I don’t know about anyone else, but money-conscious 24/7, and at this time of year, everyone feels the pressures of Christmas costs.
October-December is always a pricey time of year for me; half my family have birthdays in October and November, before even thinking about Christmas, but this year especially, with our Disney trip in January and saving for that a high priority, I’ve had to spread the cost, and save as much as I can, wherever I can, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it, so today I’m going to share some of my money saving methods!
• Set saving targets, and stick to them.
Each month when I get paid, I put a fixed amount into my savings accounts. I have three: an ISA, which is for my future; money goes in and doesn’t come out until I need something like a mortgage deposit, and two flexible savings accounts: one for my business savings – again, money goes in and stays there – and my holiday savings, which is for just that, but also if I desperately need money, that’s where I take it from. I don’t even look at how much I get paid each month until my savings have been deducted.
• Look at earning cashback
There are loads of ways you can earn cashback these days, from choosing certain bank accounts and credit cards, to changing your shopping habits just ever so slightly. I use TopCashback, through which I earn a little bit back by shopping online as I always do, just going through their website first. After a certain amount of time, I can withdraw this money, either directly transferring it into my bank account, or turning it into vouchers for my favourite retailers. Lloyds bank also have spending rewards, where you can earn cashback just by paying using your Lloyds credit or debit card. Bearing in mind I haven’t made any big purchases (buying insurance and paying household bills through these sites can earn you loads!), I’m really impressed with what I’ve earnt just in the last few months!
• Make the most of loyalty schemes
That soft-spot you’ve got for a Costa? Yep, you can get something back from that! Your weekly food shop at Tesco could pay for a meal out, or even a day out! Buying all your Christmas presents from the Boots with their irresistible 3 for 2 offer? You could get a little extra something for yourself with the earnings from that! I have a purse full of loyalty cards, and I’m always sure to check up on how their doing for points, and what those points can get me in return; if I go to the cinema once a month, after a few months that’s a free ticket, and a happy bank account.
• Shop off-season
More often than not, the unworn items in my wardrobe are just that because I bought them in the after-season sale and now I have to wait until next year to wear them. I’m talking jumpers in July and bikinis in October; I currently have a Christmas top that I’ve bought in May that I’m just dying to finally bring out in a few weeks! It means I don’t feel guilty every time an ASOS order arrives!
My mum does this too: after Christmas she buys the Lindt chocolate bears once their cheap, and gives them to us for Easter instead of Lindt bunnies..
• Spend to save
Totally counter intuitive, I know, but sometimes paying a little extra for some things will save you in the long run. Paying £79 a year for Amazon Prime might seem steep, but that’s a whole year of movie and music streaming, as well as free next day delivery on an enormous range of items, and if you add up what you might be paying for delivery on those items, and another entertainment services, in the long run you are saving. For me, the discovery of ASOS Premier was a game-changer; £9.95 for a year of free next day delivery, plus exclusive discounts and early access to sales? I’ve already saved more than £20 in the 4 months I’ve had it!
• Re-evaluate where your money is going
Double check that you’re getting the best deals on things like your mobile phone contract, insurance, or utilities. Its so easy to become comfortable with it automatically disappearing from your bank account, but if you dig a little, you might find there are better options out there for you.
• Spread the cost
At this time of year especially, starting shopping early is key. I tend to buy things as I see them (I bought my sister’s birthday present in June this year, for her birthday in November) and start looking as early as September/October. I can then drive everyone I know mad when they start their Christmas shopping in late November-early December and I’m already done!
• Empty your coins
Carrying coins around with you can encourage bad habits because you don’t see spending them as significant as breaking a note, so you’ll buy those crisps from the vending machine, or splurge on an overpriced sandwich instead of eating the lunch you packed (packing lunches for work is also saving me a bomb!), so emptying your purse every day or week will save you more than you may realise.
Well, they work for me! What are your favourite saving hacks?