In the current economic climate, we all want our money to stretch a little further. Whether you’re saving for an eco-conscious home improvement, an environmentally friendly holiday or want to save for an ethical wardrobe, making smart choices and small changes can make a big difference. Here, we’ll discuss five simple yet effective ways you can make your money stretch further.
#1 Set up a Budget
By carefully planning how you can spend your money, you’ll find that you have more to spend on the things you love. Likewise, by planning out your cash flow, you’ll discover that your money doesn’t ‘disappear’ because you’ll know when all of your expenses are due. By setting up a budget, you’re less likely to end up in debt, less likely to get caught out by unexpected costs and you’ll put yourself in a great place to make those eco-conscious purchases you’ve always dreamed of.
As a result, creating a budget is one of the strongest money management tools available. It’s also something you can do by yourself at home. Remember that there’s still room for flexibility within this budget, but the system itself will allow you to create priorities for your money, allowing you to succeed in budgeting for any eco-expense you fancy.
To create your budget, you’ll need to know:
- Your household bills
- Essential living costs
- Any financial products you have, such as insurance
- Other direct debits, such as satellite television
- Other expenses, such as travel costs
By budgeting for these, you’ll be able to see how much you have left for spending money for the week or month (depending on your pay cycle). If you’re struggling to create a budget or financial plan, then a number of free online budgeting tools are available to help you.
#2 Make the Most of Reward Cards and Coupons
Reward cards and coupons are a great way of helping your money go further because they literally give you something for nothing.
Using loyalty cards at your favorite stores can help you save money on each and every basket of produce. Plus, because you’re shopping there anyway, it doesn’t add any time or effort to your shop. Likewise, if you have a particular café that you like to frequent or a hairdressing salon that you always attend, be sure to ask them about loyalty schemes. Many will offer a version where you get something for free after a set number of purchases. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
On the other hand, if you don’t have regular haunts or don’t want to be tied into shopping in one location, then look online and in newspapers for coupons. The cast of Extreme Couponing on TLC may take things to the next level when it comes to savings, but couponing is surprisingly easy to do at home and you can use it to fill void time when you’re usually endlessly scrolling through Facebook or YouTube. Plus, finding coupons is easy, so the process won’t take you long. They’re available in stores, newspapers, flyers, coupon websites and even coupon apps. Just remember to recycle any paper you don’t need after.
#3 Always Look for Bonuses and Offers
Although you’re budgeting and saving, you should still afford yourself the odd indulgence. After all, life is for living, and it’s more than likely that you’ve earnt a little treat. As always, the key is moderation and finding yourself the best deal.
No matter how you’re planning on spoiling yourself, you’ll find ways to make it cheaper. For example, voucher websites can help to make days out, experiences and travel cheaper, while bar deals and happy hours can make going out for a few drinks with the other half a little more affordable.
Likewise, various offers such as online casino bonuses can help to make your allocated spending money go further. Many of these deals can also be compared online, so you can find out which is best for you and your game of choice before you sign up. From 100 free spins to 5x deposit bonuses, by doing your research, you can find a way to stretch your allowance so you can spend more time having fun.
#4 Renegotiate Deals Before They Rollover
If you’re tied into a phone, satellite television or broadband package, then simply allowing it to rollover could cost you money. Many of these deals are targeted at new customers, with incremental price rises occurring after the first six to 12 months. As a result, what this means is that you’re paying more money for the same service.
A month before your contract expires, call the company to renegotiate. Before you do so, shop around for the best deal to see if they’ll happily match it. If they don’t you can save some cash and go elsewhere on a new contract.
It’s also good to properly evaluate whether you need subscriptions before you allow them to renew. For example, if you have a satellite television service but you only really watch shows On Demand or through Catch Up, could you get the same service for less by switching to Netflix or a competing streaming service?
#5 Make Lunches Rather than Buying Out
For many, lowering food bills is an easy way to save money. Plus, it’s a win-win, as cutting down on food wastage and single-use plastic is a great way of helping the environment, too.
By changing the way that you eat and taking packed lunches to work rather than going out for takeout lunches, you can help your waistline and your wallet. Estimates suggest that making packed lunches each day rather than eating out can save you $40 to $50 every week.
Follow these top five tips and you’ll have no problem making your money stretch further. Remember that small savings make a big difference, and if you can save $20 per week, then that adds up to $1,040 per year. This means that you can make a splash on that ethical holiday you’ve been dreaming of sooner than you thought.