In our quest to try and live a more frugal lifestyle (note the word try ;-)) we regularly review our monthly budget and try to shave off a few pounds here and there. In the last year or so, we’ve actually saved quite a bit so I thought I’d share our top tips with you all.
- I blogged about using cashback companies last year here and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Basically, if you register with a company like Quidco you can earn cashback on your internet shopping. I always review my home and car insurance when they’re due for renewal along with my telephone and internet deals as companies offer cashback via Quidco if you switch to them. I changed my car and home insurance using Quidco a while back to companies charging a lower premium than I was currently paying and I also got £75 cash back on each policy which came in very handy when I got it the following month to pay for my car’s MOT.
- Do you have the best deal on your gas and electricity or could you save money by switching to a different company? You can compare the tariffs by visiting somewhere like EnergyHelpline.com who can help you to see if you can get a better deal by changing providers. Also, make sure you’re paying your utility bills by Direct Debit as you usually get a discount to do this.
- Do you have less people in your house than you have bedrooms, if so, you should benefit from having a water meter installed. Apparently the average un-metered bill in England and Wales is £361.00, whilst the average metered bill is £305.00 so a lot of families will save by getting a water meter installed. I went from paying £34.00 a month to between £55.00 and £60.00 a quarter when we changed so its definitely been worth it for us. There’s a handy little tool here to help you identify if you can make a saving.
- You can save ££££’s on your food shopping by meal planning. Plan your meals in advance, write a shopping list and stick to it. If you’re easily tempted (like me) it might be an idea for you to try shopping online. This way there are no in-store temptations and if you come across any offers you can quickly and easily amend your meal plan.
- Check the Direct Debits that you pay each month – are they all necessary? You might be surprised to see old gym memberships, insurances, extended warranties and other things that you’d forgotton about or haven’t been cancelled properly.
- If you have credit cards with balances on them, apply for a low rate balance transfer card and transfer your balances to it or ring your card provider and ask if they can offer you a lower rate. They may do this if they think you’re thinking of closing your account with them!
- Is your mobile phone out of contract? Give your provider a call and see what they can offer you to stay with them.
- Make sure you’re claiming any benefits that you’re entitled to by completing a quick check here.
- If you’ve moved house in the past six years you may be able to reclaim your mortgage exit administration fee, not to be confused with any redemption fees that you may have paid. Martin Lewis explains this much better than me here. I rang my mortgage provider and got a refund back over the telephone for the fee that I paid when I paid off my mortgage. Only £40.00 but it’s better in my pocket.
- Do you really need all those channels? Can you get by with a Freeview box? Sky is one thing I can’t bring myself to give up but we don’t smoke or go out much so I’ll justify it that way lol. By downgrading or cancelling your Sky Package you could save an absolute fortune.
- If you’re having problems paying your bills, don’t ignore it. There are so many free organisations you can contact for help like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS). The quicker you acknowledge any problems, the easier they are to sort out.
- Work out your monthly budget and STICK TO IT.
Let me know how you get on….