10 ways to be smarter with your money
Wish you had a bit more left in your bank account at the end of the month? Or are there things you’d like but it’s taking forever to save up for them? We’ve put together some tips to help you save money and make what you have work harder.
- Carry out a money audit
Knowing where your money actually goes makes it easier to spot where you could save. Dig out your latest bank statement and make a list of your incomings and outgoings. If you owe money, such as on credit cards, tackle this first before starting to save. Add up everything you owe, marking the interest rates so you know which debt costs the most.
- Set savings goals
Write down your savings plans – setting out the things you want to save for in the short, medium and long term. Writing them down can make it easier to re-motivate yourself if you start to veer off track. Work out how much you can realistically afford to save so you’re not taking the money back out again. There are also many budgeting apps and online tools out there and lots of them are free to use.
- Have a clear-out – sell, swap and recycle
Swapping items with friends can help you save a small fortune, and selling items you no longer use or taking unwanted clothes to clothes recycling shops can bring in money and boost your savings.
- Make small changes
Ditching your morning coffee purchase, walking or using public transport instead of driving, and cancelling your gym membership and going for a run instead – these may seem like tiny changes but the savings soon add up.
- Stick to cash
Try going to the cash point on pay day and taking out money for that week/month. You won’t be tempted to just put it on a credit card as you can only use the money you’ve budgeted for.
- Use different accounts for different goals
Setting up a few different savings accounts or savings pots could help you save more – for example set up an emergencies pot for when the boiler breaks, have separate savings accounts for the children, and get yourself a ‘treats’ pot when you want to treat yourselves to something nice.
- Make the most of loyalty cards
Voucher websites and discount apps can offer some fantastic bargains and short term offers. Making good use of store loyalty cards can also get you some great offers and discounts.
- Check your tariffs regularly
By checking your tariffs regularly, such as mobile, broadband TV and energy bills you can make huge savings. A few minutes spent checking your options can be well worth it. It’s possible to save pounds each year by switching to another provider or negotiating a better deal with your current one. Just remember to check you won’t be charged for leaving a deal early.
- Do free things in your spare time
Activities don’t have to cost a fortune. Take your bikes to the park, go to a museum or the beach – and take a packed lunch with you to save even more.
- Talk to someone if you’re struggling
If you’re in money trouble, there’s loads of help and advice available. If you want help thinking about money matters and pensions, a good place to begin is MoneyHelper, the government-backed free guidance service. This service won’t tell you what you should do, but they’ll provide you with information to help you understand your options.