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How to save money by reducing your spending

Reducing your spending can really help you to improve your financial situation. Right now, you might be trying to build up a savings buffer or really struggling to pay your debts. Either way, we can help you to make the most of your money.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, there still may be ways that you can save by reducing your spending. We’ll help you find out how to get the best deals – think switching services, coupons, deals (without spending on items you don’t need).

So, what are the best ways to save money by reducing your spending? Never pay over the odds or pay for things you don’t need. Once you’ve been through these steps, check out our advice on how to maximise your income and get the lowdown on savings and insurance.

Eight ways to save money

1. Switch your utilities and bills

Staying with one provider for your utilities for too long can cost you hundreds of pounds over time. The solution? Regularly compare prices on your utility bills.

We work with some of the UK’s top switching services to help you save potentially hundreds of pounds each year. All you need to do is click through and see how much you can save on your bills.

Once you’ve done that, head over to save water, save money. This website offers free advice on how to save money on water bills and you can order a free save water kit.

2. Stop unused subscriptions 

If you aren’t using a subscription or streaming services, then why pay for it? Think Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky Sports or the Disney Channel. Being firm with your spending can help you save a lot of money.

Services like Freeview can offer over 70 live UK TV and radio channels for free, so long as you buy a box to stream these or have a compatible TV.

If you’re in a long-term contract and it’s not as simple as cancelling a subscription for you, then get in touch with your provider and explain your situation to them. They’ll be able to let you know what options are available and you may be able to reduce your subscription to the minimum package.

3. Cancel CPAs

Continuous Payment Authorities or (CPAs) are recurring payments where you give an organisation permission to take money from your account.

These can be used for gym memberships or magazine subscriptions. However, payday loan providers also tend to favour CPAs. That’s because it gives them the authority to take money from an account if you miss a payment. They can also change the amount they’ll charge you without needing your permission.

It is your right to cancel a CPA if you’re struggling financially.

You can cancel a CPA by:

  • Contacting the company taking the payment and ask them to stop
  • Contacting your card issuer/bank and cancel a CPA – if you ask your bank to cancel the CPA, you must also let the company expecting the payment know that you’ve done this, so you don’t face extra charges

4. Save money on food

There are lots of ways that you can start reducing your spending and save money on food; from making sure you write a shopping list, to choosing frozen fruit and veg over fresh.

Have a look at the NHS’ 20 tips to eat well for less and follow our steps below:
  • Plan your meals – try batch cooking a couple of meals for the week. Bolognese, pies, stews and soups are all good meals to make in bulk and freeze for the days ahead. You’ll be more likely to have the time to make meals from scratch (which can be healthier and cheaper) and you’ll save time on the evenings when you don’t need to cook.
  • Check what you’ve got in the kitchen – make the most of what you’ve already got in the house. This is especially important for food that’s going off soon, but equally counts for using up what’s in the cupboard or freezer.
  • Make a list – once you’ve taken stock of what you’ve got in, make a list for what you need. This will help you to avoid unnecessary spending.
  • Switch to supermarket own-brand products – ever watched programmes like eat well for less? If you’re a loyal brand shopper (or you’ve got one in the house) then see how much you can save by switching to own brand items.
  • Look online for new customer offers, coupons and vouchers – sites like voucher cloud and the daily mail gather loads of online deals into one place – all in the name of saving money. Otherwise, have a look for offers at your grocery store or go directly to the shop’s website to look for new customer deals.
  • Shop later – the later you shop, the more likely you are to find reduced items. The items will usually be reduced with a short shelf-life, so you’ll have to store them in the freezer or be able to eat them on the day.
  • Try the Too Good to Go App supermarkets in your area use it to sell food bags for as little as £3! Sign up and you’ll be alerted to when they’re available.
  • Have a meat free day – by having a meat free day each week, you could start to save a fair bit of money over time. Add vegetables and pulses to your meals, like lentils or chickpeas instead, they’re great sources of protein and will help you to feel fuller for longer.
  • See if frozen is cheaper – do you like adding blueberries to your porridge, or putting spinach in curries? Well, it might work out cheaper for you to buy them frozen rather than fresh. Do a bit of digging around the freezer aisles – you might find buying frozen cuts down on food wastage too.

Everyone has the right to be able to put food on the table.

If you’re struggling, get in touch with the Trussell Trust to find out how you can access a local food bank. And, if you haven’t already, talk to one of our advisers to look at your financial situation and see how we can help.

5. Be savvy with your wardrobe

Getting clothes that fit and are appropriate for different weathers and occasions are a regular living expense for all of us.

We need clothes to stay warm, dry – or to make a good impression at a job interview. Yet, finding quality clothes that aren’t too expensive isn’t always easy.

Here’s how you can be a savvy shopper when it comes to clothing:

  • Be a wardrobe warrior – if you have items in your wardrobe that you don’t wear because they don’t fit or they aren’t to your taste, then don’t keep them. There are lots of selling sites like eBay and Vinted where you can make money from unused clothes.
  • Try preloved shops – just as you might be looking to sell your unused clothes, others will be doing the same. And what do they say? One person’s trash is another’s treasure! Before buying brand new items, have a look if you can get a pre-loved bargain
  • School uniform help – some schools have schemes in place to help families cover uniform costs. Ask your school if they have one and how you’d apply. Or, your local council might be able to help you cover the cost of school uniforms, so it’s worth getting in touch with them to find out.

6. Cut vehicle and travel costs

Depending on your situation, there are a few ways you can cut your vehicle and travel costs.

Firstly, if you’re paying too much for your current car then consider swapping it for a cheaper vehicle. The most important things are that your vehicle is safe and does the job you need it to.

Secondly, if not all your vehicles in the household are essential then you might be able to cut down. If you don’t need a car on a day-to-day basis then you could consider selling it. You’ll get some extra cash and have less to pay out each month on running costs.

Same goes for train, tube or bus fares. Have a look if it’d be cheaper to get a weekly ticket instead of a daily fare – or vice versa. Have a think about if you can use free transport – walking, cycling or set up a lift sharing agreement with a friend or colleague.

7. Save on prescriptions

Another way of reducing your spending is to look at how you pay for prescriptions. If you need more than three prescribed items in three months, or more than eleven in a year, then you could save money with a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC).

A PPC covers all your NHS prescriptions. It includes all your dental prescriptions and doesn’t matter how many you need. Some other health items, like wigs and fabric supports, aren’t included though and you’ll need to access those through a hospital service.

There are 2 PPC options to choose from:

  • The 3-month PPC costs £29.65 and will save you money if you need more than 3 prescribed items in 3 months
  • The 12-month PPC costs £105.90 and will save you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items in a year

The easiest way to get a PPC is to purchase a prescription pre-payment certificate online. If you prefer talking to someone, then call 0300 330 1341. Either way, don’t forget to double check if you’re entitled to free prescription before you apply for a PPC.

8. Plan for special occasions

Planning for events that you know are going to cost you money is time well spent, believe us. By having money put aside for presents, you’re less likely to need to borrow money to cover the cost and you’ll have a better handle on your spending limits – and therefore, reducing your spending!

Aside from putting money into a savings pot, other ways to save for occasions are:

  • Set spending limits on people
  • Don’t spend for the sake of it
  • Buy Christmas cards and wrapping in January – it’s when they’re the cheapest!
  • If someone has asked for an expensive gift, ask friends or family if they’d like to club together

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