Saving for a Deposit? Here are some useful ways to tighten your belt and save money.
If you are saving for a deposit on your first home, or looking to move house, then the current economic forecasts could make you feel a little anxious. With so much change, and household incomes under pressure, that next move can sometimes feel less achievable than we would like. However, with careful planning and a look at new ways to manage your finances, it is possible to save money and to make the household budget leaner and fitter in these testing times.
With that in mind, here are some ideas and suggestions on how to use the power of the internet to amend your finances, or to create more money to put towards your next house move. We hope you find them useful.
Your weekly shop
Groceries form a significant part of your weekly budget, but why pay more when it's easy to find the cheapest items at the touch of a button? There are a number of areas to explore:
Compare the prices
You can now do quick comparisons between retailers to identify the best places to shop and take advantage of the best deals. Mysupermarket.co.uk allows you to compare the day to day prices of individual items at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Ocado, Waitrose, Asda and Aldi. This means that you can quickly identify the best deals, select the best store to shop at or buy extra supplies when mega-deals are available.
By following your favourite retailers on social media you can identify the latest deals. Retailers often use social media to inform their loyal customers, and if there's a particular item you're looking for, you can save money by waiting until you see it offered at a discount.
Coupons and Vouchers
There's no need to pay the full price for items when there are often deals online. Meals out, weekends away and events can all be cheaper if you find the right promotion. Websites such as vouchercodes.co.uk, groupon.co.uk and wowcher.co.uk offer a wide range of offers and discounts. In addition, sites such as quidco.com and topcashback.co.uk provide 'cash back' on your purchases, so you can earn as you spend.
Grow your own
If you are looking for a new hobby and want to save money, then why not set aside some space in the garden to grow your own produce. The Royal Horticultural Society has an invaluable guide to get you started.
Review your current account provider
The high street banks are always looking to win over customers from their competitors, and offer substantial incentives to switch accounts. Providers regularly offer over £100 for switching and with the government's new switcher scheme the process has never been easier.
The rise of the internet has given rise to the 'sharing economy', allowing people easy access to each other's assets. A classic example is Airbnb, which allows you to rent rooms or your property on short term lets, but there are plenty of others. Nimber.com matches people who need something delivering with people who are travelling that way already. Turn your daily commute into something you're paid for! Storemates.co.uk allows you to rent out any spare space you have to store people's items – 50% cheaper than most self-storage companies!
Last year the government claimed that many people could save around £200 a year by switching energy suppliers1. Reviewing your energy supplier can save money, and is made easy by the many price comparison websites such as moneysupermarket, comparethemarket and uswitch.
Review your credit cards
If you are carrying a balance on your credit card you could be paying unnecessary interest. Like the banks, credit card providers are competing to secure new customers and offer 'balance transfer cards.' These charge 0% interest on balances you transfer from your present cards, often for well over two years. Again, the price comparison websites will quickly help you identify the best deals.
However, you should bear in mind that if you do transfer a balance, it makes sense to reduce your debt before the offer runs out and you start having to pay interest again.
Recycling and Freecycle
There are lots of ways to save money through recycling your own or acquiring other people's unwanted items. Community groups such as Freecycle and Freegle offer an ideal way to stock your house with items you need free of charge. Alternatively, you can have a clear out and use any additional room to hire out for storage, as mentioned earlier.
mazumamobile.com is one of several websites you can use to sell your old mobile phone. Rather than leaving it to gather dust, you can get some money for it. For other devices and items, look at musicmagpie.co.uk and zapper.co.uk.
If you are paying regular monthly fees for subscriptions it makes sense to review them once in a while to see if you still use them. If not, is it time to end the service and save the money? For those you still value, can you get them for less? Which?, the largest consumer body in the UK, looked last year at how much you can save by negotiating for home services2. They believe that the average household could save around £500 per year just by picking up the telephone and negotiating with suppliers. They also provided some helpful hints and techniques, which can be found here.
Look at big ticket items for ways to save
If you are about to make a big purchase, such as a flight, make sure you take the time to look around for the best deals and the most appropriate way to purchase. According to an article in The Telegraph3, the best time to book flights in 2017 is one or two months in advance, when travellers can save up to 80%.
It suggested that the cheapest European flight destination is Madrid (£66 on average), and Marrakech in Morrocco (£93) is the lowest priced international destination. But by booking a month in advance, holidaymakers could save up to 55% and 62% respectively. The best days to travel are Sunday to Tuesday for Madrid, while Brits planning a trip to Marrakech should book a Friday to Friday trip to score maximum flight savings.
Look on websites like Cheapflights, Skyscanner and Kayak for the best deals. The Telegraph advises you to make sure you delete your cookies (which can normally be found under Tools – Options in your browser) after visiting each site, as prices often go up if you visit the same website multiple times.
A few closing notes…
We hope that you find these ideas useful and thought provoking. Our examples are all for illustrative purposes only, so please do not consider them as advice or recommendations to be relied on. If you are looking to move house and need mortgage advice then please contact one of our mortgage advisers.