10 ways to cut back on your spending and save money

I hope you enjoy this excellent guest article from David from moneysupermarket.com regarding various ways you can cut back on spending and save a ton of money.

Grocery shoppingit’s easy to go grocery shopping for a few items and come out of the store with a variety of other items that you hadn’t planned on purchasing. The temptation to make impulse purchases can be difficult to resist, particularly as special offers and reduced prices make it easy for us to convince ourselves that the purchase is necessary. In reality, this can be an expensive habit as you end up buying items that you neither needed nor desired before you got to the store. Whilst most people focus on the saving they made as a result of the offers on these items, you should look at the additional money you have spent on these items and realize that in reality you haven’t actually made a saving, you have spent more. To combat this there are a few things you can do. The first is to prepare a list before you go shopping so you know exactly what you are going to purchase from the store. This doesn’t just ensure that you don’t forget anything. Sticking to a list and avoiding anything not on the list is a good way of ensuring that you don’t buy anything that you don’t need. Another thing you can do which you may not have considered is to avoid going food shopping on an empty stomach. If you are feeling hungry you are more likely to be tempted to make impulse purchases! One further way that that you can reduce the amount you spend on your grocery shopping is to try the stores own brand products. In some instances you may try a stores own brand product and decide that you prefer the more expensive ‘known’ brand products but on many occasions shoppers have tried own brand products and either tasted very little difference in the quality of the produce or actually preferred the own brand product. Purchasing own brand products rather ‘known’ brand products is a good way of cutting back on your spending and saving money.

Other shoppingfor any other items that aren’t grocery related you should strive to get the best deal possible. These are usually one off purchases such as electrical goods and clothes. Some items, particularly high priced items such as televisions can significantly vary in price from one retailer to the next. Spending an hour of your time to shop around might seem a bit boring but it can lead to huge savings., it’s important that you don’t settle for the first price you see. Shopping online is a good way of saving money on your shopping as you avoid traveling and parking costs. Many online retailers now offer free delivery so it is possible to make a saving this way. Another way to avoid wasting your money is by returning any items that aren’t suitable straight away (e.g. clothes that don’t fit). It’s easy to put off returning an item and what usually tends to happen is that you never get round to returning the item and it ends up being a total waste of money.

Financial serviceswhether it’s an insurance policy or a new credit card you are interested in, it pays to compare providers to ensure you get the best deal possible. There are a huge number of providers about and the prices for an insurance policy or the rates and conditions of a credit card can vary greatly from one provider to the next. For this reason it is vital that you shop around and spend time researching your options before making your selection. This advice also applies to things such as gas and electricity, mobile phone contracts and loans.

Hobbieswhilst I’m not suggesting giving up your favorite hobbies to save money, it is worth looking at whether or not there are any potential savings to be made. In many cases, it is possible to make a saving without having to sacrifice your hobbies. For example, those that love exercising and are a member of gym could perhaps consider canceling their membership and look to make use of the great outdoors. It’s possible to stay healthy on a budget without the use of expensive exercise machines. Or for those that love going to the cinema, avoid going at peak times when the prices will be more expensive and resist the high-priced snacks and drinks at all times.

Holidaysthere are a number of things you can do both before and during a vacation to save yourself some money. Whether you’re looking at weekend breaks or all-inclusive 2 week vacations, there’s money to be saved if you stick to a few of these tips. The first tip is to book accommodation that is outside the main tourist area. By staying in a location that is 5/10 minutes away from the main tourist area you can save a significant amount of money. Many of these places will have good public transport networks which make getting into the main towns easy and inexpensive. A second tip is to avoid restaurants that are aimed solely at tourists. These will likely be expensive and may not reflect the local cuisine. Ask locals which restaurants they recommend; it’s likely that the restaurants that they suggest visiting will offer tastier food for less. A final point to consider is sticking to a daily budget. Before you travel research attractions that you will likely want to visit and look into what travel and eating costs may be. This way you can have an idea in your head of how much you will probably spend over the trip which can then be divided into a daily budget. This should also help avoid any issues with not having sufficient money for your vacation.

Driving we all know that driving can be very expensive. It’s for this reason that it’s worth considering the following driving tips to lower your automotive costs. The first is to avoid driving short journeys and instead either bike or walk. Not only will this save you petrol, it will also benefit the environment. When you do need to drive, the way in which you drive can make a difference to the amount of fuel you use. Driving smoothly and steadily accelerating and breaking rather than suddenly is a good way of saving gas. Other minor things you can do include avoiding carrying any excess weight and ensuring tires are pumped up to the correct pressure. Whilst these things will only lead to minor savings, over time these savings will add up.

Vouchers and couponsvouchers and coupons are now available for pretty much everything. Whether you are going out for a meal or buying clothes from the internet, you should always to check to see if there are any discounts available through the use of vouchers, coupons and discount codes. The stigma of using a voucher or coupon has diminished over the years and there are now more available than ever before so whenever you are planning any sort of purchase be sure to check beforehand that their isn’t a voucher or coupon available. With some of these vouchers and coupons offering 50% off or more, there are significant savings to be made.

Satellite TVwe all have a select few channels that we spend the majority of our time watching. If there are certain channels that you are paying for that you never watch then it is worth canceling those channels. Whilst this might only reduce your satellite bill slightly, it is worth doing as over time the amount you save will add up.

News with the latest news now being available and easily accessible online for free, newspapers could now be classed as an unnecessary expense. Whilst there will be some that would rather read the news in a newspaper, for many it’s worth considering cutting out the costs of newspapers and reading the news online for free. Many of the best known newspapers have websites that include all of the same news that is in their newspapers so you won’t miss out on any of the latest happenings from around the world.

Family activities it is often assumed that a fun-filled family day out is an expensive treat but this needn’t be the case. As well as taking advantage of vouchers and coupons as mentioned above which can reduce the costs significantly, there are a number of things that you can do that won’t cost you a cent. Taking the kids to the park and having a picnic won’t cost you much and you can take a few ball games with you that the kids will love. Most museums are free to visit and will be educational for the kids and galleries are also often free to visit. Those lucky enough to live near the beach can visit for free; once again you could take a picnic and ball games and perhaps take a kite. Finally, something as simple as going for a walk can be made fun with some imaginative games. Even if the weather isn’t great, raincoats and wellies will help keep you dry(ish) and the kids will enjoy splashing about in the rain!

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