In the modern world it is easy to find yourself short on cash. With next day delivery, video subscriptions and more, it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed financially, and it has caused damage not only in my life but the lives of many people I know. There are a huge amount of ways to control your money that could help you save and reduce your outgoings. I’ve put together a list of ways to try and help.
1: Instant Savings
Whenever you have money, go into your account, take the time to save a percentage of the money. I try to save 40% of my earnings, which means living rather frugally, but 20% is a good solid start, and will really help you if you can manage it immediately. 10% is much more comfortable if you are struggling.
If you are having huge issues with debt or outgoings, even 1% can start to make a difference and get you used to a positive habit that will help get you back on your feet and in control of your finances. The important thing is to ensure that you are starting to save, even if it only feels like a little.
2: Reduce Outgoings
Look at your monthly outgoings. Do you really need all the data on your phone? Can you opt for a better plan that suits your needs? Do you need Amazon Prime? Are you subscribed to services you don’t use? Do you subscribe to people on Patreon or Subscribestar? Cut down all your subscriptions that you don’t use regularly to reduce your monthly outgoings. With the sheer amount of subscriptions and microtransactions there are nowadays, it is becoming really hard to stop yourself from spending money.
Make sure that if you have to have outgoing finances that you have a good understanding of them and always be on the lookout incase companies secretly increase their charges. It’s hard to notice at first. Be wary of contracts and always read the terms and conditions to stay on top of things.
3: Reduce the Luxuries
Stop ordering food online. You can cook a lot better with a bit of practise. It will save you a lot. Try cutting down on luxuries in your life. Cigarettes, Fizzy Drinks and Chocolates aren’t necessities and can be reduced if not removed entirely from your life. This can be a healthy step forward as well. Eat less, exercise more is the four word formula to living a healthier life. It can be hard reducing the luxuries. I have had my share of addictions, being a smoker and a gaming addict, I have over indulged to quite a degree.
One method of handling luxuries is to save the same amount of money you spend, so if you order a meal for £25.00 you make sure you save £25.00 in the bank as well. This way it’s off putting but you can still have them if you become desperate. Maintaining this kind of discipline is pretty hard but I have found it has worked wonders for me.
4: Need vs Greed
Worth mentioning from the sheer amount of people who feel they need the newest gaming consoles or games. Do you need something to be happy vs you just wanting it really bad. Always look at things from the perspective that people usually want things more than they actually need them.
For a long time, I have been confused about the need vs greed scenario, because the prices of games and consoles generally decreases rapidly. Over the past year because I waited to buy things or played older games instead, I have probably saved over a thousand pounds easily. I am an avid gamer. But for the record, Star Control Origins was worth every penny.
5: Reduce Meal Sizes
From someone who was 19.5 stone, and is now a lot lighter and richer, reducing the size of the meals you cook even by a little every now and then will not only help your wallet but also your waistline. Additionally if you usually eat before you sleep, try and avoid it, as it’s not healthy.
I have found that by eating food when I wake up instead of before I go to bed has lead to a healthier life, not just for me, but for my wallet.
6: Record Your Expenses
Make sure to record your expenses and check over your bank statements, this can stop you from spending more than you need to and help you manage your budgets. Keep an eye for outgoings, microtransactions and services you no longer receive. As an example, keeping an eye on my expenses allowed me to notice I was still paying for amazon prime, despite the fact I was no longer using it. At only a few pounds a month that equates to almost £100.00 a year on the monthly! Yikes!
7: Smart Food Shopping
Best Before dates are a great way to save money. After these dates the quality of food starts to deteriorate. Be careful not to get this confused by Use By. A visit to the shops every few days in the late afternoon or early evening can land you with a lot better value when it comes to buying food. Keep an eye out for good deals and look for food that is not changing colour. Eat like a king for a third of the price, or a little more if your local shops are stingy.
8: Debit is better than Credit
Even if you have the ability to own a credit card, you’re going to want to avoid it. Credit cards make it easy to spend, spend and spend. Debit cards are a better psychological tool to keep you safe. No one likes uncle overdraft. (Stay out of overdraft!)
9: Cut down on Cash
Money in the hand is easier to spend than using your debit card, it’s also easy to lose. Slippery plastic money can slide out of pockets and wallets, and just check your armchair for coins. This is just the stuff you’ve lost at home, not visiting friends, restaurants and your local pub. This will only work well if you are using a debit card and keeping an eye on your finances. You do not want to go into overdraft and you want to avoid paying back credit at all costs,
10: Gently place a Brick in Your Toilet Cistern
I was going to write throw a brick in your toilet, but that’s gonna cost people money! Toilets use a lot of water to flush and a brick in the cistern could end up saving you a lot of money over time on your water bills. The brick takes up space ensuring less water is in the cistern to make the flushes. You should still have more than enough water to complete your flush though, if there are issues, with this, you can use a smaller object!
11: Avoid Impulse Buying
We’ve all seen those amazing adverts on Facebook selling fantastic products at killer prices. These are what are called jaw dropping offers in the world of marketing, and they are used to con a lot of people selling low quality items. Before buying anything anywhere, look the items up online.
Many things that look like they’re a great bargain because of huge % markdowns on websites are a huge % increase in the actual value of the item, so it’s an illusion. If you see something you really like, try to avoid buying it until you know the actual price.
12: Keep an eye out for deals!
Occasionally your local store will run deals. I cut down on my expenses by targeting deals each time I shop. It usually ends up with me buying different things though it can be risky. When I do go shopping I tend to set myself a cash limit and stick to it so I don’t make too many crazy purchases. Avoid internet deals like the plague!
