lifestyle

This week’s top spending tips and hacks to help you save money for summer


Gather up money where you can (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We’re all looking forward to getting back out there when lockdown lifts, but have you thought about how you will afford it all?

From getting back to the gym to updating our wardrobes after a whole year of loungewear, there are plenty of things we’re waiting to splash some cash on.

Start saving up now with these clever budgeting spreadsheets and savvy mind tricks, and you’ll soon have enough squirelled away to enjoy post-pandemic life properly.

Bring down the cost of your gym membership

If you are planning on signing up for a gym membership when lockdown lifts, make sure you do it at the end of the month, when the sales team is trying to close last-minute deals to reach their quota.

This is the best time to ask to have initiation fees waived, free personal training sessions or even have a few spa treatments thrown in.

Sure, swimming laps every now and then sound lovely, but if you don’t plan to go for a dip often (say, more than once a month), then there is no sense paying a monthly fee.

Maintaining a pool tends to drive up monthly club costs and memberships fees, and can quickly leave you out of pocket. If it’s fitness classes you are most tempted by, consider getting just a class card, so you’re only paying for the instructor and space when you need it.

Budget like a boss

Many of us overlook the little extras that can send a balanced budget into the red. Once you know where you stand, it is easier to make sure all your outgoings are covered and you can siphon off money into a savings pot.

Check out Money Saving Expert’s free downloadable spreadsheet, which allows you to detail all your outgoings.

Enter all your expenses and the clever spreadsheet does all the sums for you. It’s also a chance to look at any bills you could reduce.

Adopt a jam jar mentality

Have different pots for different goals (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Many people work towards several financial goals at the same time, yet clump the money in a single savings account.

But when your money is held in one ‘pot’, it’s tough to know how much more you need to reach a goal.

Instead, open several savings accounts, giving each one a name that describes its purpose, to have an added incentive to pay into it. You will be less likely to dip into your rainy day savings if they are ring-fenced for emergencies only.

This little psychological trick reminds you why that money is in savings before you’re tempted by an indulgence today.

Follow the lead of thrifty writers

If you want an easy way to find cost-cutting ideas, make sure you follow some of the country’s best thrifty writers on Instagram.

A good place to start is @MrsMummypennyUK, @MuchMore_Less, @andyclevercash, and @thriftylondoner.

Invest in insulation that improves your interior

When it comes to saving money on energy, most of us look to insulate our loft and cavity walls to bring down costs.

But, looking at our feet could also pay dividends because the average British home loses 10% of its heat through uninsulated floors.

This can be avoided by installing a wool-rich carpet, which traps air within its fibres, making it a natural insulator. Add to this a decent underlay made from a material such as heavy-duty rubber or recycled foam, and you can expect to see energy savings of more than £500 over ten years.

The best part? You can start to realise the energy-saving benefits of carpet from the moment it is fitted.

Do the maths (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Do that maths – and stick to it

Research shows that shoppers are more likely to choose the middle choice of a selection set, over the extreme options.

Whether you are shopping for a bottle of wine or a flat-screen television, few of us actually buy the most costly on offer, or the cheapest.

We tend to go for something in the middle of the price range. Retailers know this, and stack shelves accordingly, putting the items that are most profitable at eye-height.

The result? We walk away believing that we got a good deal – and the retailer got your cash, often more than you wanted to spend. So, stick to your guns when it comes to your budget.

Tax your car in full to save

Though it may be easier to spread the cost of road tax, it ends up costing more in the long run. Saving up to pay it in one lump sum can save you up to £29 per year.

Sign up to slash shopping bills

Online retailers try to reel you in by offering incentives to shop online when you sign up to their marketing emails.

It can mean a percentage discount code, or a straight discount off your first shop. At Gap, for instance, you can save 20% just by signing up, while Zalando offers £10 off your first shop.

Try to use a separate email address when you sign up for newsletters, which will help to reduce the amount of spam you get in your main account.

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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