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Tag: saving

5 Ways to Be More Frugal with Your Money

5 Ways to Be More Frugal with Your Money

*This is a collaborative post.

Being frugal is a great way to reduce the amount of stress you feel when it comes to handling your money. Let’s face it, hefty bills and a less than perfect bank account balance can be enough to keep even the most laid-back families up at night. Not to mention, stress over money can lead to issues with your relationships too.

Unfortunately, changing your spending habits isn’t as simple as just deciding that you’re going to spend less and save more. While you might start with good intentions, you still need a plan of action in place to make sure you achieve your financial goals. Here are just a few of the ways you can be more frugal with your money, without exposing yourself to additional cash headaches.

  1. Start with a Savings Plan

The first step in successful saving is automating the process as much as possible. For instance, look at your budget and figure out what you need to spend money on every month. That means separating the essential costs like utility bills, mortgage, and rent expenses, from other costs like the price of weekend entertainment. Once you know what your essential expenses, set up direct debits wherever you can so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay them.

While you’re setting your direct debits up, make sure that you set up a payment to send a small amount of your income into a savings account each month. Not only does this make saving automatic, but it also ensures that your extra cash is out of your current account, and less likely to tempt you.

  1. Eliminate Waste

One of the biggest reasons that we spend too much money each month is that we over-spend on things we don’t really want or need. For instance, how much food do you end up throwing away each month because you made too much for a family dinner, or you didn’t have chance to use up ingredients before they went out of date?

Get rid of waste by carefully planning your meals and the other things you’ll need for the week and buying only that amount. Not only will reducing waste help to protect your finances, but it will create a healthier planet too!

  1. Buy Everything at a Discount

It’s easy to assume that you’re simply getting the best deal for everything you buy, but unless you search for better deals and discounts, you’ll never know. While the idea of searching through the web for free coupons and voucher codes might sound exhausting at first, you’d be surprised how quickly you can find a bargain. Using sites such as dealsplanet can be a brilliant place to start.

Although you might not have time to find a voucher for absolutely everything on your shopping list, it’s worth at least putting some extra time into your search when you’re buying a big-ticket item like a new TV or a pair of expensive shoes.

  1. Grow your Own Food

A great way to reduce waste and minimise the amount you spend at the supermarket is to grow the food that you use the most often in your yard. There are plenty of great guides and articles out there that teach you how to nourish your own fruits and vegetables from scratch, and you don’t need a lot of space to grow most of the vegetables that you know and love. In fact, there are certain plants you can grow on your windowsill, or in a window box.

If you enjoy working in your garden, then you’ll also have a fantastic free way to entertain yourself, without spending any money on trips to the cinema or expensive restaurant meals too! You can even get the kids involved to make gardening a family event.

  1. Keep on Top of your Spending

Finally, a great way to be more frugal with your money is to make sure that you keep on top of your spending whenever you can. This means not only tracking the amount you spend on everything from food to bills, but also making sure that you’re getting the best deals from your suppliers too. For instance, every few months, it’s worth going online and comparing your utility bills.

Check you’re getting the right deal for the amount of gas and electricity you’re using, and compare other things like broadband packages, television, and even interest rates on existing loans. The more you focus on finding new ways to reduce your spending, the better off you’ll be.

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7 Tips for Saving Money on Your Christmas Shopping

7 Tips for Saving Money on Your Christmas Shopping

We all love the extra wine, mince pies, and seasonal songs of the festive season – but that doesn’t mean that Christmas isn’t a stressful situation – particularly for the bill payers in the household. At the end of the day, when you add everything up, from the gifts to the turkey, you discover that Christmas is easily one of the most expensive times of the year.

The good news is that you don’t have to commit yourself to taking on debt every time December rolls around. If you’re willing to budget your money carefully and make a few strategic changes to your festive plans, you could keep your overspending to a minimum. Here are just a few tips for managing your cash flow this Christmas.

