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On the path to financial freedom, I’ve been looking into two crucial areas: how I can make more money, and how I can save more money.
I’m a big advocate for a side hustle or two in order to make more money, and believe there’s a side hustle for everyone – so much so, I’ve even put together a free eBook on ’50 Side Hustles You Can Start Today’, which you can download at the bottom of this post.
But what about saving money? This can almost feel more challenging than making more money – especially if you’ve already cut out any extras in your budget.
Well, I certainly don’t believe in cutting back completely on things that truly bring you joy in order to one day be financially free – but I am definitely here to encourage you to cut back on areas that maybe aren’t quite so important, so you can save more, invest more, or allocate that spare cash to something you really, really want.
So, how can you save more money today?
Review your food shopping habits
Let’s start with an easy one – review your food shopping habits, and analyse where you can save money. It really could be as simple as switching supermarkets, meal-prepping, or batch-cooking, but could make a huge difference to your monthly food bill.
By switching from shopping at our local Sainsbury’s, to driving 20 minutes to our nearest Aldi, we’ve managed to lower our shopping bill from £400 per month for a two-person household (!!!) to £170 per month. Likewise, we’ve also cut down on takeaways, and spend a bit more on quality ingredients to have a weekly fakeaway or two.
Cut down on your TV package
Of course, only if it’s not one of those things that bring you true joy. We rarely ever watch live TV, and instead use catch-up services, Netflix, Amazon Prime, NowTV and HayU (got to get my Real Housewives fix, amiright?) so it’s about time we give BT a call and look to cut back on our main package. Listing it all down, it’s an astronomical amount of streaming services, and we only use BT for BT Sports, so something’s got to give…it might as well be the most expensive one!
Haggle on your other bills
This is especially effective if you’re nearing the end of your contract and can threaten to leave if they don’t give you a better offer. Write down all the bills you pay – a simple call or message via their instant chat facility can leave you better off. It’s worth a go!
Open a Rewards Current Account
This will vary from bank to bank so you’ll need to do some research here, but the basic concept of a Rewards Current Account is you get a bonus for banking with them (but it’s usually subject to a small fee).
Personally, I pay £2 a month to Natwest for a Rewards Current Account, but then get cashback on all the bills I pay, which comes to approximately £8 each month. I then save this cashback up each year, and use it to pay for a hotel stay in December to reward ourselves for getting Christmas organised in advance.
Open a Trading212 account and invest £5 right now
It’s a common misconception that you need to have a lot of money before you can start investing in the stock market, when actually, even a fiver will do! I currently have a Stocks & Shares ISA, but also put the odd bit of change into my Trading212 account – bits I can afford to lose as I learn the system.
Side note: Please always make sure to do your due diligence and study this further as there is always a risk when investing (YouTube is a great place to start!)
Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, heading to your nearest charity shop when there’s a particular book you’re looking for, or a new piece of clothing (or even just fancy satisfying your browsing cravings!) could save you an absolute fortune.
Some of my favourite (most compliment-receiving) clothes are from charity shops, and when I recently changed jobs, I treated myself to a new work wardrobe totalling a grand old price of £40! We’re talking new blouses, two new skirts, a dress, a cardigan, a jumper and some summery trousers, from the likes of Zara, M&S and Monsoon. For. Forty. Pounds.
But don’t forget, it’s not only charity shops that can sort you out – if you’ve got your eye on something in particular, check out the likes of eBay and Depop, or if you need a larger item, have a look at Facebook Marketplace. Trust me, once you’ve got a few great bargains under your belt, you’ll be a fully-fledged convert.
Host at yours
If you’re anything like me, you’re well overdue a few catch-ups with friends and will typically do so over a nice meal and a couple of cocktails. Why not text your friends now and arrange something at your house instead? Ask them each to bring a course (or alcohol) so you’re all sharing the costs, and save the difference on what you’d usually spend on a night out.
Better yet, go old-school and have a sleepover. I’m talking 90s movie classics, popcorn, drinking games, takeaways – the full works. Surely that’s more fun than queuing to get into some club night and spending a small fortune on watered down drinks anyway?
Be honest – let friends and family know of your goals
Your friends and family should be supportive of your lifestyle change, and will most likely be only too happy to make amendments to how you usually socialise.
