Day-to-day savings: Getting into good habits this February

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Sometimes, it seems pretty damn hard to save money on a day-to-day basis, though given the probable cost explosion following Christmas, you’ll be doing everything you can to limit your spending.

 

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Some you’ll have heard of before (probably plenty of times), but you’ll certainly see the financial benefit of each and every one.

 

Leave the cards at home

As one of our favourite things to do, it’s worth considering leaving your debit or credit cards at home when you go to work, unless you absolutely need them in an emergency (e.g. your car breaks down). Removing the opportunity to spend more than what’s in your pocket is sometimes the only way for some of us to save hard cash.

 

Make your own lunch

Well, this is probably the most obvious one, but if you compare your average supermarket meal deal – usually £3 for a sandwich, crisps and a drink – to the cost it is to sort it out yourself, you could end up spending a third as much. A pack of canned drinks (or just sticking to water), a multipack of crisps, and a loaf of bread and some sandwich filler may only cost a fiver, and sort you for the whole week.

 

Try out the own-brand goods

Now’s your chance to do a taste challenge, ignoring the packaging. Is Aldi’s cereal better than Kellogg’s? Is Lidl’s tuna as good as John West’s? According to many polls, they are – so why not find out for yourself?

 

Withdraw a set amount or cash each week, and stick to it

Friends of ours swear by this one, but go to the cash point on a Sunday evening and withdraw a set amount of money you know you can afford to take out for that period of time. From that, you have a budget until the next Sunday – so you may end up going easy early in the week to have more fun on the weekend, or vice-versa. Try it out!

 

Porridge, the cheap winter warmer

A bag of porridge oats can be as little as £1 for a sack, as, well, it’s just oats, isn’t it? Mix with milk or water, then add whatever you want for taste – sugar, salt, fruit, syrup, whatever. It’s the perfect base for your own creation, it’s filling, and full of plenty of slow-release carbohydrates to keep you energetic through the morning.

 

Get selling

Finally, audit your clothes, electronics and the like. Is there anything there you don’t need? If so, stick them on eBay or, better still, Gumtree (where fees are less/non-existent). A more clutter-free home, and you’ve got some cash in your back pocket.