Seven easy everyday changes to make to save up to £7,500 a year
Even if you have disposable income that you can save, it doesn’t come naturally to most people.
The best way to save is to do so without even noticing. As the old saying goes, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
To do this, you should look at what you’re spending your money on, and start thinking about which of those spends you don’t need (and, unfortunately, big Asos orders and impulse purchases from Amazon don’t really count as a need).
Rick Harris, Director of money-saving website Offer of the Day, has put together a list of different ways you can look to save money day-to-day without feeling the pain.
All in all, you could bank up to £7,500 depending on what you spend now.
Although some of these might feel a little joyless in the moment, saving for something big like a house deposit is all about delayed gratification. Take the hit on the enjoyment for now, and it’ll literally pay off when you can make that long-awaited purchase.
Check out Rick’s seven easy swaps here:
Try the ‘Downshift Challenge’
Rick says: ‘Supermarket own brand items can often be just as good as the popular named brands that fill the shelves and you’ll find that there isn’t usually much difference between the two, other than advertising.
‘The “Downshift Challenge” encourages you to try dropping a brand level on your food shopping, for example choosing a branded product over a premium product, or a value product over a branded product.
‘If you’re enjoying the lower brand level product, keep buying it and save money on your food shopping. This was initially suggested by Money Saving Expert who found that a family who spends £100 on their food shop can save as much as £1,500 a year.’
Have a dig through your cupboards and you might find that you don’t even realise you’ve been using branded or premium products. More expensive items are often placed at eye level in shops, so you could have been picking up pasta, tins, and more that taste the same but cost more than their ‘downshift’ counterpart.
Annual saving: £1,500
Make your own on-the-go coffee
We know, you’ve probably been told that the reason you can’t buy a house is because you sometimes go for a flat white at a cafe. This is blatantly not true.
But, it is true that habitual takeaway coffees really do add up, and nipping them in the bud is one step in an overall plan to save money.
‘The average takeaway coffee costs around £3.40 per cup,’ says Rick.
‘A 100g jar of Barista-style coffee from the supermarket costs £4.60. Per serving, that’s 8p per mug (based on one 1.8g teaspoon), saving you £3.32 per coffee, or £23.24 a week.’
Plus, it doesn’t need to be instant if you’re snobby about those things.
Rick continues, ‘If cafetiere coffee is more to your taste, a 227g bag (30 servings) of ground coffee from the supermarket costs £3.50 (roughly 11p per serving). This will save you £3.29 per coffee and £23.03 a week.’
Estimates state that the average Brit drinks between 11 and 13 coffees a week, so if most or all of these aren’t homemade the savings add up to between £36.52 and £43.16 a week.
Annual saving: up to £2,242.34
Be prepared and pack your own lunch
Many of us working from home has shown us just how much more satisfying homemade lunches can be over soggy sandwiches.
A daily meal deal will cost you around £3, but making your own lunch – even having the exact same thing as you’d buy from the ship – is tastier and cheaper.
Rick says: ‘For example, if your go-to lunch is a ham sandwich, a standard loaf of white bread costs £1.10 and seven slices of ham costs £1.40. Include a £1.70 multipack of crisps and you’ll save around £10.80 per week just by packing lunch yourself.’
Homemade soup is a super easy one too – simply chop a load of veggies, boil in stock, add spices, and blend. Or, invest in a slow cooker to batch cook stews and dishes you can take into work.
Once we go back into the office, having a grab and go lunch will make it less tempting to pick up something expensive when you’re hungry.
Annual saving: up to £561.60
Walk to work
‘Travelling to work using public transport can get expensive over time,’ says Rick.
‘On average, a seven-day week-long bus ticket will cost £14 (outside of London), so if you can, walking to work is not only going to save you money (it’s FREE!), but it’s more eco-friendly. You’ll also feel great getting a bit more exercise into your day!’
This won’t apply to everyone, but if you calculate your route on Google maps, you might find that it’s not as much of a slog as you think.
Each day, you’ll save around £2, or £2.80 if you only use the bus pass five days per week instead of seven.
Annual saving: £728
Take advantage of a cycle-to-work scheme
If your route to work is a little too far to walk, cycling might be a great option instead.
Rick says: ‘There are great schemes that encourage you to both save the environment and get fit by cycling to work, which can also save you a nice bit of money.
‘For example, the Cyclescheme is an employee benefit that can save you between 25% and 39% on bikes and cycling equipment. You don’t even have to pay for it upfront, your employer will just take the money out of your pre-tax salary, so you don’t even have to worry.
‘For those who typically drive their commute to work five days a week (with the average distance being 8.3 miles with the average price per mile being 40p) that means a saving a £33.20 a week by switching from a car to a bicycle.’
Annual saving: £1,726.40
Switch energy bill suppliers
When was the last time you checked whether you were getting the best price on necessities like energy?
Rick states: ‘According to data on Money Expert, households can look to save up to £350 a year by switching supplier, not factoring in the additional potential saving of on average £499 per household, per year, by making small changes such as turning the thermostat down, switching to LEDs and turning off lights not in use.’
Annual saving: £350
Avoid going out for dinner
This one is going to hurt, especially given how much we all want a nice meal out right now.
One thing we can possibly take from all this, though, is the realisation that we’re saving a lot of money not eating out on a regular basis.
‘A 2019 study found that the average person before COVID-19, was spending roughly £700 a year on eating out each year,’ says Rick.
He adds: ‘Instead, when restrictions ease, consider inviting friends around to your home for a dinner date, where everyone brings a plate and a bottle, helping to split the cost too.
‘While there will be costs associated with eating in, you can just use food you already have in from your weekly or monthly food shop – so it won’t feel like such a splurge.’
No one will begrudge you a plate of restaurant pasta now and again, but try to be more mindful of it to save a whole lot come the end of the year.
Annual saving: £700
For more money-saving advice as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join Metro.co.uk’s Facebook group, Money Pot.
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