If one of your new year’s resolutions is to try and spend less then 2015 is going to be the year of making budgets stretch further. Whether you’re trying to achieve cut backs or you’re looking for intelligent ways to make the pounds buy more, here are five great suggestions on how to save money in 2015:
1. Get a cash back credit card. While we’re all painfully aware that a credit card itself is not free money, if you get a card with cash back then that’s about as close to free cash as you’re ever going to get! Choose a card that rewards you with vouchers to spend in shops, with air miles or actual cash back and use the extra money to pay for the treats that fall outside of a strict budget. Look out for debit cards that offer cash back too – NatWest, for example, has recently begun to offer this with its current account.
2. Get active. We spend a lot of money on exercise and transport when really all we need for both is a sturdy pair of trainers. Make this the year that you cancel your gym membership – start jogging or using community park outdoor gyms instead and save yourself that monthly fee. Instead of driving or taking public transport start walking as often as you can or invest in a second hand bike (with helmet) so you always have your own free, green form of transport wherever you need to go.
3. Rent what you can’t afford. The days of all of us coveting IT bags from big name designers or splashing the entirety of a credit card on a designer suit are long gone. The recession has given rise to a new trend and that’s renting all those expensive items that you can’t afford to buy. Instead of putting money aside to make that big splashy purchase, save it instead and just rent yourself whatever you need for the occasion, whether that’s a pair of Jimmy Choos or a car.
4. Don’t buy extras. By this, we mean all those purchases that you dismiss as being ok because they’re small, but which really do add up in the end. Your daily take out coffee could easily be replaced with a thermos brought from home, bottled water purchased each day switched for a re-usable bottle and instead of paying a fortune for your daily smoothie, simply make it at home and then take it with you on the move. You can enjoy all the little extras that you love in life without having to spend a fortune on them.
5. Halt your energy wastage. There are so many ways in which we waste energy that we end up paying for and you can save a lot on your bills with a few simple steps. Try switching your energy supplier to see if you can get a cheaper deal elsewhere and make sure your boiler is serviced and your home insulated so you’re not wasting money on inefficiencies. Turn off electrical appliances that aren’t in use – the Energy Saving Trust estimates that we waste £50 – £86 a year on energy supplied to gadgets that aren’t actually in use – and plug the gaps in walls and doors that are letting heat escape.