No matter how hard you try, there will always be times where money is a little tight. An unexpected garage bill here, a broken phone there, and you’re suddenly on the hook for hundreds or even thousands of pounds of costs that you hadn’t planned for.
While you may have to grit your teeth as you hand over your credit card to pay, with a bit of careful financial planning you can prepare for all these little surprises that life throws at us. It pays to be prepared ahead of time, squirrelling away a bit of cash each month so that you have a rainy day fund you can dip into.
In the long run, this is better than having to borrow the money as you save a lot in fees and interest and you can even earn a little bit from the money you keep in the bank too.
Around 10% of Brits have no savings at all, 33% have less than £600 put away, and 41% don’t have enough to go a month without an income from their work. While it’s true that many people simply don’t have the spare cash to set aside, though many choose not to, citing reasons like it being “too difficult” to save or that they’ll save when they earn more. Others feel that saving means they will have to go without the things they enjoy.
However, it isn’t difficult to save at all and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to give up what you enjoy. Here are some simple tips on how to keep money in your pocket while still enjoying life.
Most of us enjoy food. It’s ingrained into our DNA to take pleasure from the flavours of the things we eat as it’s a reward for doing something that will keep us alive. Eating together is also a big part of many cultures, with friends and loved ones coming together to break bread, chat, and catch up on what’s been going on in each others’ lives.
But when you’re cooking for many mouths or you’re dining out regularly, the cost of food can really add up.
Thankfully, this needn’t be the case. By planning your meals for the week and taking advantage of budget supermarkets, you can enjoy a varied range of delicious meals and still feed eight people for less than £100 a week.
Switching takeaways to “fakeaways” where you recreate the same foods at home, like in this Nando’s fakeaway recipe, can also make treat days much more affordable.
Gaming used to be the domain of men between the ages of 18 and 30, with most games designed for them and most game ads targeting them. That’s all changed now though, with genres that cater to all tastes. This means gathering everyone around the TV for a fun afternoon of playing Mario Kart is as commonplace as sitting together to watch a movie.
Modern gaming also doesn’t have to be expensive either, you can often find free titles that are just as fun to play as paid-for alternatives. With so much choice, you can find cheap and free versions of just about every type of game imaginable.
Puzzle fans can enjoy digital jigsaws for free, while those that like to play slots can use the free spins bonuses in certain situations with specified eligible games. There are also free variants of just about every game you could possibly think of, including sports games, first-person shooters, and simulators.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on sites like Humble Bundle, which offer limited-time deals on bundles of games and software that are often cheaper than one game at its normal RRP.
We all love going to the cinema to watch the latest blockbusters, but the experience has become prohibitively expensive in recent years. Of course, you can always save a big chunk of cash by avoiding the food and drinks from the concessions stands, but depending on the policy of cinemas you visit, this can mean having to sneak your own snacks inside like you’re a spy on a top-secret mission.
However, there are other ways you can save money on a trip to the movies too. Some chains of cinema now offer cheaper tickets at certain times of the day. For example, Vue runs a “Mini Mornings” promotion that offers tickets for just £2.49 per person at weekends on selected films.
Mid-week, you can take advantage of Meerkat Movies to get 2-for-1 films if you take out insurance through Compare The Market.
Alternatively, you can watch at home. A month’s subscription to most streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ will cost less than a trip to the cinema. You won’t get access to all the same films that are currently screening in the cinema, but you will be able to watch many classic movies and original creations that are exclusive to the streaming platform of your choice.
For those who prefer a more traditional home-like experience when on vacation, a timeshare can make sense. If you’ve gotten many years of good use out of your timeshare and now want to get rid of it, a timeshare cancellation company like Timeshare Freedom Group or Lonestar transfer may be able to help.