With the cost of living consistently increasing, many of us need to make some changes. Forget all of the over-complicated methods that seem to be all over the internet, and instead, we’re here to focus on small changes that can really transform your personal finances.
This covers all kinds of different things from your budgeting to your washing, shopping trips, and overall finance tips!
Start with a Really Thorough Budget
The best place to start when it comes to transforming your finances is to start with a really thorough budget. Plan out all of your essential outgoings such as mortgage payments, debt repayments, bills, and insurance, along with your non-essential ones, such as non-essential clothes, holidays, and going out, and figure out how much you have to spend and where you might need to cut back in order to afford everything for the month.
Once you know what you need to stick to, everything becomes easier! There are great apps out there to help you stick with your budget and really feel the difference when it comes to your finances.
Pay Off Debt Before Saving
If currently, you’re trying to save as well as pay off debt, we’d recommend that you stop that to transform your finances. The interest you pay on debt is often a whole lot higher than the interest you gain on savings, so the best way to gain financial freedom is to focus on paying off your debt whether that’s looking for IVA advice or for people in less debt, just being more consistent with the repayments and utilising some savings. You may need to wait slightly longer for that holiday or to put a deposit down on your house, but you’ll save money in the long run.
Wash Your Clothes Less
One of the easiest things you can do to save money around the house is to wash your clothes less! Not only does the washing machine cost quite a bit to run, but when you wash clothes all the time, their quality of them deteriorates more quickly.
As a result, you have to replace them more often, which costs money. There are some things that you need to wash after every wash, such as underwear or tight-fitting t-shirts, but other things like denim, knitwear, coats, trousers, and so on can be washed much less often! Save energy and water bills, plus you don’t need to buy clothes as often. It’s a win-win!
Don’t Let Things Auto-Renew
Another way to save quite a lot of money is to avoid letting things auto-renew! With things like your phone contracts, insurance, phone contracts, and internet, often they will just auto-renew after the initial contract ends and the reminder email might go unnoticed.
Sometimes prices will be increased as well, so what you should do is make a note in your calendar on your phone when the contracts are due for renewal, then give your provider a call. Have a look around at other providers and the average costs, as well as the deals your provider is giving to new customers, then tell them that you want either the same rate as before or a reduced rate for being a loyal customer.
You’d be surprised at how often you get great savings when you say you’re looking elsewhere, and a 10-minute phone call could save you a great amount of money over the course of a year!
Create a Shopping List
This is a really simple way to transform your finances with just a little bit of effort. When you go food shopping without a list, it’s highly likely you’ll overspend on things you don’t need, which will then likely also result in food waste.
So, plan what you want to eat that week and write a list of just those things. You’ll notice the cost of your weekly food shop goes down quite significantly, especially when you plan more money-conscious choices throughout the week.
Eat More Plant Protein
Another shopping-related way to save a lot of money is to eat more plant protein. Things like beans and pulses are so much cheaper than meats, so replacing meat with these things in some of your meals can make a huge difference to how much your shop costs. For example, instead of making chili with beef, try making it with mixed beans instead.
Or use half as much beef and then make up the rest using beans. Another example would be making a chicken pie, instead of using 4 chicken breasts for a big pie, use 2 and a tin of butter beans, then add lots of peas. You could break the cost of your meat down by half doing this, or you could incorporate some completely plant-based meals to save even more, like a lentil dhal or black bean quesadillas. Try out some new recipes that incorporate more plant-based protein and you’ll be surprised at just how much of a positive impact it has.
Transform How You Clean
Utilising more organic cleaning methods can also help you to save money! Some cleaning methods are really extortionate, so some small changes can make a big difference. For example, rather than buying all-purpose sprays, combine one part white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, then add a scent of your choice, like lemon rind or lavender sprigs.
This costs next to nothing and is really effective! There are plenty of recipes like this all over the internet for different types of cleans throughout the house, so give a few a go and you’ll save a lot of money over the next few years.
Learn to Sew
If you find that you throw out a lot of clothing when it has a small fault, then learning to sew can save you a significant amount of money. When you can just repair a piece of clothing, rather than needing to throw it away and buy another one, you’ll be shocked at the savings! There are so many videos online to help you learn, even if it’s just the basics.
If you’re really not confident, go to your local tailor and this will still be cheaper than replacing completely. This is also the case for clothes that might not fit right anymore. Instead of buying new ones, take them to get tailored to help the environment and your bank balance.
Buy Second Hand
This might be a bit of an obvious one, but buying second-hand is one of the best things you can do to save money. This is often discussed in relation to clothes, but we’re talking about everything, particularly more expensive household items! Look on your local marketplaces for expensive things like lawnmowers, washing machines, fridges, garden furniture, and so on.
Make sure you ask for the relevant documentation first or proof that they’re working properly, but this is a great way to save money without having to compromise on the quality. Just make sure that before you buy everything is legit, as the last thing you want is to lose the money and end up with nothing!
You’ll be surprised at what people sell online, even if you think it’s something really rogue and you’ll have to buy it new. Just have a look around and it’s likely someone, somewhere, will be selling what you need!
Learn to Say No
Our last tip to help you transform your finances is to learn to say no. This is the most difficult of all, as we know just how tempting it is to say yes to that takeaway, that one pint after work, that holiday or a new piece of clothing. This is where your budget comes in, as if part way through the month you know you’ve overspent on going out, you need to have the willpower to say no in order to gain financial freedom.
This will be difficult, to begin with, but so worth it in the long run. You can simply say to people, sorry I’m not going to be able to afford it, and if they have a problem, then they’re not being very understanding. Sometimes you need to put yourself first, and if you’re struggling with your finances, saying “no” can be the best way to do it.
You could suggest more affordable alternatives, like everyone coming round to your house, bringing their own booze, and playing a few games. Instead of going to a beer garden, why not DIY your own bar in the back garden and again, invite people around to enjoy the sun.
You don’t need to cancel your social life when saving money, but just get creative and the likelihood is most people will really enjoy doing something a bit different! Your real friends will support you in this journey to becoming more financially stable and you never know, they might be in the same position and will welcome some more affordable options when it comes to socialising.