At ivaplan.co.uk we understand how difficult it can be to keep track of your finances. If you find yourself in debt our team of help advisors are on hand to guide you through the process of an IVA in order to get your finances back on track. However starting an IVA payment plan is only the beginning. Clearing your debt is not easy and often requires making changes to your lifestyle. While significantly altering your spending habits can improve you bank balance, this is not always achievable. Although there are many ways to save a little extra money each month which involve only small changes. These small lifestyle changes, over time, can dramatically boost your bank balance.
1. Keep the change
Saving money doesn’t have to mean transferring huge amounts of money from one bank account to another every month. At the end of each day, clear any coppers and five pence coins from your purse or ewallet and put them in a piggy bank. It is amazing how much money can be raised from small change over the course of a year. Alternatively you could save £2 coins or £5 notes to make even more money without leaving yourself short of cash to spend.
2. Buy in bulk
This tip applies more to food than any other expenditure. Cooking larger amounts of one dish and freezing extra portions to use later in the week, as opposed to cooking for one and throwing away leftovers can save a significant amount of money over time.
3. Cook in
You may think that, by simply avoiding take-aways and going to restaurants in the evening, you are saving every penny you can by cooking in. Although, if ‘eating in’ constitutes as heating up ready meals for dinner then you are spending more money than is necessary. Making time to cook from scratch will always work out cheaper than buying any ready meal. In addition, grabbing a coffee every morning or sandwich and drink most lunchtimes costs more than you think each month. Take food and drink from home to work to avoid spending as much money as possible through the week.
4. Use an app
There are an abundance of money management apps available to download, and most of them are free. These apps often sync to all of your bank accounts, allowing you to keep track of all your transactions from one place. Many also have budgeting facilities, alerts for when bills are due and spending analysis tools to pinpoint where you can save more money.
5. Budget for everything
Whether you use an app or not, budgeting is vital when it comes to saving money. Allocating money to various expenditures every month, such as household bills, socialising, car insurance etc sets limits on your spending that you will be less inclined to ignore. Having a greater awareness of what you spend each month will, in the long run, save you a considerable amount of money.
6. Pay bills
No matter how little money you are left with at the end of each month it is important to pay as many bills as possible on time and in full. Not doing so will only result in added charges which, for some credit cards, can be really expensive. Making small, short term sacrifices in order to pay bills will prevent major financial setbacks in the long term.
7. Switch bank accounts
Having an awareness of all of the different UK banks and offers they have for their customers is a worthwhile exercise when it comes to saving money. Switching bank accounts may seem like a hassle, but when you could be benefitting from one bank account, whilst you are registered to another, it’s worth making the move.
8. Threaten to switch mobile provider
Those who work in retention are employed to make sure that current customers do not switch to another service provider. They will do this by offering the best deal they possibly can should that customer ask to cancel their mobile phone contract. These deals will not be available in store or online. Therefore, even if you have no intention of switching mobile companies but would like to save a little money, it is worth threatening to leave in order to get a better deal on your mobile contract.
9. Turn off the television
Your electricity bill is, most likely, one of your biggest recurring expenditures. While we need electricity to use necessary household appliances there are some electricals that we use needlessly and cost a lot of money. The television is something we often leave on in the background or watch mindlessly in the evening. By only turning the television on when we want to watch a specific programme, as opposed to habitually flicking through channels throughout the day your electricity bill could be significantly reduced. Switching off the television, alongside all electrical appliances, at the mains also saves a considerable amount of energy and money.
10. Sign up for loyalty cards
Lots of UK high street stores offer loyalty cards. When you spend money in that particular shop you can accrue points on your card to spend at a later date. These cards are particularly useful for frequent purchases such as toiletries and groceries.
11. Use price comparison sites
There are still a number of people who don’t use price comparison websites as they think the process of trawling through prices and offers is time consuming. Price comparison websites, on the contrary, make the process of finding the best deal very simple. They compare a whole range of services from car insurance to flights.
For many, the prospect of ‘saving for a rainy day’ or ‘cutting back’ can seem a little daunting, especially if you already live on very little disposable income. However, at ivaplan.co.uk we know that saving money doesn’t necessarilly mean parting with a lump sum of your income every month. The easiest and most efficient way of saving money is making lots of small changes to your lifestyle and spending habits. Assessing how you spend your money, rather than dealing with the consequences of what money you have spent can really boost your bank balance. Even if the changes and savings seem insignificant, your money will add up to significant amount after 12 months of being sensible with your income.