In these modern times, it is no secret that we are all looking to save a bit of cold, hard cash whenever possible.
Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. So, what are some of the best ways to extend and bolster our finances without living underneath of a bridge or selling blood to the local clinic?
Let’s take a quick look at a handful of ideas which are certain to leave a lasting financial impression.
Cash is King
The next time you feel like paying with plastic, leave the card at home or in your office. There is a very simple psychological reason behind this method. When we are handling a credit card, our money is much less tangible. The “buy now and pay later” can cause us to spend much more than we would with cash. Bringing physical currency along will limit the amount that we would splurge.
This is particularly effective for those late nights out on the town.
Is Bigger Better?
Speaking of cash, were you aware that we are less likely to spend larger bills than smaller ones? Once again, we have psychology to blame for this phenomenon. Smaller bills tend to represent “petty” cash and while we will have no problem breaking this amount, we are much more hesitant to cash in a large bill or spend it on frivolities.
Is Bandwidth Bullying Your Account?
We are all very impressed by Internet speeds of up to ten megabytes per second. However, do you really need such a vast amount of data transmission? Unless you are regularly downloading or streaming movies or downloading games, it is likely that you are paying for bandwidth that you never actually use.
So, consider downgrading your current wireless package (the same can be said for smartphones). You will be amazed at how much money can be saved each and every month.
Water, Water Everywhere…
We devote literally hundreds of pounds to food each month. When we take into account eating out on occasion, bills can quickly add up. Whether you realise it or not, it is more than likely that you are eating significantly more calories than are necessary. So, increase the volume of water that you drink every day. Not only will this lessen the amount of food you will eat, but it never hurts the waistline!
The Not-So-Convenient Effect of Browsing History
Cookies and other historical data on your computer may actually work against you in certain cases. Let us imagine that you are looking to book an overseas flight and you have been searching for the cheapest airfares during the last three days. When you return to a travel portal, it will recognise that you have been there earlier.
Although this is a rather insidious policy, many sites will literally raise their prices due to the assumption that you are desperate to find a ticket. And while this may not work every time, clearing your history will take a matter of seconds and it is a worthwhile habit to adopt.
Smartphones and other portable musical devices have become commonplace, but we will frequently require separate speakers to truly enjoy their acoustical precision. Unsurprisingly, these additions can cost a great deal of money.
An easy (and effective) alternative is to cut a circular hole in the sides of two soda cans. These holes should accommodate the diameter of a standard roll of toilet paper. Then, cut a slit in the cardboard roll that is wide enough to allow a firm fit for the base of your phone. Place the bottom of the phone within this slit and insert each end of the roll into the cans.
In essence, you have just created a homemade amplifier which will allow you to enjoy your favourite tunes!
The Dreaded PPI
Otherwise known as payment protection insurance, PPI is often a needless policy that is (unknowingly) attached to a credit card agreement, a loan or a mortgage. While these instruments were designed to protect you in the event of a serious illness or a death, they are also quite redundant in most cases. So, you may very well be paying premiums towards a plan that is completely worthless.
Look for phrases on a billing statement such as “personal insurance protection” or “loan insurance”. If you are unfamiliar with such terms, you may very well have PPI. There are times when you can claim a great deal of money back by filing a grievance. As most firms operate on a “no-win, no-pay” basis, you will have little to lose by pursuing a claim.
Pull the Plug on Power Charges
It is a common belief that an appliance will not consume power when it is turned off.
Unfortunately, this is untrue. Any electronic device plugged directly into a wall socket will still use a certain amount of electricity. This can cost you hidden charges each and every month. To avoid this unnecessary drain, invest in a strip outlet. Such a device contains a “smart” sensor that knows when your devices are not being used and will cut the mains supply to them.
In your busy schedule, you may not realise that you may be heating your home when no one is there to enjoy the comfort. So, it is a good idea to get into the habit of turning the thermostat down a few degrees when at work. In fact, each degree lower is estimated to save you more than one pound per month! It does not take a math professor to appreciate that these figures will add up over time.
If you find that you are forgetful, write yourself a note and place it somewhere that you will see it before you leave for work.
The Power of the Auction
While visiting that designer boutique is always fun, your bank account may not feel the same way. In the past, there was a stigma that online auction and bidding sites were somehow offering items that were of a lesser quality. On the contrary, you can sometimes encounter savings of fifty per cent or more when using these resources.
Additionally, you will free up valuable time as opposed to waiting in long queues and having to fill up the car with petrol.
That Extra Cup of Coffee
Coffee is a great way to start the day and there is no reason to eliminate this nectar of the gods. Still, one cup is likely to lead to another and then another. To avoid this temptation, opt for less milk or cream when you order. The result will be a stronger coffee and a greater amount of caffeine.
You will suddenly realise that a second serving may not be necessary. Even saving a pound a day can add up over the course of the year.
Your Phone and Rice?
We are all a bit clumsy from time to time. While dropping a bottle of ketchup or a glass of wine can be frustrating, accidentally immersing your smartphone in a liquid can be downright painful. If this occurs, place it in a bag of uncooked rice overnight. The rice should absorb the moisture from the inside.
If you have a desiccant (the tiny bags of crystals often found in shoes or accompanying new electronics that state “do not eat”), this moisture-absorbing material will work even better.
Let us not forget that while your current bank account is convenient, you are earning very little interest. Also, it is very easy for you to withdraw money for what may prove to be a frivolous expenditure.
Savings accounts will allow you to enjoy much more appreciable amounts of interest; helping your money work for you as opposed to the other way around. As you will be unable to immediately access these funds, you are obviously less likely to spend them.
These are only a handful of the money-saving life hacks that will greatly increase your liquidity and provide you with a peace of mind throughout the year.
By combining such methods, you will be surprised at how much healthier your account will appear in only a matter of months!
And in these changeable times, working smart as opposed to hard is indeed the name of the game!
What are some of your favorite money-saving life hacks?