13: Smart Food Shopping
When shopping for food, it can be easy to grab everything you want or that’s on deal. I’d recommend looking for combinations that go well together as you are less likely to lose perishable goods when you plan your meals. If you are going to get fish fingers, peas and mash, that’s more likely to be used than minced beef, squid and Doritos.
14: Frequent Your Library!
If you are an avid reader like me, you may find yourself spending a lot of money on books. I have far too many science fiction novels on my shelves, and I used to spend between £20.00 and £50.00 a month on new books. There will always be books of interest at your local library. Since I started going to my local, I’ve saved a tonne of money on books. I highly recommend it!
15: Avoid Shopping When Stressed or Emotional
Avoiding anything financial when you are stressed out and not thinking clearly is a surefire way of saving money, it can also increase your stress if you make huge purchases to make yourself feel better. The best thing to do is to step back and go on a long walk to clear your head.
16: Take Advantage of Overtime
Save 100% of your overtime. If you are in a job that allows overtime, aim to work two or more overtime shifts a month and save every penny you make in a separate bank account. It’s amazing how fast this can grow your savings this way!
17: Saving Money via Emergency Mitigation!
Nothing sucks more than dealing with an emergency, especially if you have to pay for damage to your property. Put £5.00 a week into an emergency fund. This fund will be used to pay for any issues or problems that can occur in your future. Never touch it and just let it grow. My emergency fund has saved me twice, once when my fridge freezer died and another time when we had issues with our boiler.
18: Saving Money by Eating Cheap!
I try to eat cheap one to two times a week. Whilst the thought of Beans on Toast is nauseating to me, there are other recipes that can help. Bread and Jam can be a good filler meal that saves on the money, or you can have my personal favorite: Pesto Pasta! A delicious dish that’s insanely easy to make.
Pasta – I recommend fusilli for a pasta that picks up the pesto best or farfalle, if you want an interesting texture.
Pesto – I recommend standard green pesto.
Water – Cold, From the Tap
Salt – A small amount.
Heat the water and raise the temperature to boiling point, look for the big, powerful bubbles. Once the water is boiling, add the salt and then your pasta. Cook until al dente, stirring the pasta around. Avoid adding olive oil to the water as it’s a myth that it helps and will make the pesto slide off the pasta rather than stick to it. Stir a big glob of the pesto into the pasta. Enjoy. Each meal costs under a quid per person.
19: Make Your Own Coffee
I used to do a lot of Performing arts and marketing, which meant my mornings would often start with a quick trip to Starbucks or Costa. In a week that could mean I would end up spending a small fortune on burned coffee beans and occasionally tips for baristas. When one is with friends, one does it just stop for coffee, one gets cake too! Becoming a miserable hermit and making my own coffee at home saves me a tonne of money. My good friend who has his own percolator highly rates it and goes for eclectic coffee tastes.
20: Save for Big Purchases
Having burned £16,000.00. Yes sixteen thousand pounds on cameras and lenses this is a big one. Save your money when you want to make a big purchase and always wait on it. They say a 30 day rule is a good way to do this, and I think that it’s definitely worth waiting on any big purchase choice. I have used and still use my cameras, so I don’t completely regret getting them but damn did the af101e disappoint. Still you live and learn. Don’t be like me.
21: Never. Ever. Ever. Get or Guarantor a Loan
I have never personally had a loan, but once a long time ago I was guilt tripped into being a guarantor for one. £6300.00 I had to pay to get out of it so the weasel I helped could have his 2 point something grand. It’s amazing how fast a nice thank you can turn into swearing and mocking laughter once people realise they can leave you with their debt. Don’t get a loan. Don’t be an idiot and don’t guarantor a loan. Help people learn to protect themselves financially.
22: Drivers, Inflate Your Tires!
It is a no brainer to have well inflated tires when it comes to road safety, but also for fuel economy! You can save a decent amount of what you are spending on fuel if your tires are inflated correctly.
23: Consider LED Lighting…
Electricity is a great drain on our finances over time. A great way to mitigate this is to invest in LED lighting which drains less electric and lasts a lot longer in general. Have a look around your house and replace all your bulbs, you won’t regret it when the bills come round. Also as a side note, avoid EON at all costs. They’re dodgy as hell and I know quite a few other people who’ve had bad experiences with them.
24: Charity Shops
I have a few coats worth over £300.00 shirts worth over £80.00 and quite a few other bits and bobs I’m proud of that I’ve picked up from charity shops. The cat rescue shop in my local town has saved me tonnes of money and I missed it when it closed down. If you have a local charity should definitely check it out, it’s not all stylish mustard sweaters with sequins, you can find great value in these places.
Saving money isn’t always easy. I worked hard to get myself out of debt paying for the loan I acted as a guarantor for. I struggled a lot with computer game addiction to the point where I spent thousands of pounds on stupid things on games I barely play. I am so grateful to the people that supported me through all the nonsense in my life. I hope that these tips help you save money and get back on track.
Final Bonus Tip: Brian Tracy Saved Me
Brian Tracy is a legend, and you can find him talking about saving money all over YouTube. He helped me to save money, run my company, change my life, deal with people. The guy is a living legend and should go down in history as such, if you are struggling like I was, look him up. You don’t need to buy anything or pay for any services. Just learn from the free resources he provides online. I hope this helps you!
I am the CEO of Fantasoft an up and coming digital marketing firm based in the UK. I work as a blogger, SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.