  1. Consider Using a Cashback Credit Card

A lot of people use credit cards for their Christmas gifts these days. By spending on a credit card instead of taking money out of your bank account, you give yourself a little more time to find the money you owe. If you’re going to be using your credit card anyway, then you might find that it’s helpful to apply for a cashback credit card, instead of a regular one. That way, you’ll earn a small percentage of anywhere up to 5% back on all your purchases.

  1. Do Most of Your Buying Online

While wandering around in the snow and enjoying the Christmas displays can be part of the fun of the festive season, it’s important to remember that you’re more likely to spend extra in-store, compared to when you shop online. Shopping online allows you to more easily compare and contrast prices while reducing the chances that you’ll fall victim to tempting additional purchases. You might even find exclusive voucher codes that you can use to reduce your expenses even more when you’re shopping online.

  1. Book Your Train Tickets Early

Paying for travel over the festive period is still a form of shopping, but it’s something that a lot of families seem to forget about until the last minute. This means that you could end up paying inflated prices on your fares. If you can book your tickets early, then you may be able to make the most of early-bird discounts, and leave more money in your holiday budget for other things like extra sweets or gifts.

  1. Don’t Overdo It with Food

If you’re responsible for cooking Christmas dinner for the whole family this year, it’s important to be careful with the way you buy your food for the big day. It’s always tempting to go over-the-top for Christmas meals because you not only want to have all your favourite flavours on your plate, but you also want to make sure that you can impress your family and friends too. However, at the end of the day, the more you buy, the more money you’re effectively throwing in the trash at the end of the day when you’re pouring all that un-used food into the bin. Make a list of exactly how much food you need in advance, and stick to it.

  1. Be Organised with Everything

Making a list isn’t just a good idea when it comes to planning your food spend over the Christmas season either. You might find that saving cash is a lot simpler if you can organise everything to ensure that you know exactly what you’re buying, and why. For instance, write down everyone you want to buy a gift for this year, and give each person on your list a strict budget for spending. Don’t go over the amount you reserve for each of your friends and family members – no matter how tempted you might be.

  1. Make the Most of Voucher Codes

If there was ever a time of year to be frugal and use the internet to your advantage, it has to be Christmas. While the colder months of the year are naturally more expensive, there are always things that you can do to improve your chances of keeping costs low. For instance, try looking for discount and voucher codes for your favourite stores before you buy any gifts. You can even check social media for updates from some of the best brands around.

  1. Get Free Delivery

Finally, remember that although shopping online can be a lot cheaper than spending money in person, it also means that you need to factor shipping and handling costs into your budget. That is, of course, unless you can find options for free delivery instead. Try signing up for a month of free Amazon Prime over December to get quick next-day delivery on all your gifts for free. At the same time, you can use the service to listen to music and watch videos online too!

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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How to Make your Money go Further

How to Make your Money go Further

When you have a family, saving money becomes incredibly difficult. With more mouths to feed and more bodies to clothe, our bank accounts take a lot of stick. In a recent report, it was said that household savings have reached record lows , with less and less of us putting away a little extra cash each month.

As a mother of two young children, I’m only too aware of the effect little people can have on your bank balance. All the budgeting in the world and making use of sites such as dealsdaddy, doesn’t stop parents up and down the country haemorrhaging money to keep their families happy. With this is mind, it got me thinking about other ways in which we can make our money go a little further. Simple and effective money-saving solutions are widely available, to those who are willing to look for them!

Make your Debt Work for You

Having debt is one of the most common problems, when it comes to the lack of saving within a household. With credit card bills to pay off, putting money aside becomes impossible for some families. There is a way you can make your debt work for you though, all you have to do is transfer your debt to a 0 per cent credit card. This means that you’ll no longer have to pay extortionate amounts of interest, on top of your existing debt. Taking the time to transfer your debt can mean paying off your debt sooner than you had previously imagined, freeing up extra cash to stow away for later!

