With winter on its way out the door, and spring coming in with all its bright colors and warm days, it’s easy to get sucked into buying fever.
We all want new things for the summer months, like new clothes, swimming costumes, summer shoes, a gym membership, or a weight loss program. But for our own mental health, and the health of our budgets and bank accounts, it’s important to try to stop ourselves from buying these largely unnecessary things and find ways to save money instead.
Here are 8 ways you can save money this summer.
- Stop Using Your Credit Card
It’s very easy to rely on a credit card when you’re going through a rough patch financially, and although there may be times when that option is, quite literally, a lifesaver, credit card debt can be a hindrance to your financial wellbeing if payments become unmanageable.The interest rates on credit card debt are often very high, and usually, the minimum payment on your credit card will cover the interest and only a tiny portion of the actual debt, keeping you in debt for years to come.
So rather than using your credit card for unnecessary things you want, try to pay as much as you can into it each month, and keep it only for emergencies.
- Don’t Shop Impulsively
We all love to shop, and when it’s month-end and your salary has come through, there’s nothing more fun than coming home with a few new purchases on your arm, or anticipating those deliveries from your online shopping spree, but did you really need to spend that money?Our go-to tip for shopping fever is “give it time”. This means, when you see something you like, don’t buy it right away. Give it some thought over the next few weeks, and decide if you really need that item. Chances are it is a want, rather than a need, and after a couple of weeks you won’t feel so strongly about it anyway.
Another thing to be careful of is “sales” and “offers”. In many cases these words are used to trick you into buying items that have previously had their prices raised for a short time, in order to make you think it is now cheaper. Be sure to research any sales or offers you are considering, and only purchase it if you need it.
- Use a Budgeting App
Budgeting is something that many people find very difficult. Some people have never even tried to do it, out of fear and confusion. In the past, generating and managing a budget likely meant creating a complicated table in Excel, and constantly updating and correcting it.With the advent of budgeting apps, there’s no reason to be afraid of or confused by the idea of a budget. Simply download one of the many easy-to-use apps that are available today, and input your information for a quick and easy budget plan that will have you saving money in no time.
- Financial Spring Cleaning
It’s that time of year when a good spring clean is in order; for your house, after the long, cold winter, but it also works wonders for your finances. Start by printing out your bank statements and having a good hard look at all your expenses.Are there subscriptions and direct debits for things you aren’t using? When last did you read the paper that gets delivered to your door, instead of just using it for cleaning? When last did you go to the gym, or read that magazine? You may even be able to downgrade some of your subscriptions, which in addition to canceling anything you aren’t using will quickly save you a few pounds each month.
Also, look closely at your bank records to see what you’re spending your spare cash on. How much are you spending on takeaway coffees, work lunches, extra pairs of shoes? When you add it all up each month, you may surprise yourself.
- Ditch the Office (if you can)
The pandemic has been a terrible time for many people, but it has also taught us many things. One of these things is that working from home is far easier than anyone previously thought. It’s also cheaper and more convenient.Not everyone can work from home, we know, and some might only be able to do it some of the time. But even if you can bring your office visits down to 3 or 4 days a week, you will still save a significant amount of money in commuting costs, takeaway coffees, and work lunches.
- Watch Your Grocery Habits
In winter, we quickly get into the habit of buying heavier, warmer, more comforting foods, and when summer arrives, we need to break that habit, and start buying more fresh, healthy, and generally cheaper options. It’s also a good idea to spring clean your pantry – you may find some great meal options in there that have been hidden and ignored on a shelf for the last 6 months.Create a habit of preparing food at home, and try to skip the takeaways and bought snacks. A good way to do this is to start preparing your work lunches in advance, getting the hard work done on the weekends.
Meal prepping is a great idea for any working individual who struggles to find time in the evenings. Spend a few hours each weekend preparing your meals for the week – chopping vegetables, cooking some freezable dishes, and ensuring you have enough fresh produce to last the week.
- Look for an Energy Discount
Energy prices in the UK are continuing to increase, so if you can look at your costs, and switch providers to get a cheaper tariff, now is the time to do so. Look for deals offered by energy suppliers for people who switch to their service.If you are on a month-to-month service, you can switch providers any time. If you are on a contract, wait for it to end, then search for the best deal offered by a different supplier to switch to their company. Taking an annual contract will allow you to switch services each year, saving significant amounts of money in the process.
- Consider Debt Solutions
If you are looking for ways to save money because you’re struggling to pay your debts, you are not alone. The thought of asking a professional debt solutions company for help might be intimidating, but sometimes just a bit of advice can make all the difference.There are any number of ways to better manage your debt, and although it might seem impossible right now, there is always a solution to every problem, and the best time to start your journey back towards financial freedom is now.
Not only could the right debt solution help you to pay off your debts without the stress and worry of dealing with lots of different creditors, but in some cases, you may even have the chance to write off some of your debts through solutions like a Debt Relief Order (DRO), bankruptcy, or an IVA (Individual Voluntary Agreement).
Learning to save money can be difficult, but follow our tips above to improve your spending and start saving money this summer. If you need help managing your debt, reach out to the non-judgmental team at Debt Movement for impartial debt guidance and solutions.