Unless you have been living beneath a large rock, you’ll know that the cost of living has surged exponentially, leaving Brits with a big problem: affording stuff. In light of this, we have gathered our five greatest recommendations on how to save your pennies during this crisis so have your piggy bank poised.
Do Away with Services You No Longer Need
Are you paying for the gym out of guilt and not actually going? Or not going enough to justify the cost? Cancel it. Alternatively, switch to a cheaper membership or a more economical pay-as-you-go service. Make sure to check to see how much you are paying on a monthly basis for streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime and Spotify, and ask yourself: do you really need it all? Can you live for a while with free, advert-ridden Spotify and the reliably free BBC iPlayer and All4? In case the answer is “yes”, you know what to do.
Shop Smarter and Cheaper
Where we used to glide around supermarkets hurling things into the trolley as we went, we can now barely afford the pound that slots into the trolley to release it. Supermarkets have been the epicentre of rising prices, with many no longer affordable for the average Briton. The solution? Try switching to budget supermarkets like your Aldis and your Lidls and opting for own brands rather than branded items. Who can really tell the difference between Lurpak and Norpak anyway?
Avoid the little local supermarkets which ramp up the prices for the luxury of convenience. Another way to avoid wasting money on food shops is by planning exactly what the week’s meals will be and shopping according to this schedule. Doing this will ensure no money is splashed on excess food you don’t need, which largely ends up in the rubbish anyway.
Finally, remember to sign yourself up for money-saving discount cards such as the Club Card or Nectar card, which could allow you to save considerably over a year’s worth of grocery shops. In addition, checking reduced food sections within supermarkets is a secret saving hack. Often, the fridges are packed with products that bear the yellow reduced stickers, which can see a product fall in price by several pounds if it is on the cusp of expiry or the packaging has been rendered unfit for sale at retail price.
Save on Energy
At the heart of the cost of living crisis is the astronomical increase in energy bills. Now more than ever, you should be vigilant with the amount of energy you are using at home. This means switching off lights and not leaving fans on all night during the summer, even making sure you charge your phone during the day when you can keep an eye on it, rather than through the night as you sleep.
Don’t forget to switch off plug sockets as you leave the house and unplug devices like Alexas and Google Nests that are otherwise always switched on but lying dormant. Another key tip to saving on bills during the summer season is hanging your clothes out to dry rather than using the tumble dryer, and avoid putting on the dishwasher unless it is a full load.
As far as saving on water bills, remember to keep showers brief and baths infrequent, and minimise the amount of time you leave a tap running. When it comes to washing clothes, try washing your load in colder temperatures where possible, or at the very least, switching to an express wash or energy-efficient option.
Review your Monthly Outgoings
In the same way that it is important to check what you’re paying for luxuries like streaming services and the gym, you should also review your contracts for the basics like your phone and broadband.
According to stats, there are currently tens of millions of people out there still paying their regular monthly payments for contracts that have long finished. This is a colossal waste of money, so check your contracts! See if they have ended or how long they have before expiring, and then make sure you cancel them when they do.
With mobile phone contracts, SIM-only deals are a far cheaper solution once your phone has been paid off. When it comes to broadband, have a browse of market comparison tools to see if you’re getting the best deal – if you aren’t, it may be worth switching to a different provider.
Change the Way You Drive
Petrol prices have hit record highs. Naturally, the best tip of all is to use your car as infrequently as possible, walking or cycling where possible or hopping on public transport to get you from A to B. If that’s not possible, minor adjustments to the way you drive could have a huge impact on your monthly spending.
Try filling up your car with fuel from supermarket petrol stations such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s – these tend to be marginally cheaper and take you further. Furthermore, changing gears often, not revving, sticking to the speed limit and temporarily switching off the engine as you are stuck in gridlock traffic or parked up waiting for somebody will reduce the frequency with which you need to fill up your car with petrol. If you’re just running into the house to get something, switch off your engine, as leaving it on is a great waste of petrol.
Some advice that requires a great deal more consideration than any we have offered so far is investing in an EV. It seems ironic to recommend splurging a lot of money in a post about saving as much money as possible; that being said, purchasing an EV is a guaranteed way to save money in the long term by splashing out in short. Fully charging an EV only costs around £4 on average, and you won’t need to charge your vehicle all that often, so you’ll spend considerably less than you would with a petrol or diesel model. Moreover, nowadays, charging points are as accessible, if not more accessible, than petrol stations. And thanks to a handy car charger app, finding a local charging point from a specific EV charging company has never been easier.
Times are hard, and between the pandemic, the looming threat of world war and the cost of living crisis, it can feel at times like we can’t catch a break. However, what we do with our money is among the limited things we can control, so, though our tips may appear very simple and obvious, practising them in your day-to-day life could enable you to save in significant ways in this climate of a financial crisis.