The New Year is a traditional time for resolutions and giving up or cutting down on habits like smoking and drinking. While you might be thinking about making a change for health reasons, did you know that your pocket could also be a lot healthier too?
A packet of cigarettes every 2 days (20 for approx £9) will cost you over £1600 per year! Cutting this down could help make a big difference to clearing your debts or even giving you the money to go on holiday or upgrade your car!
If your New Year’s resolution is to try and wean yourself off the ‘cigs’, the NHS have a helpline that may be able to find you help and support in your local area, call on 0300 123 1014 (7am to 11pm) or check out the website (http://smokefree.nhs.uk/).
If you normally socialise with friends by going for a drink in a pub or wine bar, you could cut costs by arranging to meet at someone’s home instead. You can buy a bottle of wine or a pack of beer at a lot lower cost at the super market, but you still get to socialise. This can also save on possible taxi fares.
If you compare the costs, you could buy a bottle of wine for as much as one glass costs in the bar. And cutting back in order to save money may also mean you feel healthier, slimmer and more in control.
Managing your finances carefully can instantly make you feel richer. By checking your bank account at least once a week, you’ll be able to plan your finances better and know where the money is going.
Spending £3 a day on lunch at work adds up to £780 a year. How about taking lunch with you to work instead, which could at least half this cost? If you find sandwiches a bit boring, you could try taking in leftovers from the night before to warm up in the microwave.
Go through your bank statements and check any direct debits you have going out monthly – are you still paying for anything which you shouldn’t be, or don’t use or need?
Shop around for better deals on things like central heating cover, house insurance, mobile phone calls, etc. If you are unable to swap to another company, then ring your current supplier and see if they will agree to a reduced package rather than you going elsewhere or cancelling altogether.
Obvious really, but if times are hard, then it’s time to cut out the champagne baths and buckets of caviar. Try cheaper equivalents of the things you normally buy and your money will go further. Many supermarkets offer discounted brands so switching to these could make a huge difference to your weekly shopping bill. You may also want to try shopping at some of the discounted supermarkets too, which are becoming incredibly popular. Or how about doing your shopping online – this stops you from impulse purchases and makes it easier to plan and only buy what you actually need.
Use the budget advice from Stepchange to plan out how much you need to spend on every area of your finances and see what’s left for any debts. If your income is not enough to cover your expenditure then StepChange can provide free detailed, personalised advice to help your situation.