10 ways to spend less
If the last few years have shown us anything it's that austerity is important. The days of indulgence are over and rightly so. But nobody wants to have to give up all of life's pleasures. Here are ten easy tips for cutting down on what you spend.
1. Clear your credit card
A typical credit card has an annual interest rate of around 17.9%. If you owe £1000 on your card for the course of a year you will end up paying £179 more than you need to. One way of spending less is clearing your credit card and the easiest way of doing so is to transfer your balance to a balance free transfer card.
2. Review your mobile
Gone are the days when mobile phones were reserved for city boys and rich kids. Nowadays everyone has a mobile, from 13-year old kids obsessed with texting to old age pensioners who use their phones for emergencies only.
But many of us are on the wrong tariff. Indeed, some people may actually be better off on a pay-as-you-go tariff. If you pay £30 a month for your phone but only make a couple of calls you could be better off topping up £10 on a PAYG tariff and saving yourself £240 a year.
Make some extra cash for yourself by selling your old mobile
3. Buy own brand goods
Spending less on your supermarket bill is easier than you think.
It may be second nature to you to buy brand name products but have you ever looked into how much you could save by buying own-brand products?
Take a look at some basics – a loaf of Warburton's Danish bread is 75p but a loaf of Asda's own Danish bread is just 53p. And at Tesco, a bottle of Fairy Clean and Care washing-up liquid will set you back £1.50 for 433ml. But a 500ml bottle of Asda's own Daisy washing up liquid costs just 60p.
4. Cancel television packages
Sky TV is a luxury and in good times why shouldn't you treat yourselves to your favourite sports, movie and music channels? But in this SOBER age your TV package should be one of the first things to go when you want to spend less money.
5. Bring a packed lunch to work
It sounds obvious but bringing a lunch to work is one of the simplest ways of saving money yet one of the most neglected. Many of us spend around £4 or £5 a day on lunch.
Make sandwiches to bring to the office or make a little extra dinner each night and pack it in Tupperware and you could save yourself around £20 a week.
6. Book travel early
Anyone who travels by train regularly will know how pricey it can be. But if you plan ahead and book in advance you could save a small fortune. But remember that a lot of these tickets only go on sale 12 weeks before travel. Book a journey before then and you'll pay more.
7. Make the most of offers
8. Cancel your gym membership
Okay, so the idea was to lose weight, tone up and get a body like an aerobics instructor by the end of 2014 - and how many times did you actually go the gym? Tallying up the amount of workouts you had may make you question your willpower but it should also make you question your spending.
The average gym membership is around £50 and in London you can pay up to £120 a month. If you know you barely go then this is one expense you can certainly do without. If you do want to keep visiting the gym why not use your local authority gym which can cost around £15-£20 a month but many also off a pay-as-you-use service.
9. Pack up smoking
You may plan each year to give up the smoking habit but if protecting your health doesn't give you enough ammunition then perhaps protecting your bank balance will. If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day you could spend over £2000 a year! If going cold turkey isn't feasible at least make an effort to cut down.
10. Learn to budget
The final tip is the most simple but also the most effective. If you spend more than you earn you're going to get in trouble. Learn to keep track of everything you're spending to make sure you know where your money is going and avoid being left struggling at the end of the month.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.