January’s traditionally a tough month financially. Your bank balance is still reeling from Christmas and the ominous gas bill is on its way.
If, like many, you’ve resolved to tighten your belt a little in 2021 or there’s something special you want to save up for, the smallest actions can all add up.
Here are 21 simple ways that can save you anything from a few pennies to hundreds of pounds in 2021.
- Set a goal. We all work a little better with something to aim for, so whether you stick a picture of a cruise ship on the fridge or simply write a total down it all helps keep you on the straight and narrow.
- Make a budget. A budget is a boring, but necessary evil if you want to cut back. It might even highlight where you can make some savings.
- Sell unwanted items. January is a great time to clear out the old. By decluttering that spare room or popping clothes you no longer wear onto one of the various selling sites, you could make hundreds.
- Cut the bills. If you haven’t shopped around to find the best deal on your utility bills, make sure you do. Spending five minutes on a comparison site could save you a packet.
- Then cut them some more. Had the fairy lights on all Christmas? It’s time to cut back. Turn off lights when you’re not using them and turn the TV off instead of stand-by mode to fight rising utility costs.
- Pay off or transfer your debt. Nothing eats into your monthly income quite like debt payments. If you’re paying interest, see if you can switch to a 0% credit card and save.
- Check what you’re entitled to. Many are failing to claim for the benefits they’re entitled to from help with heating costs to council tax. Use a free online calculator to check you’re not missing out.
- Switch bank accounts. By switching your current account, you could get access to cheaper overdrafts, more interest on your balance or even cash rewards.
- Kick the habit. Bad habits aren’t just bad for you - they can be bad for your bank account too. By quitting smoking, take-aways, coffee - whatever your vice is, you could save a packet.
- Meal plan. It’s easy when food shopping to get distracted by those ‘great deals’ (four packs of Jaffa cakes anyone?). Make a list and stick to it to avoid going over budget.
- Buy in bulk. Not the Jaffa cakes, but larger packs of dried food or cleaning supplies can be cheaper, so if you’ll use it in the future and have the storage space, it can be a good idea.
- Go paperless. A lot of companies now offer you discounts for paying your bill online or receiving paperless statements. Check that you’re not being charged for admin.
- Do a mini energy audit. Check you’re not paying through the nose for heating costs. Go through your home, seal any windows and block any drafts.
- Ditch the brands. Store-brand items can be just as good quality as brand-named now, plus they’re vastly cheaper. Make some switches to see how much you could save.
- Grow your own. Consider starting your own vegetable patch at home. Not only will it save you money, home grown is often tastier too.
- Use a cashback site. If you have to make a purchase, make sure you’re not missing out on valuable cashback. There are many sites out there now that will reward you for shopping through them - TopCashBack and Quidco are just a couple.
- Do It Yourself. We’re a nation of DIYers and thankfully now there’s a YouTube tutorial for almost everything. Save yourself some pennies by learning how to do basic home repairs yourself.
- Use the library. Love to read? It’s easy to justify the price of a couple of books, but it all adds up. Head down to your local library instead and enjoy a book for free.
- Get savings savvy. Where are your savings now and are they giving you the best return? Don’t forget, you can save up to £3,000 a year in a tax-free savings account (an ISA).
- Round down your balance. At the end of the month, if you have an odd number as your bank balance, round it down and transfer it into your savings. So if you had £178.62 in your account, round it down to £175 and transfer £3.36 into your savings. It soon adds up!
- Get ahead of the game. By planning in advance, you could make substantial savings. Such as car insurance - pay it annually and you’ll save on interest.