January is always a difficult month, as we scrimp and save to make up after the cash splurge of Christmas and face the return to work in terrible weather. The best resolution to have this year is to save as much money as possible, and it can be done with just a few small tweaks that will enrich your life and save you hundreds, even thousands of pounds every year.
How to save money on… Leisure and Entertainment
Ditch the TV License
Amount Saved: P5,500 a year
Television as we used to know it is being slowly phased out of our lives, replaced by much cheaper and more convenient “on demand” channels such as Netflix. This is good news for the consumer – we can now choose when, where and (vitally) what to watch, and the need for a TV licence is falling fast. Most TV channels now provide free on-demand services such as iPlayer and 4OD.
Use Social Networks for Savings
Amount saved: Varies
Many brands are turning to Facebook for sales and brands, including techniques such as giveaways and discount codes in exchange for that precious ‘like’. Before you buy anything online, make sure you haven’t missed out on 10% off for the price of a click. Following your favourite brands on Twitter will mean you get the best deals and twitter-only discount codes popping up on your timeline, again just for the cost of a click.
How to save money on… Your Food Bill
Embrace Batch Cooking
Amount Saved: Over P20,000 a year per person
Good for those living on their own, buying and cooking family sized feasts and dividing each meal into single portions to stock into the freezer will save on food waste and drive down the cost of each individual meal. If you reserve a couple of hours every week to cook two or three batch meals, you’ll save money and lots of cooking time.
Fancy a Takeaway? Hit the supermarket!
Amount Saved: Around 8,000 a year, based on one takeaway a month
Many of us fancy a pizza on a Friday night, and despite there often being endless savings available for big takeaway brands, the average takeaway purchase is still a big spend. You can save a huge amount by using supermarket takeaway meals. Many supermarkets now provide customers with takeaway style curries, Chinese dishes and pizzas at a fraction of the cost of getting one delivered to your door.
How to save money on… Work Life
Transform your Commute
Amount Saved: Hundreds annually
If you drive to work, embrace the lift share! If you have a co-worker that lives on the way to work or close to you, offer to liftshare in exchange for petrol and parking money. Liftshare sites are also useful for finding buddies to help you get to work in the morning for a low price.
Uniform Tax Rebate
Amount Saved: Varies
Whether you’re a healthcare worker for the NHS, a police officer or a fireman, you can claim a tax rebate on the cost of the upkeep of your uniform. Claiming is a small amount of effort for a decent amount of money, as it can be backdated for years. Even if you work for a private company that has branded clothing, you can still make a claim! 1.5 million NHS Workers can claim other tax rebates with NHS Tax Refund.
How to save money on… Bills
Check your council tax band
Amount Saved: could be thousands, depending on how long you’ve lived in your property.
It’s a little check that will take you two minutes, but making sure that your house has been given the right council tax band can save you thousands of pounds! It’s easy to do online, and if other houses in your postcode are in a lower tax band, you can make a claim. If you have lived in your property for a while, you may be owed thousands.
How to save money on… Downtime
Quit the gym
Amount Saved: Between P16,000 a year
If one of your resolutions this year is to get fit, don’t join a costly gym quite yet! A home gym can work out much cheaper, and second hand equipment can be purchased on bargain sites like Gumtree. If you’re more of an aerobics type, check out Youtube fitness channels like FitnessBlender for free work outs and tutorials.
Fill your wallet with points and loyalty cards
Amount Saved: Varies
If you’re a purse purist, it may be time to introduce a bit of clutter in your wallet and collect up some loyalty and store cards. They may be a bother at first, but soon you’ll be enjoying free drinks, free meals, money off vouchers and points rewards.
Alex is a freelance writer for NHS Tax Refund, which helps healthcare workers with their tax rebates. She’s always on the lookout for savings, and her favourite batch cook meal is a cheap and healthy chick pea curry (with extra spinach!).