How to (actually) save money in 2017

Make it rain!

If you find yourself struggling to maintain normal life in those painful days leading up to payday, this one’s for you. Nothing makes you feel more like a real grown adult than having a savings account that extends past a swear jar or money box.

We consulted the experts at Money Supermarket and Monzo to find out just where we can be spending less and saving more…

Ways to save money

Don’t auto-renew your direct debits

‘Auto-renewing your car and home insurance, phone tariff, energy bills etc is easy to do – you just let your existing insurance company roll you over onto a new policy. But doing so could see you fork out £100s more a year if you’re not on the most competitive deal on the market – and it’s simple to run a quick search on our comparison tables.

Change your broadband package

‘If your broadband provider has told you it’s putting up prices, the good news is you have 30 days from when your provider informed you to cancel your contract penalty-free. This applies even if you are mid-way through your contract, so long as you took it out after January 24, 2014. What’s more, as of October 31, 2016, broadband providers have had to make advertising clearer so that customers can compare prices more easily.’ 

Use your library

‘When was the last time you set foot in a library? If it’s been a while, take the time to pop in and sign up. Think of the money you’ll save on children’s books, cookbooks, the latest bestsellers… the list is endless!’

Get rid of excess weight in your car

‘Did you know that for every extra 25kg in weight your car is carrying, fuel consumption will rise by 1%? So check what’s in the boot and get rid of anything you don’t need.’

Consider a SIM-only deal

‘If you’re not tied in to a contract and you’re happy with your mobile phone, it makes sense to switch to a SIM-only deal. Many SIM-only deals are on a one-month rolling contract, which means you can leave with just 30 days’ notice, and they are often significantly cheaper than longer term tariffs.’

Shift debt interest-free

Paying interest on a credit card? Shift it to a 0% balance transfer card and you could enjoy up to three years or more interest-free. Bear in mind you’ll usually have to pay a fee to transfer your balance and you’ll need to clear your debt before the interest-free window ends, or you’ll be clobbered with a painful rate of interest. The very best deals are reserved for those with a good credit score.’

Take a healthy packed lunch to work

‘We all know that spending £5 a day on lunch can add up to around £100 a month, or £1,200 a year, but it can be a struggle to feel motivated enough to whip up a lunch the night before and bring it into work every day.’

Commute by train? Buy a season ticket

‘If you regularly commute by train, buying a season ticket is the cheapest way to travel. And if you haven’t already, it’s worth checking whether your employer offers a season ticket loan scheme (many do) whereby you take an interest-free loan from your employer to cover the cost of your season ticket, and a monthly amount is then taken from your salary to repay the loan.’

Commute by car? Share a lift

‘If you travel in to work by car, see whether any of your colleagues live close by and consider lift-sharing. Designate one of you as the driver and split the cost of petrol, or take it in turns to drive.’ 

Get a water meter

‘Are there more or the same number of bedrooms in your home as occupants? If so, it could be worth getting a water meter installed. To find out whether it’s worth it and how much you could save, take a look at the Consumer Council for Water’s handy calculator.’

Get a better current account

‘Whether you’re paying fees for using your overdraft or you religiously stay in the black, switching current accounts could see you much better off. Some current accounts offer interest and fee-free overdrafts, while others will pay interest on in-credit balances. Some also offer tasty cash incentives for switching.’

Get cheaper life insurance

‘If you have life insurance but haven’t reviewed your policy lately, you could be paying too much. Policies can start from just £5 a month, so it’s worth shopping around to see if you can get a better deal.’

Opt for pay-as-you-go gym membership

‘New Year is when many gyms offer ‘tempting’ membership deals – but resist signing up for long contracts unless you’re self-disciplined enough to go most days. A more cost-effective option is likely to be pay-as-you-go membership. Many gyms now offer 1-day, 30-day or 60-day passes which won’t leave you out of pocket or racked with guilt if you don’t go for a while.’

Stock up on Christmas gifts in the sales

‘The last thing you probably want to think about right now is Christmas 2017. But planning ahead and stocking up on Christmas (and birthday) presents in the sales throughout the year will not only save you money, you’ll also feel a little smug when December comes around.’

Stop smoking

‘Smoking 20 cigarettes a day could be costing you around £270 a month or £3,240 a year. That’s a lot of money going up in smoke. The NHS website offers support for those looking to quit the habit.

Keep track of outgoings by category

There’s a bunch of little expenditures that can quickly add up. Use a spreadsheet or an app like Monzo that automatically categorises your expenditure to see where your money is really going.

Get friends to pay you back

Don’t let friends keep using you as a bank. Ask them to pay you back when you bought them lunch or a drink.

Don’t get ripped off with travel money

Don’t leave your travel money to the last minute. Use a card that gives you great rates when you travel.

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