With 2021 looking like it could be a very interesting year, now could be a good time to start doing whatever you can to bolster your finances. With that in mind, here are some top tips for saving money.
Tackle any debts in the right order.
There are basically two effective ways to tackle debts. The traditional snowballing method is to start with the highest-interest debt and pay as much as you can towards it. When this is paid off, you move onto the next highest-interest debt and so on.
If, however, you have any debts with low balances, you might want to prioritize paying these off and closing the accounts. It is vital to close the accounts so that the line of credit is formally eliminated. This can help to improve your credit record and hence take you a step forward in qualifying for lower-interest products.
Close any credit accounts you don’t use
Firstly, as mentioned above, this can improve your credit record. Secondly, the sooner you close the account, the sooner the company will be able to delete your data. That means the sooner you will have one fewer account exposed to ID theft.
See if you can improve your credit record
Your credit record doesn’t just matter for getting formal credit products such as credit cards and loans. It also matters if you want to get any sort of contract. It can also influence your ability to rent a property or even to get certain jobs. Basically, having a good credit record can save you a lot of money and having a poor one can work out very expensive.
Commit to sticking to shopping lists
Impulse and convenience purchases can quickly gobble up your budget. This is particularly true if you kid yourself that you’re not making them. Alternatively, perhaps you really don’t notice that you’re making them. For example, you go to the supermarket for your essential shop and absent-mindedly pop a few extra items into your trolley.
Put a stop to this by sticking with shopping lists. If you buy anything which is not on your list, make a note of both the item and the reason for buying it. If you don’t get a receipt take a picture of it and make a voice note of why you bought it.
Make all your food and drinks from scratch at home
On a similar note, learn the skill of meal-planning and use it. The trick to effective meal-planning is to keep your kitchen stocked with items you can use to make a variety of meals. Then create a meal plan which functions as a guide-book rather than a rule-book. In other words, it allows you some flexibility.
Avoid all ready-prepared products at supermarkets. A lot of them cost a lot of extra money for a minimum of time-saving or skill-saving. For example, a jar of tomato sauce is likely to cost a whole lot more than the ingredients needed to make a tomato sauce. It may save you a bit of time and effort, but it really isn’t that hard to make a tomato sauce from scratch.
Give up smoking
It’s bad for your health and your wealth.
Cut out or cut back on alcohol
From a health perspective, generally speaking, alcohol is fine in moderation. From a wealth perspective, however, it’s an expensive treat. If you can cut it out, you could potentially save yourself quite a bit. If, however, that is a step too far, then you could try cutting back. This could be by drinking less often or by changing what you drink, or a combination of both. For example, if you’re in the habit of drinking spirits add plenty of mixer, for wine change to spritzer and for beer/cider switch to shandy.