After the festive atmosphere clears and life returns to normal, Britons are left holding the tab for a brisk holiday spending season. The financial wake-up call can be enough to jostle otherwise indifferent money managers into action, restoring financial balance at home. The recovery process invariably ignites a call for money-saving opportunities to help offset the spending run-up suffered during the holiday season.
If you need a boost paying down seasonal debt and want to take on the new year with a fresh frugal spirit, try the following money-saving tips for affordable living.
Stick to a Weekly Allowance
Payment technology makes it easier than ever to pay for goods and services without cumbersome cash transactions, but there are still times when it’s best to use cash. Savvy savers have learned to rely on cash as a budgeting tool, helping them spend less on impulse buys. For consistency, try giving yourself a cash allowance each week, representing your “walking money” for incidentals and entertainment – anywhere cash is the best way to pay.
The figure you select should be enough to comfortably cover costs, within your means, but you should also challenge yourself to scale back spending. In addition to adjusting the amount of your weekly allowance, try changing the day you take out the money. By putting it off a single day each week, you’ll save a little money each time, spending less, until you’ve recovered a week’s allowance in only 7 weeks.
Take Advantage of Online Cash Back Offers
Competition for your business results in unique saving opportunities. Routing your online shopping through a cash back website can put money in your pocket each time you shop. You’ll jump through a couple hoops and share information about yourself to get cash back, but it’s nearly effortless. And the more you shop, the more you save.
Stack Your Savings in a Special Place
Unless you take special notice and keep it apart from your regular household cash flow, money you save ends up back in general circulation, mingled with the rest of your cash. What if you actually took out the money you save on BOGO offers and other deals, isolating it in a separate account? You might be surprised, for starters, but also inspired to save even more money in the future.
To keep things moving in the right direction, set incremental savings goals to meet along the way. As your reserves build, you may want to put the money to work in a savings account or invest it.
At the worst possible time, the cost of winter heating energy places another substantial demand on your household cash flow. Prices are high, so you may be able to save money, moving to a different provider. It never hurts to ask, so there’s no harm price shopping your utilities. A phone call may be the only thing standing between you and a more affordable energy rate. But you won’t know until you put your service to the test, measuring what you currently spend against other available rates.
Ditch Your Debit Card
The convenience of paying with plastic comes at a price. Using your credit card results in interest and finance charges you can do without, but there’s also a price to be paid for leaning too hard on your debit card. Not only is it too easy to overspend when there’s no cash changing hands, but failing to account for debit card purchases can also lead to finance problems. Instead of turning to your card, try paying cash for every day purchases. Handling bills and coins keeps you in touch with your money and reduces the chance you’ll overspend.
Clearing seasonal debt sometimes calls for creative solutions. If your cash flow feels sluggish after shopping and entertaining your way through the festive season, you can bank on these and other money- saving moves to cut costs in 2018.