Have you ever taken up a new job or promotion only to find that, despite greater pay, you still seem to have the same amount at the end of the month?
This has been a problem for many of us, and the reasons often come down to the unconscious choices we make in how we spend. With more money, we tend to have lower levels of stress and, while this is a positive in terms of mental health, it can lead us to a false sense of bravado when it comes to how we open our wallets.
If you don’t stress about money, then you think about it less, you worry about losing it less, and this can lead to us constantly spending a little more here and there which adds up to a considerable cost over the long-term.
So, how do we avoid this, and what other commonly underestimated tips could help us perform better financially? Here, we cover a few of the biggest savers for the diligent, to help you gather more for the really important things in life.
Perhaps the biggest concern in terms of daily losses comes from our intake of what is considered convenience food and drink. These are foods and drinks we have at work which could have been prepared earlier, but which we instead shell out money to buy on the day.
If you live and work in the city, then coffee is often the biggest drain on this front. A cheap cup from a chain store is going to cost you somewhere around £1.85, with many of us drinking at least two of these over the course of a day.
Using a little math, we know that this equals £3.70 each workday. Multiply this by the 253 workdays in a year and we’re looking at a yearly cost of £936.1, and that’s just for the cheap stuff.
For reference, we’ll use instant coffee, of which we use around 2 grams per cup. If we have 2 cups a day over the course of a work year, then that equals around 1012 grams of coffee, or just over a kilo. At around £4.45 per 100 grams of high-quality instant coffee, this means around £44.50 in a year for roughly the same quantity.
In other words, simply using a thermos with your own coffee supply can save you around £890 a year. That’s money that could otherwise be spent on something really important, and it’s only one example.
Lunch, while much more difficult to calculate, also falls into the same category of being a money waster. Just as with coffee, food bought in a store has massive mark-up and, just as with coffee, you can save a huge amount of cash making your own at home. This also means you can tailor your meals for your diet at the beginning of the day, and can better avoid whatever fatty (though admittedly delicious) treat might grab your attention at the store.
Going out for a day’s shopping is something we grew up with, and it’s an activity many of still perform a few times a month. Whether through sheer habit or the fact that we enjoy finding bargains, this is often set as our default choice, but it needn’t be.
The digital age and the inclusion of businesses within the online sphere have raised the level of competition to a whole new level. Now businesses know instantly about the prices of their competitors, and they also know that the customers are aware of these very same savings.
This has led many traditional businesses to open their doors to online trading and, going a step further, has led to some businesses avoiding physical storefronts entirely. These tend to be so successful because they severely reduce the costs which physical stores incur, from one-offs like setup and paint to ongoing costs such as sales staff.
Of course, it is also important to support smaller local businesses whenever possible, but, for major goods and services, this is the best first stop for one-off savings. Even if all this does is help you narrow down the physical store you want to visit, you’ll make savings in gas.
Bargain Hunt Everything
And, by everything, we mean everything. With the internet opening out the visibility of what different businesses and industries have to offer, the need to offer something better than the competition is stronger than ever.
Especially useful here are price-matches, where bigger chain businesses will come with the promise to match any other deal of their rivals. When you don’t want to or can’t purchase what you want online, this can help bring a lot of money off the top.
You don’t even need to shop around yourself to find these comparisons, as online services like PriceSpy can directly search through many major products to find the best deals for you.
While not as common, it is also possible to find websites with similar services for more specialised products. The online casino industry, for example, has dedicated pages to help gamers find the best bonus offers like free credit and spins. Online casinos might be on the larger side of specialised online industries, but equally dedicated albeit smaller websites cover almost anything else you can imagine.
Making a Habit
While all of the above points will prove helpful when properly applied, it is important to know your limits. Instead of jumping both feet into what can be a massive change of lifestyle, try to ease your way in. Make smaller changes every day, learn from your successes and your mistakes, and you’ll be far more likely to generate real and appreciable long-term savings and success.