21 SMART Money And Energy Saving Tips
21 SMART Money And Energy Saving Tips
With energy bills, fuel and interest rates soaring, there’s never been a more critical time to make savings and learn how to manage our money to the best of our ability. I cover many more tips and money-making ideas in my programme, Master Your Money the S.M.A.R.T Way training. Check it out for free – https://bit.ly/3isugCr.
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Here are some tips to help you save and accumulate more money.
1 Pay yourself and save first, spend what’s left
Pay yourself first is the golden rule and money mindset the rich and well-off follow. Do this and you’re on your way towards financial freedom. Try the 50/30/20 formula and have your salary automatically paid in separate accounts:
50% of your take home pay for your needs (bills, food, minimum debt payments),
30% for fun, play, eating out and entertainment
20% saved for your future, extra debt payments, saving for emergencies and investing.
2 Avoid credit card debt interest
Plan a strategy to get rid of it credit card balances with cash or by transferring the debt to a 0% balance credit card to avoid paying interest for a fixed time (up to 30 months) COMBINED with paying off the balance every month.
Another useful tip set up a direct debit to avoid missing minimum payments and being stung with high charges and bad credit report history. You can also move to another deal if you don’t manage to clear the balance. Pay off purchase balance every month.
3 Track your income and expenditure
‘T’ for ‘track’ is included in my programme, Master Your Money the S.M.A.R.T Way training. Check it out for free – https://bit.ly/3isugCr. Set up a tracking system and also try challenger digital banks like Monzo, which allows you to transfer a set amount of spending money to your card and informs you every time it is used, ore prepaid cards – like Monese and Transferwise – where you can only spend what you load.
You can also do this manually and set your account up by allocating your income into different ‘jars’ for different needs.
4 Start saving and investing
Whatever you are earning or how much you have in the bank, you can start saving a percentage of your income. Apps such as Moneybox let you start with a few pennies by rounding up loose change every time you spend.
You can legally shelter your savings from tax by maximising your £20,000 tax free ISA allowance and using other tax shelters. Pension schemes also enjoy a favourable tax treatment. You can either put money into a cash or investment ISA, which carries more risk. Interest rates have been low for a decade but are now rising, which is good news for saver but bad for borrowers.
Check out www.gov.uk/individual-savings-accounts for more information. Check for the best cash ISA rates at Moneyfacts. Shop around and be prepared to move your money to obtain the best rates.
5 Emergency or contingency funds
Everyone needs a rainy-day fund. You should aim to have three months’ income saved for emergencies, ideally six if you have a mortgage.
6 Loyalty doesn’t always pay – switch suppliers
If you check out any good comparison site, you are sure to discover cheaper deals on your household bills, as well as savings accounts and insurance. Ofgem calculates that the average household can save £300 a year by switching to a better energy and gas deal. This might not always be possible in the current climate.
Check your latest utility statements and check out comparison sites, such as uswitch or moneysupermarket.
7 Reduce your car insurance
Some of us are using our cars less as a result of working from home, so check your car insurance is still the right fit and inform your insurer. Don’t auto renew, and check for better deals via your existing supplier and comparison websites like CompareTheMarket and MoneySupermarket.
8 Review your mortgage
Over 100,000 people reach the end of a fixed term fixed rate mortgage every month, according to a BBC report. Staying with the same lender could mean paying a ‘loyalty’ penalty of higher interest of up to £1000 a year. Consult an independent mortgage broker about remortgaging to the best deal for you even if your current deal is expiring in 6-12 months’ time.
‘R’ for ‘review’ is part of my programme, Master Your Money the S.M.A.R.T Way training. Check it out – https://bit.ly/3isugCr.
9 Check your tax code to pay less to HMRC
Make sure you’re not paying too much tax. You could even get a nice rebate from HMRC.
Working from home could entitle you to tax relief and you could claim some money back for working from home expenses in the form of tax relief paid by HMRC.
10 Look for old bank accounts and pension policies
Billions is waiting to be claimed in forgotten bank accounts, insurance policies and pension schemes. Have a root through your old papers or contact the ABI (Association of British Insurers).
You can also query your council tax band, check for discounts if you live alone or care for someone.
