The average Brit does not have 3 months salary saved up, leaving them vulnerable to any potential financial emergencies. 25% of the British public has less than £1,000 in savings. Putting money aside does not have to be a daunting hassle and can be done the easy way. Here are some methods to inspire you to grab hold of your personal financial situation on a low-income salary:
The first place to start is by eliminating any existing short term debt – don’t waste your hard-earned money paying interest on credit card debt. Try to keep credit card use at bay and only use it for essentials which should be paid off at the end of the month to avoid interest. The BBC covers the dangers of debt in an article.
Make A Budget
Saving is much easier when you have a list of expenditure in an Excel sheet to track and update. There are a number of free budgeting templates available to download on your phone app; simply insert your income and expenditure breakdown to analyse which areas you can feasibly cut down on. Keep a sheet for each month to analyse your spending trends per quarter and annum. Your bank statement will come in handy to pinpoint impulse purchases. Set aside a fixed amount that is available to spend and do not exceed this amount. Make long term and short term forecasts. Don’t spend more than you earn and do not be lured by the idea of credit; this is a foolproof way to not get into unnecessary debt. Find it hard to save? Try the new passive saving app Chip to put away loose change each month.
Brand names do not always guarantee quality. An expensive brand isn’t automatically superior to a supermarket’s own versions of the same product. A blind test of 100 consumers found that 95% could not taste the difference between a supermarket own brand porridge and a more expensive version. The differences in price may not seem like much but in a weekly grocery shop run, things can quickly begin to add up. Try getting your cleaning products from Poundland.
Supermarket Price Comparison
It doesn’t pay to be a loyal customer to one supermarket. This is a savvy way to control how much you are paying for your weekly grocery shop and it is as easy as using a price comparison website or app to automatically find the deals for you. Who wants to spend hours poring over several websites to manually find the cheapest prices for household goods? Here is a top review of the supermarket cashback App called Shopmium. The old adage time is money springs to mind.
Avoid Impulse Buys
There is no question that we are a very consumerist nation. Big companies use artful marketing tactics to tempt you into buying their products – every energy has to be summoned up to resist the urge to impulse buy.
Here is a simple checklist to minimise unnecessary purchases:
- Do you really need it? (Answer honestly!)
- Can you afford it? A simple way to measure this is to ask yourself if you can comfortably buy two lots of this item without using credit. If the answer is no, then the likely answer will also be no.
- Will you still want this item in a week’s time? In many situations, the item you have just chanced upon and are instantly drawn to may no longer be of interest to you in a week.
Only buy what you need. Form a pattern of groceries and household goods you typically buy, buy them in bulk and lower your overall long-term spending. If you do need to buy the item, consider using a cashback site for free money on new purchases (i.e. MymoneyPocket, Topcashback or Quidco).
Cancel Unused Memberships
If you have a subscription to the gym that you’re not using or a streaming service that is lying to waste, consider stopping them. Cancel these subscriptions and bask in the glory of knowing that you are redirecting that money to a better financial cause.
Many of us know we are not always getting the best deal on our energy bills, phone contracts or bank accounts but think it is too much of a hassle to change. The major providers know this and even offer incentives to win potential customers over into doing business them. On Great Deals Made Easy site there are some great broadband deals from leading providers. Several banks pay a generous amount if you switch over and use them as your main bank account; in fact, you can change bank accounts several times to take advantage of the free money incentives.
When your phone contract is coming to an end and it’s time to upgrade, it pays to shop around for the best deal. If you have been with your phone provider for several years, this loyalty will not necessarily be rewarded. Many phone providers will spend the bulk of their marketing campaigns into attracting new customers, using discounts as incentives whilst overlooking their existing customers. To make sure you’re getting a good deal, search for the phone you want and look at the phone provider which offers the best package. See some great mobile phone deals for SIM-only and handset offerings.
The £1 Meal Challenge
When you can work out how to spend this much a meal, you’ll save bucketloads in the long run. The £1 meal challenge forces you to scour the yellow sticker discount items and encourages you to cook from scratch. Meal deals and takeaways are popular due to convenience and cutting out the need to cook more often. Learn to love your Jamie Oliver cookbooks and construct mealtimes a week in advance to avoid panic buying produce costing you over the odds. Allow yourself to be creative with your ingredients! Remember to never go food shopping when hungry as this encourages you to purchase more unnecessary snacks such as crisps, sugary foods and other processed items.
Get Rid Of The Car
If you can ditch the car and use public transport, cycle or walk, then you can potentially save thousands of pounds a year on insurance, road tax, fuel, parking and servicing. If your car is your lifeline, cut back on fuel costs and give the car a break on the days you’re not commuting to work and cycle or walk instead. Read how much you can save cycling to work.
Let us know your best way to save money fast on a low income over on Twitter. Need some more tips on saving up for your future? Check out 20 saving tips from UK leading bloggers and cheap things to do whilst working from home. Want to save up for a home? For money-saving apps reviews read about Airtime Rewards (which rewards you with phone credit for buying items passively) and a supermarket cashback App called Shopmium. (which rewards you buying new items).