With 2018 upon us, many of us are looking at ways to save money throughout the year. Whether it is to pay off debts, save for a holiday or to build up an emergency fund, we could all do with saving more money. Here are five great ways to save money in 2018.
Set a budget
The top thing you need to do in order to save money in 2018 is to set a budget.
Your budget should reflect your actual outgoings, not the best case scenario.
Once you have all of your income and outgoings in one place, you can see whether your income covers your outgoings.
If they don't then you will need to find ways to increase your income or decrease your outgoings.
Utilise open banking
Open Banking is now rolling out across the United Kingdom as of 13th January 2018. This is really exciting because Open Banking is going to put more power in our hands again, helping us to manage our money better.
If you haven't heard of Open Banking, it forces banks to open up customer data (such as our current account information including transactions) to third parties after we, as customers, have given our consent – it doesn’t just happen automatically. This might sound really scary, however it is done through secure APIs and bank level security.
I have been test driving Yolt, who are challenging us to Unthink Money. They want us to change the way we think about money by providing an app that is full of smart, actionable insights into our money. Despite Open Banking only rolling out on the 13th January, Yolt has had this cracked and been providing their service since last year.
Yolt works by downloading the app and then connecting up your bank account(s). Once connected you will be shown your transactions groups by category, including:
And many, many more.
You can also create your own personal tags, so if there isn't a category for you, you can still organise your spending and tag it with whatever you want.
Yolt are very security conscious, with your security being their highest priority. First of all you open the app using a five digit pin or your fingerprint. Your privacy is also respected, and Yolt has been designed to provide their amazing insights whilst still keeping your details private. They also don't sell on your data.
You can also set up budgets for the categories on Yolt, helping you to be more in control of your spending.
If you want to see immediate results from saving money then meal planning is for you.
Meal planning might sound really boring – who wants to plan exactly what they are eating next Friday night anyway? I can assure you that it isn't, and it still gives you some flexibility.
I meal plan by heading to my kitchen and seeing what I already have, then jotting down 7 dinner ideas using the ingredients I have at home already. I then make a shopping list of the items we still need, and then I'll decide every morning what we will have for dinner.
Meal planning saves you money at the supermarket because you are only buying what you need and now what you think you need. It also helps to reduce your food waste.
Amazingly, you can see results from your very first week! Some weeks we only need to buy bread, milk as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, keeping our shopping to less than £10 for that week.
Switching utility providers
If the thought of switching your utility providers fills you with dread (perhaps you have had bad experiences in the past) then don't let it!
The average person saves £200 by switching providers, showing that loyalty to your utility provider doesn't pay.
You might think that it it a daunting task, but it really isn't, and it takes less time than you think.
Switching providers doesn't have to be a faff, and it is something that Yolt can help with too!
Yolt will cleverly know when a transaction is for gas and electric, and together with their partner Runpath, they will compare major UK suppliers to see whether there are better offers for you – and most of the time you can switch over easily online to start making savings.
Spread the cost of Christmas 2018
Christmas happens every year, yet come December many of us are hit with panic when our finances don't quite stretch to covering the cost of Christmas. This can lead to taking on extra debt, bringing it into the new year with you.
One of the best ways to save is to divide the cost of Christmas by 12 and save that amount monthly, but if you can't commit to the full amount right now, you can look at making other savings or even boosting your income with some side hustles like online surveys and mystery shopping.
Start thinking ahead to Christmas 2018 right now, which is another thing that Yolt can help you with! You can divide your Christmas budget into smaller budgets, such as presents, food, cards, travel and more.