Money Saving Hints and Tips

Linda Wilkinson is a founder member of ‘Space for Growth’ and an authorised partner with UW, the UK’s only award-winning multi-service provider for utilities. Most of us have gas, electricity, broadband, landline and mobiles and it’s worth a chat with Linda for a no obligation review. She also works with her husband, Barry, at Surface Heroes, is Mum to Tom (14 years old) and they have a 3 year old golden show cocker spaniel called Rocco. Linda loves to network and will always share connections willingly and credit others when she shares their ideas!

Linda wrote this blog following her 10 minute presentation to share hints and tips she’s picked up over time. If you need any of the expertise she’s mentioned, please visit the members section of this website for contact details of our recommended experts.

RESEARCH

When you’re looking to use a new service be sure to do some research rather than buying on a whim. Impulse purchases can be an expensive option so stop, take a breath and then make an informed purchase instead!

• Ask your family/friends for recommendations – chances are someone else has already done some research so that will shortcut your work.
• Which? Is the UK’s consumer magazine and widely trusted.
• Online comparison sites and TV shows are fantastic for top tips, but do remember that not all companies pay to advertise in this way, so don’t limit yourself to this.
• Social media recommendations are a common way of doing research these days, but do some ‘lurking’ to ensure they’re true recommendations rather than people promoting each other’s businesses.

BENEFITS

What is being offered to lure you into making that purchase or agreeing to that service? If it’s not going to be a benefit to you, then don’t take it! Do you really need those free cushions for that sofa or would you rather have money off that sofa?

Your school days maths comes into its own at the supermarket with the BOGOF and 3 for 2 offers floating around. Take a breath before you fall for the bargain signs as they might not be beneficial to you. Avoid wastage and only buy the things you need unless you can freeze them for another time! Doing an online supermarket shop can save you money too as you only buy what you need. For those that still like to physically pick their own products, make sure you plan your menu and have a list – you’ll be surprised how your shopping bill decreases!

Loyalty cards are a personal preference whether you use them or not. They can be a great money saver as they monitor your purchases and target you with offers on those same products in the future to encourage you to return to their store! Money-off vouchers and air miles are a favourite for some!

Gourmet Society is one of the cards which offers money off days out, cinema and eating out. Many companies give this free, e.g. Utility Warehouse when a customer takes all services. I’ve heard of employers doing this too.

HOUSEKEEPING

Money can be such a touchy subject and often avoided, but it’s worth reviewing your standing orders and direct debits on a regular basis. Do you really need to pay monthly for your gym membership or is there a ‘pay as you go’ option which works out more cost effective?

A financial advisor recently advised that ideal savings for a rainy day should be around 3 months worth of income. Even if this isn’t really achievable for you, it’s worth squirrelling away what you can when you can to make a start. You can get accounts with ‘instant access’ or you can invest money for the longer term. Your financial advisor/wealth consultant can ask questions about how you feel about risk as there are high risk accounts all the way down to Premium Bond investments where your capital stays the same (but do bear in mind inflation and how cash can devalue very quickly).

If you’re lucky enough to have a tax bill, be grateful that you’ve earned sufficient to have to pay tax! Your accountant will suggest putting aside around 30% of what you invoice so you’re never taken by surprise. An online accounting tool will keep you on top of your VAT too.

DECLUTTERING

Chuck out the Chintz! Sell things on the online selling sites. There are people that do both these tasks for a living if you find that you procrastinate on these tasks – decluttering wardrobes, filing cabinets or even kitchen cupboards. Charity shops are limited on what they can take at the moment so do consider other options. Tidiness around you does encourage a tidier work mindset!

Decluttering your workspace also includes turning off notifications from WhatsApp groups that aren’t relevant to your working day – you can check them another time and catch up! This will give you better concentration so you’ll be earning more money each day.

CASHBACK

There are so many options for getting cash back these days – do be aware of a monthly charge for most services though. Some of these fees are paid on a monthly basis and others might keep a percentage of the cash back up to a certain figure.

• Banks are a good start, e.g. Santander have an account where you can get cash back on your mortgage and utility payments.
• Credit cards (make sure you pay the balance in full each month to avoid interest payments) often have benefits, e.g. Costco American Express card.
• Utility Warehouse offer a cash back card for their customers which gives money off the utility bill.
• Online platforms such as Quidco and TopCashback sometimes give a higher value of cash back if you take a voucher rather than cash withdrawal. Be sure to ask for a referral as they often reward the existing customer as well as the new customer!

FINANCIAL HEALTHCHECK

• Prepare for your future! Make choices which have the right consequences for you.
• Review your mortgage to ensure you’re on the lowest possible interest rate. Talk to an independent advisor who will have access to more of the market than you’ll find online. If the fee to change is high, it might not be the best option to move.
• Check how much you pay for your telecom and utility bills and the customer service too – there’s always another option!

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