A friend and I love nothing more than cooking up enchiladas and binge-watching Catfish over various Lonely Planet books as we plan our next adventures as a way of catching up. We’d much rather save money on going to restaurants throughout the year, and instead spend it on a holiday or two each year together.
That’s my kind of friendship!
Cancel that gym membership
My boyfriend is a gym manager so I might get in trouble for this one, but do you remember in lockdown how we all soldiered on without the gym? If funds are tight right now, and you don’t feel you need to work out at the gym (and can instead get your fix at home/in the outdoors), cancel it for a few months. There are plenty of workouts that can be done solely using your own bodyweight, or a fitness band off Amazon – and get a friend involved if you think motivation might be lacking. Accountability is often key here!
YouTube also has a great variety of fitness videos so you have plenty of workouts at the click of a button. Personally I love Cat Meffan and Alice Liveing, but there are a whole host available for you to try out to see what works best for you.
Need to buy something? Add it to your shopping cart online, and then leave the webpage
More often than not, within 48 hours a discount code should be making its way to your inbox (make sure you’re logged in to your account when you do so, and check your spam mailbox in your emails – I find that’s where mine typically go). Sometimes, just simply waiting to make a purchase can also save you money, as you might realise you no longer want the product anymore anyway.
ALWAYS go through cashback sites before you make an online purchase
I’ve made over £120 with TopCashback in less than a year, purely through getting some money back on purchases I was already going to make. If you’re shopping online, always go via TopCashback or Quidco and see what you can make this year.
If you’d like to sign up to TopCashback, go through this link and receive a £5 sign-up bonus! (Disclaimer: I’ll receive a referral commission if you do so).
Register with your local library
I know, I know – you aren’t convinced libraries are for you. But did you know most libraries now include audiobooks, magazines and some even offer streaming services for films?
Google your nearest library, and sign-up – it might not be something you use frequently, but it’s free, it’s convenient, and the services are ever-increasing, so you might as well get a membership sorted.
Unfollow any triggering social media accounts
Mute those you love and would still like to visit when you’re feeling strong or have a spare bit of spending money, and unfollow any that encourage you to spend recklessly. The Money Fox brought to light how many fast fashion brands encourage getting into debt through buying their clothes and keeping up to date with the latest trends as though it’s something to be proud of.
Your clothes might look great, but it’s not sexy to be in debt. Avoid temptation, and mute those accounts!
Wash your clothes at 30degrees where possible, and air dry if you can
According to The Energy Saving Trust, washing your clothes on a 30 degree spin instead of higher temperatures will save over 40% of the energy you use across the year.
Plus, the 30 degree cycles are often quicker, so you can get more done, more quickly. Win-win!
There are a fair few perks you can access from companies if there are a couple of you in the same household using their services. From car insurance and breakdown cover, to mobile phone packages, to our most recent move to Spotify Premium Duo (where we’ve gone from paying £9.99 each per month, to £12.99 combined), it’s well worth enquiring with companies if several of you use it to save more money between you.
Go through your outgoings with a fine-toothed comb
Set aside half an hour and write out every purchase you’ve made in the last couple of months. Become aware of what is, in all honesty, unnecessary spending, and what you can’t do without. Obviously bills are here to stay (unfortunately), and where possible you need to be allocating an affordable amount to your Emergency/Sinking Fund each month, but what else can you cut out? Are you like me and have a ridiculous amount of streaming services (BRB, off to cull one myself!), could you sign up to Spotify’s Duo account, and do you really need that monthly subscription box?
Be honest with yourself, and ask yourself (in true Marie Kondo style) – does this spending bring me joy, or is it out of habit? If it’s out of habit, it’s time to break it.
Hopefully these 15 Ways to Save Money Today can get you well on your way to your financial goals in no time. For me, budgeting and achieving financial freedom is all about those small lifestyle changes, rather than any big drastic moves – I still want to enjoy life without depriving myself, and instead would rather be selective about what I sacrifice.
But what about making more money? Well, you might like the following posts:
This post breaks down lots of money making ideas for students – without having to take a ‘traditional’ student job (and many are applicable to all of us!)
Alternatively, my free eBook featuring 50 Side Hustles to Start Today might just be what you’re looking for: