There’s no denying that we love our modern day comforts.
From smartphones to designer labels, coffee and Kindles – the list is endless .Unfortunately, these come at a hefty price. If you struggle to keep afloat each month and find that your income barely covers your living costs, it’s time to reassess.
We’ve put together a list of ten modern day expenses you can live without to help you stop spending and start saving in 2015.
While it may seem that life these days revolves around smartphones, when was the last time you reviewed your price plan?
According to BillMonitor, who have monitored over 150,000 mobile phone users since 2009, a whopping 76% of people in the UK are on the wrong contract – paying too much and getting too little in return.
As well as reviewing your price plan, can you live without the latest model upgrade? Whether you’re an Apple devotee or a firm Android enthusiast, the differences between current models and the next big release are usually superficial – is it truly worth the cost?
2. Television Packages
If you’ve ever tried shopping around for cable television packages, you’ll know that the offers are endless. From Virgin Media’s Big Kahuna bundle which grants you access to over 200 channels, to Sky’s Original bundle which unlocks 40 Sky channels alone, television packages are a major modern day expense.
Avoid this expense by utilising the wonders of the World Wide Web. With most programmes available for catch up on BBC iPlayer, 4oD, and ITV Player, do you need a cable package? And for those who love to keep up with US television and the latest films, streaming packages from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are a far cheaper alternative to cable packages, starting at as little as £5.99 per month.
3. Music Downloads
In an age where children will never understand the connection between a cassette tape and a pencil, the internet has revolutionised the music industry and the way in which we listen to it. While CDs and cassette tapes are generally no longer an expense, downloading singles via iTunes from anything between 59p and 99p can become costly.
By using online music streaming services, you can cut back on single downloads, and save tens of pounds each month. Popular streaming provider Spotify has over 40 million active users, and 20,000 songs added to their library every day. Basic accounts are free, and allow you to create and save as many playlists as you like.
4. The Kindle
With council-run libraries loaning books for free across the country, the Kindle is certainly a modern day expense you can live without. Some may argue that carrying a book around is a nuisance and others that eBooks are 50% cheaper than paper books. However, with free libraries dotted across every town and city stacked floor to ceiling with the latest publications, buying a Kindle is financially illogical.
For those unable to get to a library and not yet dissuaded from buying a Kindle, there are thousands of books available online for free. Volunteer-run Project Gutenberg is one of the oldest digital libraries and has over 45,000 eBooks in its collection. Its classics collection contains world-renowned authors including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Agatha Christie to name a few. Best of all, you don’t need a Kindle to download them.
5. Takeaway Meals
A highlight of the week for many, takeaway meals are a tempting alternative to cooking, but at what cost?
According to a study conducted by VoucherCodes.co.uk, Brits spend a colossal £29.4 billion on takeaways every year, with Chinese, Indian, fish and chips, and pizza hot on the menu.
When finances are tight, it’s time to ditch the takeaways and get back to the kitchen. Home cooking may seem a less exciting option, but it’s kinder to your body and your bank balance. With millions of mouth-watering recipes available online from the likes of FoodGawker, PornBurger and BBC Food, spruce up your culinary skills and sample some cheap yet delicious takeaway alternatives.
Gone are the days when a cup of coffee cost 30 pence. In fact, you’ll be lucky to get a coffee for a £1. A modern day expense that is seemingly here to stay, grabbing a cup of joe to go or sipping chai lattes with friends on a Sunday morning is all the rage. With an estimated 16,500 coffee outlets in the UK alone, we really are a coffee-crazed nation. But at an average price of £2.20 per cup, kicking a coffee habit could save you a small fortune.
For hardcore caffeine addicts, cheaper alternatives are available. Why not try brewing coffee at home, downgrading brands or checking out independent coffee shops rather than chains?
7. Designer Fashion
With charity shops and low-cost fashion stores dominating our high streets with pre-loved designer goods and designer replicates, you don’t need new designer labels to dress well. What does a £1,500 Louis Vuitton handbag give you (apart from a rather big hole in your savings account) that a handbag for a fraction of the price doesn’t? Is that Ted Baker shirt really more luxurious than once that costs half the price?
Good advertising sells us a lifestyle and can effectively persuade us to buy impulsively. When the moment strikes, it’s worth asking yourself whether real-deal designer fashion is worth the money.
Whether you risk the casino tables or try your luck online, gambling is a modern day expense that can rapidly lose its appeal as you rapidly lose your funds. With the global gambling market estimated at around £240 billion, the odds are unquestionably stacked against the player, but the temptation to play again can be overwhelming.
Beat the house by not playing at all. The next time you think about picking a lottery lucky dip or chancing a game of blackjack, think again. Statistically, it’s best to save your cash rather than to splash it – gambling is certainly a modern day expense you can live without.
9. Gym Membership
With obesity, diabetes and heart disease on the rise in the UK, we’re constantly reminded to cut down and keep fit. While you may be hoping for a slimmer waistline, joining a gym will be certain to make one thing slimmer – your wallet.
In 2011, online accountancy company Crunch.co.uk conducted a survey into broken resolutions which revealed that the average Brit spends £1,213 on unused gym membership, untouched sports equipment and unattended evening classes. When fully utilised, gym membership is reasonably priced, but you need to be ready for the challenge before committing to a 12-month contract. If, in reality, you’ll only use the running machine once a week, save your money and head to the park for a run instead.
10. Bottled Water
As a nation that now drinks more bottled water than fruit juices, wines or spirits, bottled water sales in the UK are on the rise. However, myths surrounding bottled water are still in circulation – that bottled water is healthier, safer, tastes better and is cheaper than tap water is certainly just a myth.
To put things into perspective, 748 billion people across the world still go without access to clean, safe water, while in 2013 alone, the UK produced and consumed 1,120 million litres of bottled water. With clean drinking water running freely at the turn of a tap, cut down your costs by filling your own bottle with tap water instead.
Have we missed a modern day expense that you happily live without?
Let us know in the comment section