‘Earning more money’ is often right at the top of a person’s wish-list. A more comfortable lifestyle, nice things, exotic holidays – and certainly less debt. The truth is that more money can quickly disappear into everyday life spending – then ‘earning more’ goes back on to the top of the to-do list, leading to a vicious cycle of returns recurring in needing debt help and advice.
Any business owner will tell you that the money you bring in is only half of the story – like any business, people and homes have running costs too! The great thing about your personal running costs is that you’re in charge of them – and while there are some non-negotiables, there are a lot of things you can tighten the belt on without impacting your quality of life whatsoever.
Here are 8 great everyday ways of reducing your out-goings without huge sacrifices
Why not walk?
You may not realise but the first few miles driven in a car is likely to be far more expensive than the same number of miles as part of a longer trip. Starting the engine and doing a short journey means the fuel economy is significantly reduced over that short distance.
If you can avoid using your car for short trips you’ll see that tank of fuel start to last a lot longer! And there’s a health benefit to getting those extra steps in too!
Let nature dry your clothes!
There’s always that emergency moment where you realise something you need to wear is still wet in the washing machine – and for that the tumble drier can be a blessing, but it’s not uncommon for the drier to be used many times each day. Running a tumble drier can cost around 50p for every half hour it’s on – and lots of people are in the bad habit of cranking the dial around and forgetting it’s running.
Running a tumble drier can cost hundreds of pounds a year. Hanging washing out on a line or a clothes airer will bring this cost down and as a bonus – your clothes get that wonderful fresh feeling.
Beauty and the budget
Looking your best is often closely associated with feeling your best – and there’s no need to sacrifice the things that make you feel good. The great news is that there are ways to feel wonderful that are completely free. You might not realise that most towns and cities have colleges with hair and beauty departments. Students on those courses need real people for haircuts, manicures, massages and other lovely treatments. The best bit is, it usually won’t cost a penny – and is always watched over by a highly-experienced tutor.
You can check online if your local college runs those courses – if they do, don’t be afraid to ask – they’re often calling out for willing people!
Don’t be fooled by the little trolley
Whoever invented the miniature trolley in the supermarket is probably hailed as a hero in the industry – even though it looks like it’s designed for ‘a few things’, it’s incredibly easy to fit £100+ worth of shopping into one.
Shopping is an area where a person’s psychology plays an enormous part in how much you spend. You’re more likely to grab a little trolley – and you’re more likely to put additional things in that trolley than you are in a basket. If you’ve gone to the shop for a few things, get a basket and stick to the items you’re there for, impulsive spending is totally normal – and it’s proven to hugely inflate the cost of a quick shopping trip.
Look for vouchers – but be aware!
With so many retailers competing for your business you’ll find masses of incentives online to use this-supermarket, that-restaurant or a particular attraction. The reality is that these vouchers are designed to encourage people who don’t normally use that business to go there, hoping you’ll spend on extras. With that in mind, be careful, just because you’ve found a voucher doesn’t mean you should suddenly change your habits and begin dining out for example – but if you can find a voucher for something you’re going to be doing anyway, then it’s a great saving.
Cut the cost of days out
It’s almost incredible how much a family day out or romantic date can cost. Some leisure businesses are carefully designed to have you spending more money than you anticipated. If you’re planning a trip to an attraction or the seaside why not pack a picnic? Picnic style food that costs £10 in the supermarket is likely to cost double or triple that when you’re at the beach – and maybe even more if you’re at a theme park – and it’s a bonus not having to queue 15 minutes for a hotdog!
How many channels?!
A lot of people are paying subscription costs for TV channels they never watch. Package TV providers will often sign you up on a ‘bundle’ that includes movies, sports or children’s channels that you’re not using – and the cost can be quite surprising. Keep tabs on what you watch for a week and check against provider’s websites to see if you’re spending on things you’re not using.
If you are, deciding to downgrade can save serious money each month – but be prepared for talking to someone at the company whose job it is to keep you spending money! You might be told that they’ll offer you your current package at a reduced cost for a number of months, but remember, if you’re not using it it’s money that’s going directly down the drain.
Good old libraries!
On the subject of entertainment, when was the last time you went to the library? While it might not be at the top of your list for an action-packed day out, people are amazed at what libraries now offer. In most you can now borrow movies, console games and music – and kid’s sections are often really well equipped when it comes to engaging young readers.
So, what’s the total saving?
Individually these habits might not save you the money you need to clear that credit card bill or go on that 5-star beach holiday – but put them all together and it’s a positive start. When people start trimming back on the bad money habits they’ve fallen into they are shocked at how many expensive things have just become ‘the norm’. Starting to look at areas you can save money can become quite addictive – you can soon find yourself trimming back significant excess spending.