Things You Can Do Now PART ONE: Saving Money

January is usually the month we’re all ‘gunna’ do something.

Whether it be exercising more, losing weight, saving more money or even making more money.

With that in mind, this week I’m doing a three part series on things you can do now. 

Today it’s saving money, and there is plenty of things you can do right now to start saving money.

Everything on this list may not apply to you, but there should be something for everyone.

Cut out alcohol

I know we’re already five days into January, but it isn’t too late to start.

Join the Dryathletes giving up booze for a month, or longer if you wish.

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon this year, not for charity, just for health reasons after a month of far too much overindulgence.

If you spend £20-£30 a week on alcohol you can take this opportunity to save some decent cash.

Stick it in a savings account, pay a debt from Christmas or maybe think about using it as a deposit for a holiday.

Say bye to morning coffees

This is my biggest vice.

I have a Costa Coffee about 100 yards away from my apartment and it’s proving difficult to get past it without nipping in.

At £2.75 a pop it soon adds up.

On average Brits spend almost £500 a year on take-away coffee/tea – that’s a lot of cash being wasted.

OK, no more coffee for me, we’ll do this together!

Make your own lunches

On average us Brits spend around £800 a year on lunches at work.

Let’s be honest, we can do that for a fraction of the price at home.

Get into the habit of preparing them every evening so you’re not rushing around in the morning.

Better still, meal plan so you can take in leftovers from the previous nights dinner.

Cut down on your heating

I’m not suggesting you sit in the cold, I certainly wouldn’t.

However, there are many things you can do to cut down on the cost of heating your home.

I wrote an article recently with some great tips, you can find it here.

Shop price per unit

Just because it says BOGOF, 30% extra or it comes in a pack of 4, it doesn’t mean you’ve got yourself a good deal.

A quick check of will tell you exactly what the price is per unit, that way you know you’re getting the best deal.

You can find out more about shopping price per unit here.

Reduce water usage

Reduce you water usage and of course you reduce the cost.

Do you run the tap whilst your brushing your teeth?

Run the tap until the water runs cold?

You’re wasting a fortune!

Check out the article I wrote with loads of fantastic tips to cut your water bills right down here.

Swap brands

Back in the day I was one of those people who refused to change from luxury brands to a cheaper alternative.

That’s when Aldi changed my life!

Use websites such as Which? to see how they rate products.

You’ll be surprised to see how many lesser known brands regularly kick big brands arse’s on price and quality.

Start off with a few to prove it can be done, then slowly start to introduce more.

You will save an absolute packet over the course of the year.

Quit smoking

If you’re a smoker you’re in a position to save more than anyone.

A twenty a day smoker could save as much as £3,000 over the course of the year by giving up.

I know from experience, it isn’t easy – like AT ALL!

However, the benefits to your health and your pocket are undeniable.

Plus, it’s becoming less and less socially acceptable so the time is right to give up the ciggies and start saving money now!

Stop playing the lottery

The average Brit spends around £416 a year playing the lottery.

That’s an awful lot of money when you consider the odds of winning.

Personally I’d rather put that towards a holiday.

Reduce food wastage

50% of the total UK food wastage a year comes from households.

In fact, we actually throw away more food than we do packaging, and most of that food is still edible.

Not only is it wholly inappropriate when there are people starving on the streets and families living on the breadline using food banks, it’s also a huge waste of money.

The average household wastage is around £470 a year.

That rises to £700 for a family with children – the equivalent of £60 per month – absolute madness!

Make meal plans and use up everything as best you can.

Soups are great for leftover veg, and try using ingredients that go in more than none meal to make sure you’re really cutting down on wastage.

Always remember, the freezer is your best friend in the battle against food wastage.

Fix your energy bills

It’s not just about cutting down your consumption, it’s also about the price you’re paying.

Why would you pay more than you need to?

Unbelievably, 66% of UK households are still on the standard variable tariff – the most expensive way to pay.

You can save up to £400 just by switching to a smaller, cheaper supplier.

Fixing down the price means you won’t be affected by potential price hikes, and believe me they’re coming.

Some people will find themselves paying up to 34% more this year, a huge rise.

Protect yourself now and start saving money before it’s too late.

Cancel unused gym subscriptions

My last attempt at a gym subscription saw me use it the grand total of four times.

Luckily it wasn’t a yearly contract!

If you’re not making full use out of your gym subscription, CANCEL IT!

You may be thinking, ‘this is my year to get fit’.

If that’s the case, consider buying some of your own equipment first, or you know, get outside for free!

You don’t have to go mad spending wise, but it will give you an idea of just how much you’re likely to use it.

Final word

There will be something on this list we can all do, not all, but some.

Looking at some of those figures, can you honestly say there is nowhere you can cut back a bit and start saving money?

Remember, if you do make changes to save yourself some money, don’t fritter it away on something else you don’t need.

Look at saving, investing or even treating yourself to a well deserved holiday you usually say you can’t afford.

Do you have any money saving tips?

Thinking Thrifty

Thinking Thrifty

David Naylor is the editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. An award winning personal finance and lifestyle blogger, he shows how it is possible to live extremely well for less.
Thinking Thrifty
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