It's amazing how much money you can save by just making a few relatively painless changes to your everyday life. Here are ten top tips....
1. Don't buy bottled water. At around 80p for a 1.5 ltr (your recommended daily amount) it really is a very expensive luxury, especially since in Britain we have perfectly healthy tap water available for next-to-nothing. Don't like the taste of tap water? Perhaps you could get to like it more easily if you realised drinking the bottled variety could be costing you around £350 a year!
2. Don't skip breakfast. Not only is it the most important meal of the day, it's cheap if you make it yourself . Eating a good breakfast will mean you won't want expensive Starbucks-style coffee, sandwiches and chocolate bars mid morning.
3. If you can, buy 'value' items in the supermarkets. I swapped my favorite branded antiperspirant recently in favour of the supermarkets' own make - result....it was a QUARTER of the price, smelt great, and I still have all the friends I had before so it obviously works just fine!
4. Take a look at your direct debits. Are you paying to belong to a gym you no longer use? Are you subscribing to a magazine you no longer read? Cancel any direct debits that aren't essential.
5. Just as you look forward to spending money at the weekend, get into the habit of looking forward to saving money. Put a little aside each week, without fail. You'll hardly miss it and you will be amazed at how quick it grows.
6. Car boot sales. Shop there, sell there. Markets and car boot sales are great places to buy second-hand baby clothes (trust me, baby won't mind!), household cleaning products, toilet rolls, coffee, tea bags, brooms, shampoo, and all that kinda stuff for much, much less than Sainsburys or Tesco. Want to know how to make money there? Read my other top rated guide to car booting for some very helpful tips.
7. Slow down and save money! Not surprisingly, your car will do more miles per gallon at 50 mph than 70. Just leave a little ealier and take it slower. You will save loads, have less chance of a being involved in a serious accident and you'll help the environment too. Plus, for course, you won't be getting those expensive speeding fines!
8. Do you remember the time when we bought clothes because our others had worn out? No, neither do I, but my grandmas did. If you just rearranged your wardrobe a little, into seasons or colours you might be surprised at what you come across. A forgotten purchase perhaps, a new combination of items, or a re-vamping of an old favorite. Most of us are caught up in an orgy of 'buying stuff' for the sake of it. STOP! Remind yourself how long it took to earn the money you're about to spend on that little dress, or those cute shoes. Are you buying them because you really need them or because you need a quick feel-good fix?
9. Don't have pets. Dogs and cats are lovely to own but don't kid yourself they come cheap. The purchase price is just the start! When you consider the weekly cost of food, grooming, bedding, neutering, insurance, boarding fees, the obligatory vaccinations, replacement costs of damaged furniture and carpets and the emergency vet bills etc., these little critters will keep you poorer than you want to be. Snakes, reptiles and tropical fish are all expensive additions you should put off getting until you don't have to count the cost, in fairness to you and the animals.
10. Ladies....makeup....buy from the supermarket, not the department store! Unless there is a medical reason why you chose one brand over the other, economise on this area. Trust me...no one will notice or even care if you spent £29.99 on that little bottle of Madame Whatnots Satin Smooth Age Eliminating Hyper Illuminating Foundation with Real Mongolian Monkey Gland Extract or something you got from Superdrug for £3.99. Ditto with eyeshadows, nail varnish, mascara etc. If you apply it well you'll still look a million dollars and you'll save almost that much too!
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