Saving money probably ranks right up there with joining a gym in people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions, hopefully though now we’re in February, that determination hasn’t faded. The good news is that there are lots of ways to go about saving money which are much less effort than sweating it out in a gym. Here are 7 of them.
Write down your savings goals and put them somewhere very visible
Admittedly this isn’t a money-saving technique per se, but it can help to keep you on track. It can be a whole lot easier to take action to save money when you can see how it helps to move you towards a goal. You could even create tickboxes and/or a graph to track your progress.
Downsize your mobile
Think hard about how you really use your mobile and what you actually need before buying a new phone at all and if you do decide you need an upgrade, look carefully at how to get the best value for your purchase. You may very well find that buying a mobile yourself and going for a SIM-only deal, or even PAYG, works out cheaper (and more flexible) than taking out a new (2 year) contract.
Buy a water filter (and a SodaStream)
This one depends on where you live but if you’re one of the many people in the UK who lives in a hard-water area and you are currently buying bottled water because you find it more pleasant to drink, then ditching shop-bought water for home-filtered water will be good for both your wallet and the environment. Regardless of where you live, if you like bubbles in your water then a SodaStream will add them at home, saving you money and cutting down on plastic.
Rationalise your coffee
If you really want to save money then ditching coffee-shop coffee for home-brew is the best way to go. If, however, that’s one step too far for you, then at least ditch the takeaway cups (which, generally speaking, are neither recycled nor recyclable, in spite of what may people think) and take your own to a shop which offers a discount to customers who bring their own mug.
Take advantages of libraries (going digital)
Again this will depend on your habits and where you live, but if you like reading then save space and money by only buying your favourite books to keep at home and picking up casual reading from your library. Some libraries are now also offering the opportunity to borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks (as opposed to the ones on CD). Many libraries also offer a selection of audiobooks on CD, music CDs and DVDs. Why buy them when you can borrow them for free?
Ditch the gym membership (and buy a bicycle and/or some workout DVDs)
If you really are going to the gym regularly and it’s the only practical way for you to practice your favourite form(s) of exercise and/or you really enjoy the social scene, then fair enough. If, however, you’re paying a monthly subscription for facilities you hardly ever use then it’s time to stop kidding yourself and ditch it. Instead of spending money on a gym subscription, you could buy yourself a bicycle, which could also provide some handy transport and/or some workout DVDs.
Do more cooking
Take a look at the price of a basic sandwich such as cheese or egg mayonnaise. Then think about how much the ingredients costs (even at retail prices, before volume discounts). Yes, there will have been a cost for labour, but making a standard sandwich is hardly a highly-skilled job and yes you’ll have to add on a bit for packaging and transport, but even so, it’s hard to avoid the impression that shop-bought sandwiches are usually extremely expensive for what they offer. Similar comments apply to ready-meals and other convenience foods.