Updated 23 January 2017
Saving money is not something that comes naturally to most of us. We don’t like the idea of cutting back and sacrificing the things we enjoy. But in this guest article, Moneymagpie reveals plenty of ways to save that won’t leave you feeling like you’re going without.
Here are Moneymagpie’s top saving tips, whatever age you are.
At any time of life, if you’re going to save money you need to make a budget so you know you’re living within your means. Make a spending diary to keep track of how much you spend each month. If this is less than your income, then great – you can put some into a regular savings account. If it goes over your monthly income on a regular basis, then you need to do something – read on.
There’s much more about creating a budget here.
Two out of three people could save money with a railcard – but you’d be amazed at how many don’t. You can often get up to a third off the standard fare. Those aged 16-25 can get a Young Persons Railcard, whereas those over 60 can get a Senior Railcard.
You can also save by shopping around for your ticket – National Rail and The Trainline are the main websites to check, but also try ringing a call centre, as prices may vary online and over the phone.
Bulk buying is an excellent way to save a bit extra. Usually you know when you’ll use a lot of something for the foreseeable future (toothpaste is a good example), so find an outlet that sells such items in bulk and you’ll get it much cheaper. It’s best to choose items that have a long shelf life. This is particularly useful for students, who might be able to pool their money and get the weekly shop together.
A bit of legwork here can save you bigtime. Did you know, for instance, that you can save up to £468 a year by switching energy suppliers?
In fact Moneymagpie is currently running a collective switch, which brings together the principals of shopping around and bulk buying. A collective switch is when customers come together and demand a better deal from energy suppliers. The more people who join, the better the deal offered by the suppliers will be.
There’s no obligation and it only takes two minutes to register, so do sign-up if you want a better energy deal.
Don’t just stop at your energy provider though – shop around for everything. See how much you can save by switching phone, broadband and home insurance. And check your mobile phone contract, as you might find that you’re paying much more than you really need to.
You’ll be stunned at the amount you can get for free if you know where to look.
Websites like Gumtree and Freecycle have loads of adverts for free things – quite often they might need a bit of repairing or doing up, but there are some real finds out there.
Also, you’ll often pay over the odds for cleaning products. A lot of traditional products can be as good or even more effective – nothing beats humble vinegar for cleaning limescale in the bathroom. There are plenty of alternatives that are so cheap they are virtually free. Find out more in our article: stop paying for these 15 things you can get for free.
Money saved is money made – and vice versa. As well as tightening your wallet you can have a bit more fun by earning extra cash on the side.
For example, have you ever considered mystery shopping? This often allows you to get things for free while at the same time being paid to review the service or food at a restaurant or a local shop.
You could also consider taking part in focus groups. You can be paid a few hundred pounds by attending a session and giving your opinions for a company. You might be asked for your thoughts on a car, for instance – or again, you might get to try some food!
If you’d prefer to work from home you can consider doing online surveys. For just twenty minutes or so of your time, survey sites will pay you either directly or in vouchers for popular stores.
As you can see, no matter what your age or circumstances there are plenty of ways to save money without sacrificing the things you enjoy.
Our final tip is to sign up to our weekly newsletter, which is packed full of money making and money saving ideas for all ages.