3.2.6 How to trim your expenditure
There are so many ways to save money. Here are a few of the more common ideas from personal finance experts.
- Paying some bills by direct debit may save you money, for example utility bills. (But check this carefully as some bills such as household and car insurance may cost more if paid monthly by direct debit.)
- Think about remortgaging. Saving 1% on a £100,000 mortgage saves up to £83 a month (you look at mortgages in more detail in Week 6).
- Shop around when it’s time to renew insurance premiums. Premiums are often increased each year, relying on customers not bothering to switch to another company. Also check that you’re not paying for any ‘extras’ you didn’t ask for or want (you look at insurance in Week 8).
- If you’re paying high interest on your credit cards, look for 0% deals on balance transfers but check for transfer fees.
- Switch suppliers of gas, electricity, telephone or internet connection. Consider a water meter. There are major savings to be had in these areas.
- Reconsider being a member of a gym, and pay as you go instead – this can save money depending on how often you go.
- Think about whether a branded item is really value for money.
- Cut down on the number of takeaway meals you have – cutting from two to one a week would typically save over £250 a year.
- Call your mobile phone supplier and ask them if there’s a better tariff to suit your needs.
- Buying in bulk for items such as contact lenses saves a lot of money.
- Taking packed lunches to work can save lunch costs.
- Buy fresh fruit and vegetables in season. Check whether a local market is cheaper than the supermarket.
- Turn off lights, don’t leave stand-by buttons on and turn down the thermostat to save large amounts on energy bills (and help the environment) each year.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. Try to use money-off coupons from papers and magazines where possible.
- Think carefully about buying extended warranties – it may be better simply to put aside some money in case of a problem.
- If you have internet access, look for price comparison websites to find the best deals.
You’ve read the list of tips from experts. Can you identify any social and economic changes that have influenced these ideas?