Sure to be close to the top of most people’s New Year’s resolutions list, saving money is one of those things that is so easy to aspire to yet, for whatever reason, just out of reach for so many of us. Whether it’s the thought of having to make cuts to your usual outgoings or simply absent-mindedness, we tend to make saving money seem a harder task than it needs to be.
But whether it’s walking to the train station instead of getting the bus, or swapping your usual packet of 20 for refillable electronic cigarettes, you can make small changes to your day-to-day that’ll claw back a surprising amount of cash each throughout the year. The only thing you need to tick off these five goals is an hour or two per task and a healthy slice of determination.
1 Change to a cheaper energy tariff
Many people don’t think to look elsewhere for their gas and electricity, but comparing tariffs could prove pleasantly surprising. According to consumer affairs website Which?, those who used the Which? Switch calculator tool to find better deals saved £297 per year on average. And if you combine your gas and electricity onto one supplier’s bill, you could save up to £100 per year, too.
2 Switch your bank account and save
As GOV.UK points out, switching your current account to a new bank or building society could save you up to £70 per year. It’s quick and easy to do so: it takes just seven days, with your direct debits and standing orders transferred automatically and, should anything go awry when you switch, there’s a guarantee to protect you against financial loss.
More than 2.25 million bank account switches have taken place since 2013, so it’s more common than you think.
3 Shop around for a better car insurance deal
While it’s easier to let your current deal roll over into a new one, it could be worth your while to see what other insurers are offering. Companies keep their best deals for new customers – all the better to entice them with – while long-standing customers might find their premiums pushed up. Once you have found a better deal elsewhere, give your current provider a call to see if they’ll match or better it. You could save yourself an average of £60 by doing so.
4 And do the same with your TV and broadband
Once you’ve put the phone down after a successful insurance haggle, turn your attention to your TV and broadband supplier. See what the best prices offered by competitors are, then call up your current provider, mention these deals and say you’re considering switching to one of them. If you have a combined TV/broadband package, you could save more than £300 over the year.
5 Banish brands from your weekly shop
Here’s an experiment to try for a week. Take every branded item from your shopping trolley and swap it for an own-brand alternative. You could save yourself £350 or more if you carry it on for a year. If you use an online grocery store, you can get a clearer picture of the savings you’ll make.