolous spending here and there will help you feel less restricted. But this one takes some self-restraint.