Cheaper Energy Plans

One of the biggest bills in our house is the energy bill. Especially during the colder months, when the central heating is on throughout the day. Energy can be so expensive and if you don’t keep track of your tariff, it’s possible that you could be paying even more with a rate that’s completely over the odds. It’s worth checking your tariff on a regular basis, not letting your energy provider roll you over onto a new contract, professing to have offered you the best deal on the market.

One of the easiest ways to check whether your energy tariff needs an overhaul is by using sites such as; Cheap Energy Club. By inputting a few details, you’ll be able to compare other energy plans on the market. You’re likely to be left surprised and ecstatic by the amount of money you could save!

Money that Makes

If you don’t mind a little risk in your life, I’m not talking about dicey investments but calculated risk, then you could consider peer-to-peer lending. The idea of this, is that you become a lender to those who may be in need of a little cash injection. There’s an online platform, through which consumers are credit checked to make sure they’re in a position to keep up with loan repayments. There’s always the small risk that they’ll default, meaning the lender will lose money, but these checks are designed to avoid this happening.  If you do decide that this is the route for you, you can expect a tidy annual return of >5. It’s now possible for consumers to include this withing an ISA, making it worth even more to the lender!

Make Money by Paying Bills

Another great way to maximise the amount of cash you’re saving, is to switch your bank account to one that gives you a tidy return on your monthly bills. Available from banks such as Santander, these schemes pay back a certain percentage of the amount you’ve paid to your providers. There’s often a small monthly fee to run one of these accounts, but when you work how much they cost, in comparison to how much you’ll earn, it’s a no brainer!

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*This is a collaborative post.

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Having an Enjoyable Family Summer Without Breaking the Bank

Having an Enjoyable Family Summer Without Breaking the Bank

When school’s out and the kids are around the house a whole lot more, it might seem difficult thinking of enough things to do to keep them all occupied during the summer, especially if money is a little tighter than you’d like.

Thankfully, having fun through the summer doesn’t have to be so hard. Auto Advance loans can be one simple and helpful way to secure a little extra cash to see you through the summer, and this short guide provides you with some ways you can have fun with the family in summer without having to spend too much money.

Getting out in the sunshine

The British summer can bring with it some beautiful weather, even if it’s known for being a little unpredictable at times. If you’re near the coast, why not take the family down to the beach? Sun, sea and sand, where the family can relax, sunbath, or play around as much as they’d like, all for no cost.

If the beach isn’t an option, you could instead prepare a picnic and take the family over to a local park? Bring a few toys, like a football or Frisbee, and the kids will be able to tire themselves out after some food.

Other families might even have the same idea, meaning your kids could have more kids to play with, and you might even make a few new family friends.

Keeping active

Towns and cities often have dedicated cycle paths, or certain scenic routes, that you can take together. Consider taking the family out for a bike ride through some of your local routes.

It’s a way to get the family out in the fresh air, and it’s great exercise at the same time. Just make sure to take plenty of water with you to keep everyone hydrated.

If you don’t own any bicycles, there’s nothing to worry about. Many shops are beginning to offer bike rental schemes for a small fee. It won’t cost much either, so it’s not too difficult to budget for if money is tight. If it’s possible to stretch the budget a little, it might even be worth buying the bikes so that they’re always available and ready to ride at home.

Educational family fun

Local museums and art galleries often have free or discounted entry during the summer periods, or they work on the basis of free entry with an optional donation, meaning you can spend some time doing some engaging and educational without spending any money.

Maybe your kids want to know a little about local history, or they’re beginning to get really invested in some specific period of history. If they’re interested in something, it’s certainly beneficial, and easy, to make it a day out by feeding their curiosity. They’ll enjoy learning more about their current obsession, while letting the whole family have some fun together without needing to spend much, or any, money at all.

Having a great summer doesn’t have to cause you unnecessary stress thinking about how to pay for expensive and entertaining things for the family. This guide shows that there are a wide variety of options available to all kinds of people who are looking for events and activities with any budget level, however tight money might be at the time.

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