More and more people are looking for advice on the best way to save money for extra expenses, or to make it to the end of the month without worrying about bills or mortgage payments.
When income is limited, it is essential to keep expenses under control and rely on a few small tricks to save on spending and on the daily management of the house and family, and also accumulate a sum of money to deal with unexpected events or to invest in an important project.
Determining the best way to save money is not difficult, but you need to be very clear about what you want to achieve with the money you save.
Saving money to meet family expenses such as food, bills, rent or mortgage, and children's activities is different from saving to have money available to invest in other projects such as traveling, buying a house, a car, or an expensive course of study.
Having the goals in mind will help you to take the right direction and not waste money unnecessarily. Once you have established the purpose for which you want to set aside savings, you need to understand whether it is realistic, following the S.M.A.R.T. method, devised by the American psychologist Edwin Locke.
If a goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based, then it is achievable, and you can set to work on saving.
Of course, saving varies from person to person, depending on one's income and lifestyle. Here are some of the best ways to save money:
Best way to save money - Financial planning is important for saving
Initially, the best way to save money is financial planning, which allows you to monitor your income and expenditure and set a ceiling on your spending and a savings target. You can start with a minimum short-term goal, saving a small amount per week, which makes it easier to achieve.
Even £10 per week can help to accumulate a small amount to be used for an unexpected event.
Some expenses cannot be avoided, especially those related to housing, transport or for medicines, or any ongoing financing.
Knowing how much your fixed expenses are will help you to keep your finances under control and avoid running out of money for an installment or a tax bill.
It may sound trivial, but working every day is one of the best ways to save money, even if it is just a few cents.
Keeping your receipts and bills divided into categories will help you to understand which expenses put the greatest strain on your budget.
If your current account is debited, you will already have all your expenses, including phone top-ups and card payments, sorted by category in the home banking section. At the end of the month, it will be clear which expenses are the biggest burden on the budget and which can be avoided.
Best way to save money - Tips for saving money on food every day
One of the most bought items on any family budget is food. While looking for the best way to save money on food, you don't have to fast or starve yourself, you just need to follow a few small steps to cut out a few too many expenses.
· Before you go out shopping, it is very helpful to plan your meals for the whole week, even if only in outline. By planning meals at home, in the office, or any lunches or dinners out, you don't risk buying food that won't be eaten.
· Also, avoid being tempted by offers or ready-made food packages so as not to fill your shopping trolley with junk food.
· Also always bear in mind that buying fruit and vegetables already cut and packaged unnecessarily increases your bill.
· Making a shopping list is another way of buying only the bare essentials and not taking unnecessary food or products home.
· Entering the supermarket with a full stomach helps to avoid the temptation to raid the shelves and buy unnecessary food.
· When shopping, making a rough mental calculation of how much you are spending can help keep your receipt under control.
· Keeping an eye on current offers, discounts and promotions, even in different supermarkets, can save you a lot of money at the end of the month.
· Another best way to save money on food is not to eat in the canteen or the cafeteria below the office but to bring your lunch.
· Of course, going out to dinner should also be reduced or eliminated.
Best way to save money on utility bills
Utility bills are also one of the biggest items on the list of household expenses. Today, the market is partially liberalized and allows you to choose the cheapest supplier.
· Firstly, the best way to save money on utility bills is to compare different offers and choose the one that best suits your needs. Offers vary from one company to another, even over time, so you can change suppliers whenever you find one with a better rate.
· Do not leave plugs of devices that are not in use plugged in: computers, mobile phone chargers, TVs, and appliances that are not in use.
· Lowering the heating thermostat by even just one degree can result in considerable savings at the end of the year.
· Checking the closing of windows and doors and plugging any draughts helps to keep the house warmer and with less energy loss.
· If you don't use the landline telephone network, you can consider canceling your contract and signing up for an internet-only contract. The choice of internet connection should also be made among the cheapest on the market.
· If you spend a lot of time away from home and do not use your pay-TV subscription, it is pointless to wait until you have time to spare, it is better to cancel it immediately.
· To save money, it may also be useful to consider the possibility of installing photovoltaic panels, also taking advantage of the incentives and tax breaks available.
Best way to save money - Other small steps to save money
Household expenses are not only limited to housing, food, and utilities, other items add up to a higher outgoings cost.
Car and transport costs, clothing, leisure and travel costs can be reduced without giving up any of them.
· Using public transport instead of the car whenever possible is one of the best ways to save money on petrol. If the situation allows, you can even do without a car and save on road tax, insurance, parking, and maintenance.
· If the car is indispensable, you can limit consumption by maintaining a careful driving style, avoiding hard braking or frequent acceleration. For petrol, the same applies as for supermarkets and utilities: check the cheapest petrol station.
· For the homework trip, you can organize with a colleague and share the costs.
· Train and plane tickets are cheaper out of season and on weekdays, which means that you don't have to give up traveling to save money, but simply follow a few guidelines.
· To buy clothes and other items of clothing, you can take advantage of sales or promotional sales, also checking online offers.
· Investing in quality is one way to ensure that an item of clothing or a pair of shoes will last and save money over the years.
· Don't buy something just because it's on sale, but always ask yourself if you need it.
· Not going shopping during a stressful time is a way to avoid impulse and meaningless purchases.
· If you want to save money on cinema and theatre tickets, it is best to take advantage of the cheapest days of the week. Find out about free or reduced-price screenings at open-air cinemas or arenas.
· To avoid unnecessary expenditure, it is also useful to follow the 48-hour rule: give yourself a period to think about the purchase you intend to make. If, after 48 hours, you no longer think about the object or service you intend to buy, then it is not worth investing money in it.