Many New Year’s ‘resolutions’ actually cost you more money thank you think – like language courses that you give up on through the term or overly expensive gym memberships that don’t ever get used.
Instead of making resolutions, I’ve vowed to myself to make mini milestones rather than committing to the whole ‘new year, new me’ palava. I’d previously written a post about my pledges to save in the coming months, but I thought I would share a few more tips as we get further into the festive season full of frivolity and overspending!
The following are 11 New Year’s milestones that can save you money:
- Quitting smoking
Of course, it is a lot easier said than done – I was a smoker for a while and still indulge in the odd party pack when I’ve had a drink. Obviously, I am no one to preach but for a 20-per-day smoker, you can save more than £3,000 per year. If it is too much for you to go completely cold turkey, e-cigarettes cost only a fraction of what regular cigarettes do (and are ‘apparently’ better for you).
- Avoid impulse buying
Always make a list and set your budget before you go shopping – and don’t ever shop for food if you are hungry, so fuel up before you go! Alternatively, ordering food online is a great way to purchase exactly what you want instead of wondering aimlessly through each aisle. The same applies for clothes showpping, I hate shopping in real life, but then I always tend to buy things I don’t need online too? The best way around this is to stop acting on impulse – I just need to buy what I need rather than what is ontrend. Style over fashion right?
- Go through your bank statements very carefully
It is so easy to allow direct debits and standing order to carry on for a lot longer than you were intending. You might have thought you signed up to get a temporary package on something like an Amazon Prime trial, and neglected to read all of the fine print, or are continuing to pay for insurance on a product you don’t even use or have any more. I’d reccommend you check your statements, daily, weekly and monthly for peace of mind – if there is something you do not recognise, question it.
- Get your debts sorted
Concentrate on your really critical payments first – things like your utilities and mortgage. If you have several credit card debts to pay off, first pay off the ones with the highest interest rates. However, make sure to always pay at least the minimum payment on your other ones. If times are tough, talk with your lenders, since they might be able to set you up on a new payment plan that is more manageable for you.
- Shop around to get a better phone deal
Every time I upgrade my phone I usually regret it but I always try and look around for deals regardless. With apps like WhatsApp, do we even make calls anymore? I guess it’s all down to preference but it’s worth figuring out exactly what you use, what kind of phone you want (and enjoy using), how much you can afford to spend per month and how often you want to change your handset. Be sure you are aware of when you contract is ending – a majority of contracts combine the cost of the handset and tariff, and some will charge on the handset part well after you have paid it off.
- Save on your energy costs
Changing to energy-saving bulbs from traditional ones can save you as much as £60 per year, and you can save a similar amount when you insulate your hot water cylinder. Locate and seal gaps that let in drafts, place reflecting foil behind your radiators, and think about replacing any old energy-hungry appliances you have. Devices should never be left on standby.
- Remove the clutter from your house
The auction house Bonhams reports that as much as £60 million worth of jewellery is hanging around in the country’s attics and cupboards. Just getting rid of old clothes, furniture and toys can bring you a surprising amount of money. Try out websites like Gumtree or eBay or have a garage sale to get rid of unwanted items and make some money in the process.
- Shop around for the best utility suppliers.
A guide has been created by the regulator Ofgem that allows you to determine whether you would be better to purchase electricity and gas elsewhere. Although there isn’t any guarantee that the current least expensive tariff will always cost less, you can still potentially save a lot of money. The government has been attempting to make it easier for people to switch suppliers- it usually takes less than three weeks currently.
- Negotiate when you are renewing a contract
Numerous phone service providers, insurance companies and others offer new customers much better deals. Even if you are happy staying with your same company, it is still worth it to task for a deal. Say you are considering leaving, and be sure you know what others are offering.
- Start saving money
Give up something small, and save the money . Just do without that cup of coffee that costs £3 that you get on your way to work – Perhaps make it at home and take it in a flask instead… Over one year, that will save you £780.
- Freebie and Coupon Sites
I always try and make it a rule to never buy anything full price – so if it means waiting to get what I want, I would rather do this than purchase something from the first place I see it. If you’re after something in particular, I would recommend signing up to that particular retailers newsletter, checking their social media for any offers and using price comparison websites. Another thing I do is check reviews of products… I mean sometimes you’re sucked into branding; the cheaper brand could even be better – it’s all down the labels right?
An excellent way of saving money every day is checking whether you are getting the best freebies from your favourite free stuff sites. For instance, WOWFreeStuff lets you know in there newsletter of all the latest freebies from all the biggest brands.
If you don’t want to give up your favourite supermarket, there is great Downshift Challenge tool offered by MoneySavingExpert.com that will tell you the amount of money you could save if you just switched from premium to no-frills brands. You could save yourself hundreds of pounds each year. That is definitely something worth celebrating.
I hope this post inspires you to save… just a little bit.