There's no denying it, saving up can be a real pain, and there is no shame in admitting that we’ve all needed a little money-saving tip or trick here and there.
So, whether you are saving for a new house, a new car, or just want to benefit from becoming thriftier and more financially savvy, there are a handful of underrated ways to fill your piggybank that you just haven’t explored yet.
So, why not stick around and find out some of the best underrated ways to save money?
1. Lifestyle Changes
In our current worldview, it is sometimes difficult to avoid getting sucked into our ever-growing consumer culture, and refrain from indulging in everyday luxuries.
However, there are numerous small and underrated lifestyle modifications that you can make today which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Adventurous Kate, for example, made small lifestyle changes that helped her save $13,000 for travel in just seven months.
• Among these changes included her putting her romantic life on hold, by temporarily quitting dating. She addresses how she used to be fairly active on a dating app and go on dates quite frequently. As a result, she was consistently spending money on food and alcohol, which added up pretty quickly.
• Another factor was her change in social and food habits. So, alternatively to going for a fancy dinner with her peers, they would instead meet her for a coffee, or just have a movie night at home. Never underestimate a dinner party with your friends – you can do a collective shopping trip, have fun cooking together, whilst spending less than half the price of a restaurant meal!
2. Learn Supermarket Tactics
Supermarkets are masters at enticing us to buy, buy, buy. This is why we need to train ourselves to always be one step ahead, so we don’t fall victim to their shrewd marketing schemes.
• Smells: Think about it. What’s the first thing you smell when you enter a supermarket? The tempting smells of the fresh bread and pastries get me every time. This tends to make you hungrier and so you end up buying more than you need to.
To avoid this, always eat before you go! A combination of an empty stomach and the lingering smells of the fresh bakery will not work in your favour. You will just go home with a lighter pocket whilst the supermarket profits.
• Smartly Placed Products: As soon as you arrive at the till, supermarkets rely on customers’ impulse to make a quick profit. They skilfully position magazines, chocolate bars, and other tempting treats in hope that customers act on impulse and grab a small, but unjustified treat to render their shopping trip a success.
• Sale Cycles: There are always certain times throughout the year that supermarkets bring out the best deals and promotional offers. An example of this comes from Nerd Wallet who states that “Holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are known for their candy sales”.
But it is not just special holidays where you can benefit from these bargains. There are also certain times throughout the day where supermarkets will reduce their prices. Although this varies depending on the supermarket, you are likely to enjoy most 50% off reductions at 5pm.
3. Don't Use Your Credit Card
Imagining life without your credit card can seem nearly impossible, right?
But what if I told you that it was possible, and that you can save yourself a lot of money, especially if you are already on a lower income?
Well, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s take a look at some of the ways credit cards can cause you to spend more:
• Psychological Effects: Statistics compiled by Spend Journal forecasts that “By 2026 the total value of card payments is projected to reach £942 billion, up from £638 billion in 2016.” The increasing use of contactless cards has made purchasing goods even easier and quicker and other studies show that you spend 20% less if you use money, alternatively to cash.
• Interest Charges: If you fail to meet your monthly credit card repayments then you will be charged interest on your purchases. Unless, of course, you have bagged yourself a 0% interest deal. With cash, on the other hand, you are spending all of your own money, and you don’t have to worry about accruing any debt or additional charges.
Ken, from The Humble Penny, is also an advocate of using cash and not credit. He believes that “the inability to manage cash flow is the number one reason most people are broke.” Ken also has some great tips and tricks on how to budget and save on a low income, that you might be interested in.
4. Money-saving Utility Hacks
In a consumer trends report published by the Office for National Statistics, it is no surprise that household spending grew by 1.6% from mid 2017 to mid 2018.
And we’ve all tried turning the lights off and piling on the extra layers, but what are some underrated and unique ways to save on home utility expenses?
• Invest In Thermal Liner: Thermal wallpaper is a great way to protect heat loss and retain heat in a room. Consequently, you can save on your energy bills and stay warm throughout the British winter.
• Use A Halogen Oven: Investing in a halogen oven gives you a healthy and affordable alternative. These particular types of ovens save up to 75% more energy than a standard oven and cook up to 50% faster.
• Use Dryer Balls: Dryer balls are great at reducing the dry time of your washing, as well as keeping them soft. They work as a 2-in-1 savings; not only are you saving on fabric softener, but you can also skip using the dryer, and therefore, reduce your monthly utility bill outgoings.
Lauren Greutman, a personal finance expert, also recommends these and advocates aluminium foil as a great thrifty alternative. To find out other expert acclaimed ways to save on your utility bills, check out her article here.
5. Going To Bed Earlier
Our fast-moving lifestyles has gotten us into bad habits and has forced us to stay awake later at night. As a result, we use more electricity to keep us entertained, in turn, spending more money!
Going to bed earlier is not just beneficial to your electricity bills, but also to your mental health, beauty sleep, and productivity levels!
A study shows that those who stay awake later at night are at higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, as well as losing muscle mass. It was also found that these individuals tend to indulge in unhealthy activities such as smoking and drinking.
6. Buy Things Second Hand
Most of us enjoy that feeling of bringing something brand new home. But, you can find almost anything online these days for even half for the price! What’s more, second hand doesn’t necessarily mean digging around a grubby old thrift store.
I was always a big critic when it came to buying used goods online, but I decided to give it a go and purchase a new phone off Music Magpie. To my surprise, I received my iPhone for half the price, and it was in mint condition!
Now I exclusively use second hand sites to find larger purchases including laptops, cameras, and digital equipment, and so far, so good!
Enjoyed this article? Why not check out Tips For Saving For Your Family next?