Save Money – Put Cash Back In Your Pocket

my experience suggests that anyone can put cash back in their pocket in a pain free way. it won't hurt, honest.

I am loathe to include anything about saving. But hey. You automatically earn more if you spend less money.

My personal money challenge

Over the last year I’ve been setting myself the challenge of making savings. By nature I am a spender not a saver. There’s always something I want to do or buy. If you make savings and try to do something to earn a bit more cash, you’re onto a winner.

So here is my guide to where I’ve been able to cut my outgoings: my money saving tips. I reckon I am £300 a month better off as a result. And I am not finished yet. Watch out for more news in future months. I am not obsessed with saving but if there are painless ways to put money back in my pocket, I’ll take them thank you very much.

It’s a tough time of year for a lot of people right now and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better in the foreseeable future. You can’t control the country’s economy but you can take these small but realistic steps to spend less money and cut your bills. Sending less money is something we are all trying to do but we struggle on thinking of ways to cut back on what we spend.

Reduce your mortgage or rent

First I saved £50 a month by re fixing my mortgage at a lower rate. With the Euro issue and unemployment I figured now was a good time to do it. If you don’t have a mortgage their is no harm at all in asking your landlord to cut your rent. Sounds crazy. But the nub of the matter is that good tenants are hard to find. Most landlords at the moment don’t want months when their property is empty. There’s no harm in asking. And if your rent is really too high vote with your feet.

Ditch unused subscriptions and memberships

I was paying £35 a month for an online information service I rarely used. I have friends who have the same service. So I reason, that if I really need to, I can ask them for help. If you’re paying for gym memberships or magazine subscriptions that you never use or read, cancel. You won’t miss what you’re not using.

Energy bills

I’ve saved £50 a month over a period of 2 years. I moved into a new flat and my energy company set my monthly installment high than it should be. They have been good enough to to reduce my monthly payments. But when I asked about a cheaper tariff I got no where. So I signed up with someone else. The good news is that if you are a good customer they won’t want to lose you. So I got THE call from their retention team. Sure enough I was offered the new customer deal I’d seen on U Switch.

Any thanks to Scottish Power I am now paying just £85 pounds a month, which covers gas and electricity.

You can virtually double your savings again by getting your heating system serviced annually. Make sure your radiators heat up fully and don’t need bleeding. If you don’t already have a remote thermostat get one for instant savings. If your rent your home make check that your annual safety checks also include a boiler service. Many don’t. Use commonsense to shave money off your electric bill. Don’t leave lights on on empty rooms.

Switch on to the right mobile phone tariff

This one can be a killer. I have 2 mobile phones. The second I hardly use. I went to Mobilife and analysed my usage and got a better deal (O2). Then I took that deal to my current mobile phone provider and they almost matched it but threw in a tempting bonus (Orange). That’s a £10 saving per month.

When it came to my main mobile I could see that deals had changed quite a bit in the last two years. My current usage was already cheaper on new deal aside from my photo texting. So I negotiated a reduction on data. Saving about £15 per month because I am always sending people photos of my cats!

Spend less on food shopping

I am a Sainsburys’ fan, although it may not be as cheap as other chains. But my local store is very close. Rather than try to do one big shop a week, I now go a few times and buy food just for a couple of days. This is slashing costs and wastage. I’ve also started to experiment with supermarket value brands. I tried the beef value mince and it was awful. Even when you skimmed the fat off, there just seemed to be so much less of it left because of the high fat content. A bridge too far.

But kidney beans and tinned tomatoes? You bet. You can 50%-75% off shopping like this on some items. Each to his own though. What works for some people, doesn’t work for others.

I’ve not tallied the savings from shopping like this but my estimate would be £50-£70 per month. Oh and I always use my brand match vouchers. Your supermarket will have a similar scheme.

TV, phone and internet

My latest triumph. Rather than have TV, phone and broadband with three different companies I’ve rolled them all into one contract. Whether you decide to go with Virgin Media, Sky or BT or another provider you’ll see a big difference in your costs. There are exceptions. With some of these deals you must look closely at internet usage restrictions and limits on free phone calls. If you don’t the deal could prove more costly than headlines figures suggest. I am now a staggering £60 better off.

Petrol and Driving

Following Government pressure for more transparency on pricing, petrol prices have fallen more than 4p a litre for the second successive month (June 2012). It’s unclear whether this trend will continue. At it stands in the UK we have the tenth highest petrol prices in Europe. I no longer buy petrol at my nearest station. I buy at a BP garage where they sell an advance formula. I get more miles to the litre but that’s possibly because I am using my brakes less. Excessive breaking is just about the fastest way to burn fuel. I am saving £20 a month on petrol. To find your cheapest petrol use Petrol Prices to get free fuel price information.

Caution with daily deal sites

This is obviously just a fraction of what you can do. Just to finish I will offer some caution on daily deal sites. Stay clear of these if you’re looking for every day savings. Chances are you’ll be tempted to buy something you don’t need. By all means use these for searching for treats and presents. Oh and the smaller or local daily deal sites often have more interesting deals.

Pain free every day savings

If you can cut back on your costs without changing your lifestyle, I think it’s a no brainer. After all, this puts cash back into your pocket without much effort. Not all these tips will apply to you but that’s just to spur your on. You can then put your savings to good use. Buy equipment or tools or put it towards a car or a holiday.