11 Check for any entitlements to benefits.
There are numerous benefits you can access even if you are working and earning a family income of up to £40,000.
12 Reduce your grocery bill
Buy only what you need and avoid ‘two for one’ offers, which lead to food waste and can cost you more.
Buy own brand food from supermarkets which have often scored higher in blind tests.
Plan your meals for the week ahead and use discount supermarkets and pound stores, which can be significantly cheaper that M&S, Waitrose and Tesco’s.
Explore the ‘world food; aisle in your supermarket which can have savings of up to 75% on cupboard staples including rice, lentils, beans, spices and sauces.
Shop in the late afternoons and evenings for yellow sticker discounts.
Don’t buy plastic bags and make your food, fruit and veg last longer.
13 Avoid wasting food
Use your common sense and avoid throwing away food which is still safe despite passing sell by dates.
14 Explore local charities for help – there is an abundance of food given away by supermarkets
If you are in need, use Foodbanks and the many other charities for help with food and other items including energy. They help everyone from the homeless to working people who just can’t make ends meet, and there is a lot of money and resources out there if you search. Nobody should go hungry in the west.
15 Check your workplace or private pension
Make sure you’re saving enough for retirement and you’re happy with how your pension is being invested according to your individual risk profile.
Checking whether your employer will match pound for pound any personal contributions you make – free money.
16 Check your state pension and NI contributions level
You have until next April 2023 to top-up National Insurance contributions to boost your old age state pension if you have not made sufficient contributions during your working life due to career breaks or time spent overseas. Topping up contributions can be a good investment. Check with a financial adviser.
Women in retirement may have been underpaid and could be entitled to back payments.
Go to the .gov website or Google the links.
17 Use loyalty cards, price match and vouchers and deal finders
Points, discounts and free stuff all add up on loyalty cards like Tesco’s Clubcard or Nectar.
Stores like John Lewis and Currys offer price matching policies, which are subject to change sot do your research and don’t be shy to ask.
Try hacks like VoucherCodes ‘DealFinder’ as a plug-in on Chrome to be alerted to the best deals while buying online.
There are hundreds of money saving apps and discount offers, such as Sweatcoin and BetterPoints, where you can get paid to walk and exchange your steps for store discounts and freebies.
18 Cut energy bills
Check out the Energy Saving Trust for some great energy and money saving hacks. For instance, charging gadgets overnight can cost you more than charging for a few hours during the day. And not filling your kettle up when boiling water for a cuppa and defrosting your freezer when iced up will also cut your bills.
Going paperless and paying by direct debit will save you money.
Insulating your home will keep you warm in the winter and cut energy bills. Check your local authority for tips grants on insulation and solar panels, even if you are a tenant.
19 Sell unwanted stuff on resale platforms
Did you know that the average British woman accumulates an estimated £22,000 of unworn clothes over a lifetime? You can turn unwanted clothes into cash using resale platforms such as Depop, Vinted and eBay.
You can also save money by buying through these sites for top-quality gifts and clothes instead of paying for new. Some items sold on these sites are brand new unused.
You can also clear your garage, loft and spare room of unwanted stuff by selling on sites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
20 Mindset – avoid emotional spending and blowing your salary on payday
In my programmes and YouTube Money Tips Podcast videos I talk about money mindset. A recent survey by Nationwide’s Payday Saveday revealed that 1 in 5 people blow over half their spare monthly wages within 48 hours of payday! Shops, restaurants and online stores gear up offers for payday surges in expenditure. Ask yourself if you really need something before you buy and give yourself time to think before parting with your cash.
21 Plan, organise and forecast
The key is in planning and organising your expenditure, work, goals, relationships and life! As in the first tip, prioritise essential expenditure and your savings pot, before spending. That way, you’ll know how much disposable income you really have to last the rest of the month. Use a spreadsheet, app or notebook to map out or forecast your finances and expenditure just like a business does. You should know exactly how much money you have in your account right now and how much is coming in and going out tomorrow.
Finally, searching for the best deals, tracking and reviewing your finances and being mindful of spending money on things to don’t really need will not only help you get through the current crises but help you form lifelong habits that will enable to build wealth.
For more ideas and tips, see out my new training to help you get control of your finances in 28 days!
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