ALL of us are, by now, well into the annual spending blitz that’s come to characterise Christmas.
But as soon as 25 December is over, then comes the added temptation of the January sales – which these days usually start on or around Boxing Day!
And by the time we get January’s bank and credit card statements, we’re already beginning the new year on the financial ‘back foot’.
So, if you’re already thinking of making a resolution to save more/spend less in 2020, here are a few practical ideas to help get you started:
Do your homework first…
Before starting your ‘economy drive’, you need to assess your own spending pattern.
Forget the Christmas spending – get three consecutive months’ statements showing your ‘normal’ outgoings, and try to identify areas where you can potentially cut back.
There’s an old saying: ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves…’ – it might be worth bearing in mind as you go through your costings. For instance, do you really need that indulgent (and expensive) takeaway coffee on the way in to work each day? Instead, why not buy a thermal mug, a jar of coffee – and make your own at home to take with you… By making your own coffee you could save up to £303 per year!*
Be a credit to your cards
It’s all too easy to pay the contactless way and – combined with the ‘buy today, pay tomorrow’ nature of credit cards – before we know it, we’re overspent and often resorting to the minimum payment to reduce our debt.
If you have a habit of overspending with credit cards, hide your cards in a safe place at home, not in your wallet. ‘Out of sight and out of mind” might help reduce temptation while you’re out and about…
The ’30-days’ rule…
‘Instant gratification’ purchases – especially at sale time! - can often rack up our debt. But you could potentially save yourself money by delaying such a purchase by a month. If, at the end of that time, the urge to buy whatever it was has passed…well, you never really needed it anyway, did you? And you’ll be all the better off for it!
Whether it’s car or home/personal insurance, gas and electricity, credit cards, internet/telephone packages, or even your mortgage, it pays – and could save you money – to shop around. Whenever a current deal approaches its expiry date, check out the comparison websites…you could save with an alternative provider…
Stick to the list!
Before you go shopping, take a few minutes to make a list – and make sure you STICK TO IT! Look out for the genuine offers (such as ‘BOGOF’ - Buy One Get One Free) in the supermarket, too – a few extra supplies on the larder shelf could save you money on future shopping trips.
Try planning out your week’s meals in advance, too; it can help to avoid buying food that may end up going past its ‘best by’ date and being thrown away.
Standby to save more…
Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby. Kids are usually the worst for this, with any number of game stations, TVs and computers left running up the household fuel bill when they’re not even there. Try to educate them (use the environmental argument if you need to, ‘It’s YOUR future…’ etc) to conserve energy…and save you money at the same time.
A tumble drier is one of the biggest users of domestic power – so why not invest in a couple of traditional clothes airers instead, and let the weekly wash dry naturally. Less likelihood of your favourite T-shirt shrinking, too…
There are obviously many more ways you can look at saving money – and a lot of money advice sites you could turn to for even more ideas.
But the most important thing to do is…once you’re freeing up money, find the best place to put your ‘new-found wealth’ and get into the saving habit!
*£303 per year ﬁgure based on a survey of 2000 people from The Independent Oct 2018:
Image by Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock.com
This article is intended as a summary only and does not constitute legal or financial advice from Leek United Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this article. We recommend that you seek independent legal and/or financial advice if you have any questions or queries.Back to news