The New Year is the perfect time to take a look at your expenditure and make a few small changes to save yourself some money!
The first thing we do every New Year is to sit and look through all of our bills and outgoings. I keep a renewal dates document which details all of our direct debit bills and when the current contract ends (this can be found here).
The big things like our mortgage doesn’t change as it’s on a fixed tariff for a few years, but other bills like gas, electric, phone bills etc are mostly on one year contracts that end around now – which means it’s the ideal time to look around for money saving deals and to haggle with your preferred suppliers! I’m often surprised by how many people I know that let their utilities/bills run past the fixed term rate on to rolling contracts that are normally extortionately higher – it really does make a huge difference to shop around when your fixed term rates end.
If you really like your current supplier, let’s say it’s your mobile phone contract provider for example, then it’s worth talking to them about loyalty discounts and rates – have a price in mind and if you can find competitive rates from other suppliers to negotiate.
Last year when doing our usual comparison we found what we thought was a better deal with another broadbrand provider, however let’s just say it became apparent very quickly that they couldn’t provide all that they had been promising, so we went back to Talk Talk (weeks after informing them that we were leaving) and managed to secure a similar rate with them, so returned to our original supplier with a better rate! BT and Plusnet often have great deals on too.
Take a look at all of your bills from home insurance (would recommend the John Lewis one) to car insurance to phone contracts and make sure that you’ve negotiated the best deal before each contract ends.
On the subject of bills, keep an organised filing system for each type to ensure that you can always find what you need easily and that you don’t let anything slip – penalty charges aren’t worth it!
You can read more about my own filing system here.
Something else that I always talk about is meal planning! It not only saves lots of hassle but it also saves lots of money and wastage I find. If you plan and shop for only the ingredients you need, it will save money compared to just buying random items that you don’t need.
Another tip to save money is to try Aldi or Lidl – my personal preference is Aldi! They are definitely cheaper than other supermarkets and we do most of our shop at Aldi before finishing up with branded items in Asda.
You can read more about meal planning here.
Lunch and Coffee’s
So many of us are guilty of not having enough time to make lunch to take to work or picking up tea/coffee on the way to work – all these things add up and end up costing lots of money!We always dedicate a little bit of time twice a week to prepare lunches to take to work, which saves us money and is often healthier as it’s homemade. As for the tea/coffee issue, I take an insulated coffee cup to work each day with tea in – they can be picked up really cheap and you can probably do a whole months worth of tea at the cost you would buy one from Costa/Starbucks!
You can read some of my work lunch suggestions here.
This is quite a new one for me but so far I’m impressed! It’s not always the best option, so worth checking the cashback rate but for some things like flights or shops that don’t have discount codes it has worked out the best option – my biggest single cashback has been £16 from flights abroad, it all adds up.
You can also convert your cashback amount to vouchers for retailers which gives you slightly more value, which is useful when you already have things you want to buy in mind such as theatre tickets in my case!
You can try Top Cashback here.
Flights and Holidays
The winter blues also makes this the top time of year for us to focus on booking holidays – we’ve been busy booking away the last few weeks! This is another area that you can save money on though – use search engines like Sky Scanner to compare flights, do a comparison of package holiday vs booking separately and check prices for a few days for hotels on sites like Booking.com.
It’s worth booking your hotel well in advance, if you know the dates, on a site like booking.com to secure the best rate (as you normally don’t pay this until arrival) and booking flights later. This is what we have done on our New York trip, which if you compare our hotel price now to when we booked 2 months ago is a whopping £200 difference for the same dates/room! We like to use something like booking.com where I can keep comparing the best deals and not have to pay until arrival.
Not always easy if you have kids but if you have flexibility then do wider searches that show different dates/weeks to get the lowest price.
I’ve said this in another post but I always look for voucher codes before pressing the checkout button – they don’t always exist but it’s worth looking!
I’ve got a page of my codes here.
This one is more about making some extra money than saving it as such! This time of year is also great for reselling, whether it be unwanted Christmas presents or just decluttering unwanted items. I normally opt for selling things on eBay or another recent favourite is Facebook sales – this was also how we gave away our unwanted garden tiles/bricks etc as it appears on people’s sales pages that are more local to you.Have a good declutter (you can read my top decluttering advice here) and make a little extra money by selling anything you don’t want on!
Here’s to a wealthy, healthy and happy 2018!
Lots of love