When we think of cutting back on costs and saving money, our minds usually go straight to making big sacrifices. In reality, the small changes can make a significant difference to your bank balance. While, of course, booking a trip around the world isn’t the best idea when you’re trying to save money, but you certainly don’t have to live a life without treats or the occasional weekend away.
The best savings are from ideas that are easily implemented in everyday life, as this will prevent you from giving up and splurging when you struggle. We take a look at the best ways you can cut corners and save money without making big sacrifices.
Branded vs unbranded
Many people grab the most known brand when shopping, but this is an expensive habit. Most unbranded or alternative products are the same as the original or offer a similar result at a lower price.
The most obvious thing to try this out on is food; rather than reaching for Heinz or another famous brand, try out the supermarket’s cheaper own brand. However, these swaps can be taken further than just your weekly food shop. If you have a printer, for example, opt for alternative ink cartridges from the likes of Toner Giant over the original manufacturers. Swapping out your brands for the cheaper option is a great way of saving money without sacrificing on the results so long as you check out reviews beforehand.
Meal planning and preparing
Food shopping can take up a significant amount of your budget, not to mention how tempting it is to pick up expensive convenience food when you’re hungry. Items like crisps, ready meals and noodle pots may seem affordable at the time, but it’s actually much better on the budget to cook from scratch.
While having a treat every now and again is okay, try to stick to essential carbs, vegetables and proteins, all of which are affordable if you lookout for a bargain. Rice, pasta, frozen vegetables and black beans provide these essential macronutrients at a low price.
Sit down and come up with a meal plan using similar ingredients in each dish. For example, if you have a chickpea curry with rice, you could have a burrito bowl using the leftover ingredients. Batch prep your meals in advance by making and freezing your dishes for the week. Doing so will not only prevent temptations to order takeaway or eat convenience food but can save an average of £15.26 a week – which adds up to £795 over the year.
With people growing ever conscious of the environmental crisis we face, second-hand shopping has become popular once again. Not only is shopping this way more sustainable than buying something completely new, but you’ll save an incredible amount of money compared to if you had bought the items directly from the manufacturer.
Websites like Depop, eBay and Facebook Marketplace have made it easier to find a variety of items at a much lower price. From clothing to furniture, you can grab a bargain of any kind within minutes. Don’t forget to hunt through your local charity shop’s offerings to support a good cause while simultaneously saving money.