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Saturday, 25 November 2017 08:59

In the times we live in, it pays to be frugal

In a week where all we have heard is doom and gloom about the cost of living and UK growth being worse than first feared, we think it’s about time that we took a bit of control, so we have come up with a few ways of living frugally – should Armageddon take hold and all our money disappear into the abyss.

First and fore-most you need to sit down and see where every penny of your money goes, and, more importantly when you have done this, see where any savings can be made.

Even if you are paying a subscription for something that is only £5 per month, ask yourself, do you really need it? Making little savings like this can help go a long way and could save you hundreds over a year.

Budget for all your bills so that you know how much money is going out on set days and equally do this with your food shop. Food shopping is one of the biggest costs and is rising all the time. Make sure you set aside money every week for food and essentials but once that money has gone, that’s it, it’s gone. Don’t be nipping to the local convenience stores for ‘bits’. It’s these bits that cost you over a month and you’d be surprised just how much.

It may also help if you plan your meals for the upcoming seven days at the beginning of the week. This way you know exactly what food you have to buy and nothing else. This also saves you from being tempted from ordering takeaways as you have the food in the fridge and cupboards and probably won’t want to waste it.

Depending on how far you wanted to take reducing your food bills, you could also look into growing your own food. It’s not as hard as people think and (apparently) is very easy to do. You’d be surprised at what kind of savings could be made simply by growing your own vegetables and housing a couple of chickens for the eggs.

Another way of saving a bit of cash in these uncertain times is to dig out all your energy suppliers and car insurers and get online to see if they are ripping you off and whether or not you can make savings by going elsewhere. We’re getting fed up of saying it, but time and time again people are lacklustre when it comes to switching providers for essential energy. It takes minutes to go on a comparison site to see if you are paying over the odds.

If you can find a cheaper deal elsewhere, go for it. People have been known to save hundreds annually simply by giving minutes of their time and switching to cheaper providers. You don’t get bonus points for loyalty these days, in fact these companies just see it as a green light to rip you off some more by playing on your complacency.

A lot of people also spend quite a bit of money on socialising and going out drinking with friends, and why shouldn’t you have a good time when you work hard the rest of the hours? But, for many, going out is a big expense that needs to be reduced. There are a couple of ways you could do this, the most obvious is to reduce the amount of times you go out and maybe alter how you socialise. With the latter in mind, if you are keen to see friends on a regular basis but without the same amount of money going out, you could invite friends round to your house for a film night or something similar. A film costs nothing and a couple of drinks bought from the supermarket to entertain everyone will be far cheaper than going out drinking at pubs and clubs.

Finally, one of our biggest annoyances that people need to wake up to when trying to save money is the amount of dosh that gets thrown at keeping fit.

Don’t get us wrong, keeping fit is important in maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle, but do you really need a gym membership to achieve this? The savings that could be made if people stopped paying for memberships (that many never get their money’s worth anyway) is astronomical. Instead, what’s wrong with going for a run in the great outdoors? Walking in the many countryside locations we have in this country could also be a big benefit that costs nothing.

In the end, it all comes down to how desperate you are to save money. Common sense should prevail. Don’t spend money you don’t have and where you think you can save money, do it.

There may be a lot of things out of our control, as mentioned right at the beginning of this article, but there are plenty of things we can do to make things a little easier for ourselves.  

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