It might be easier to save money than you think.
Some people have managed to save money during lockdown, whereas for others the appeal of ordering takeaway every night has emptied their pockets. Let’s be real, lockdown hasn’t exactly lifted spirits, and although we haven’t been splashing the cash on nights out and restaurant meals, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get your finances in order during a global pandemic. Luckily, we live in a digital age and the internet abounds with experts who have some amazing tips on saving money. Here are some tried and true approaches to balancing your budget, to help you prepare for what we’re hoping will be our generation’s answer to the Roaring Twenties.
Meal-planning really does help when it comes to saving money, and it doesn’t have to mean eating boring, bland meals every day. In fact, you might end up eating more exciting meals that just happen to cost less than your usual grub. Bulk buying foods like pasta and rice can really bring food-costs down and you can always bulk-cook too, simply freezing or refrigerating the leftovers. Plus, if you just buy what you need for the week your fridge will be full of lovely food and you could even make a list of your favourite cheap meals to make planning every week easier. Check out websites like taste.com for ideas.
2. The Honey App
Online shopping was huge before the pandemic, and now it’s ballooned in popularity and Amazon is one of the biggest, if not the biggest player in the online shopping world. However, with so many products online it can be hard to understand whether or not you’re getting the best deal for your money. This is where the Honey app comes in and does the work for you. All you need to do is add it to Google Chrome and it will literally tell you whether or not you could get a better deal somewhere else, whilst you’re browsing the internet. It works really well with Amazon in particular.
3. Try cheaper products
Okay, so this one might sound a little preachy, but plenty of people buy the same brands day in day out because they think those are the only brands they like. However, if you start buying the cheaper brands and don’t like them then you can just try a different brand next week. So, you might have to eat those own-brand biscuits this week but who knows, they might be better and cheaper than your usual brand. This also applies to non-edible stuff like makeup. Some of the cheaper makeup brands are amazing. Plus, if you get your partner or friends involved, it gives you something to do during lockdown.
4. Utilise Your Bank’s Online Resources
Most banks now have an app, or an online functionality, and often there is some form of budgeting tool on the home page. Budgeting is by far one of the least sexy aspects of life, but we’ve all gotta do it, and rather than staring blankly at an excel sheet, feeling like you’re at work, why not just take a look at your bank’s online resources? A lot of banks automatically categorise your spending for you, so all you need to do is open up that page and take a look. If you don’t understand something, a quick Google search should rectify it, and you’ll feel so accomplished once you’re in control of your money.
5. Try to care about your pension
Many of us try to avoid thinking about the future, but retirement is just as much a part of life as you’re twenties and thirties, and it’s genuinely reassuring to know that you have it all planned out. If you have a private pension policy but you don’t know the name of the company it’s invested with, call your employer’s human resources department and they should be able to tell you. Generally, you can download an app that will load the details of your pension policy and you can start following the fluctuations of your finances. Not sure how your pension works? Call the company in charge of it and they will be able to tell you all about it. You might even find some of it interesting.
6. If it’s broken (watch a Youtube tutorial and) fix it
When you live a busy life it can be so difficult to take time and fix things, but you have to think about the sunny beach you’re saving to sit on. If you’re as clumsy as I am, household items break weekly (honestly, sometimes daily), but it’s not like many people are going to judge you for having a scruffy house during lockdown. You might want to replace some items eventually but at least you will have squeezed a couple of extra month’s function out of something. Don’t even bother buying tools, just ask your friends and neighbours and they can probably drop off a drill or wrench at your doorstep.
7. Buy energy-saving bulbs
Once you’ve eeked that last pathetic pulse of light out of your lightbulbs, you may as well replace them with energy-saving bulbs. It will help you to save money on your energy bills, and as we enter the warmer months you’re not going to need as much wattage as usual anyway. Lots of countries see increases in energy rates over the winter months, and whilst there are certain things you can do to mitigate this slightly in the winter, you can basically boss it in the spring and summer by just making small steps to reduce your energy bills.
8. Use the Fever app!
You’re probably aware by now that we, as the Secret Media Network, collaborate with Fever, and although some may say we’re a little biased, the app is genuinely a brilliant way to save money. All you have to do is download it and then you can browse the deals Fever has lined up, with amazing options available for eating out, visiting the theatre, having drinks with friends and even grabbing a tasty lunch. As you wrack up Fever points you’ll end up being able to afford tickets for things just using those points, which is a fantastic feeling – yay, free stuff! Check out the app here.