Saving money and budgeting

Saving money might not seem like the most exciting thing to do with it, but it’s important to have a financial cushion if you are hit with a large, unexpected, bill.

Here are 10 suggestions to save some cash without having a huge impact on your life.



Create a budget:  This should clearly outline what money you have coming in each month and what you plan to spend it on to ensure that you are only spending what you can afford. The crucial thing is to make sure that there is more money coming in than is going out.  This budget planner from Money Saving Expert is a good start.



Shop around: Utilities like gas, electric, telephone and broadband may attract you with appealing introductory offers. However once the offer expires you could end up paying more in the long term.  Look around before your contract is due for renewal. Often companies like Sky or BT will offer attractive deals to get you to switch.  Companies often offer you deals to move more than one utility to them, rather than buying them all separately from different suppliers.



Bank accounts: If you don’t have one you are missing out. Most companies offer discounts when you pay regular bills via direct debit which lower your monthly outgoings. Electricity and gas companies are prime examples and provide you with a cheaper rate than if you pay by other means.  If you’ve struggled to get a bank account in the past, this guide on basic bank accounts might help.



Pay for prescriptions in advance:
If you need more than three prescriptions in three months then you can save money. This can be done by buying a Prescription Payment Certificate (PPCs). If you buy prescriptions separately they will cost £7.85 each, but a three month PPCs costs £29.10. That would save you over £15 in three months if you buy 2 prescriptions per month.



Reduce your food bill: There are numerous ways to this, but simple things like making a list so you know exactly what you need, to shopping in a rush so that you don’t spend time looking for additional things to buy are good ways to reduce what you spend.



Use less energy:
Read Home Group’s guide to saving energy.



Sell items you no longer use: We all have stuff that we no longer use or have a need for. To you it may be worthless, but to others it is treasure waiting to be found. Why not turn your ‘worthless stuff’ into cash and sell it to others. There are numerous website and places to do this for free including eBay and Gumtree, or even a local car boot sale.



Clear credit card debt: Like all loans you pay interest on the amount you borrow. Credit cards are no exception yet they often carry the highest interest rates. If you only pay back the minimum monthly amount you may not even paying the interest, putting you into further debt. By paying more back each month you will be lowering the overall amount you pay. If you are struggling with debt there are a number of debt advice services you can get help from found on our website.



Take a packed lunch to work: This is no effort at all and all it requires is a little organisation. If you buy your lunch each day at work you could be wasting a small fortune. A typical meal deal costs about £3 - that’s £15 a week or more than £700 a year!



Avoid unnecessary travel costs: Getting to work is often one of the biggest outgoings on the UK household. However many journeys, especially in cities and towns, are under a mile.  Why not take the healthy option and walk to work when you can and save a little money in the process.