If you’re trying to pay back a loan, pay off debt, or just looking to live a more frugal lifestyle the best place to start is in your home. Saving money can be daunting but we’ve created a list of 10 easy tips to help you save money in your home.
1. Swap eating out for eating in
Eating out can be a huge expense, whether it’s going out to dinner with friends or just picking up a sandwich for lunch everyday. You would probably be surprised by how much you are spending on eating out every month. If you don’t already, one of the best places to start, is making your own lunch. Instead of spending $5 on a slightly soggy sandwich from a shop at lunch make your own sandwiches at home, or even make something tasty. You’ll save money and you’ll get a better lunch; win win.
Instead of going out for dinner with friends consider inviting your friends over for a home cooked meal. You could offer board games or make up your own cocktails, chances are it will be a more memorable evening. Take it in turns hosting so that you’re not always the one having to cook.
Ordering takeout is definitely easy when it’s been a long day at work, but takeout bills will add up quite quickly. For those nights when you’re feeling lazy you might buy in a ready meal – but this is still far more expensive then a meal needs to be. Consider having a few go-to easy meals for nights when cooking seems like too much work. A meal like a jacket potato and salad or beans on toast will be significantly cheaper and quicker than a takeout and cheaper and tastier than a ready meal.
2. Set up a childcare exchange
If you’re lucky and have to set up a date night with your partner, childcare can be a big expense when you want some alone time. Instead of hiring a babysitter talk to your friends and neighbours and see if you can exchange childcare. Maybe one Friday you take care of a friend’s children so that they can go out, then the next Friday they return the favour. Your children will love having some friends to play with and you will get free childcare so that date night can be a little bit cheaper.
3. Travelling towards debt-free future
Whether it’s running your car or catching the train into work, travel can be a major expense. Walking and cycling won’t be an option for everybody but if you can start making shorter journeys on foot or by bike, you’ll be saving money every time you do. Consider making the school run a walk instead of a drive and think about taking the bus to work instead of driving your car. This will depend on where you live and work, but it can be a great way to save money every single day. See also how to handle debt.
4. Make a shopping list (and stick to it)
Meal planning and making a shopping list can save you a huge amount of money. Not only will you avoid a last minute takeaway, but knowing exactly what you need when you arrive at the supermarket will stop you making unnecessary purchases. If you’ve got a good plan you’ll also cut down on food waste, as you’ll know exactly what you’ll have to use and when you plan to use it.
5. Own-brand goods
When you’re doing your weekly shop, don’t be afraid of own-brand goods. We often think that buying own-brand products will mean we sacrifice on quality. But often this isn’t the case. Very often you won’t be able to tell the difference between an own-brand product and it’s branded counterpart. Especially with things like tinned tomatoes, flour, sugar and other basic household items you won’t be able to tell the difference and you’ll be saving money every time you shop.
6. Look for secondhand items
In the age of Amazon, it’s too easy to pop online and order whatever we need instantly. But often you can save a huge amount of money by looking for items second-hand. Free electronics think about sites like eBay can be a good option for secondhand items or if you’re looking to collect furniture locally there are plenty of sites that offer cheaper secondhand alternatives. Start searching for your clothes in a charity shop. Once you get your head around the idea of buying secondhand, you’ll be stunned by the quality clothing you can find that’s been pre-loved. This tip comes with the added bonus of being great for the environment, whenever we can buy second hand we’re stopping items ending up in landfill.
7. Book your travels early
If you’re planning a holiday book everything as early as you can. You’ll save money on your hotels and your flights by just being a little more prepared. Start looking for flights at least a few months before you plan to take them and you’ll be shocked by the savings you can make. Also make sure you are using travel comparison sites like kayak, which can make sure you’re getting the cheapest flights possible.
8. Do I actually need this?
This one is simple. Do you actually need this? By stopping to ask yourself whether you’re making an unnecessary purchase you could save huge amounts of money. Instead of buying straight away, take a photo on your phone, leave the item there and if you still feel you need it in a week’s time go back and buy it. 99% of the time you’ll either forget about it or realise that it was an impulse purchase.
9. Cut out what you can do without
There are often things in our lives that we can simply do without. Cutting out or cutting down on things like smoking and drinking will not only have an amazing effect on your health, but will also save you a huge amount of money. If you usually play the lottery every week; STOP! Your chances of winning are incredibly small, and that money you’re spending every week is adding up without you realising it.
10. Make a budget
Looking into your finances and making a clear budget can be a great tool to help you save money. We’ve written an article all about how you can make an effective budget.