5 Amazingly Simple Ways Anyone Can Save Over £1,220 per Year

We all like saving money, but we can also find it very hard to do so.

Wages have not kept up with inflation, and so more and more, many of us are finding we have more month than money.

There are usual ways we try to cut back on spending, using coupons and vouchers, not going out, walking and using public transport to cut back on car expenses.  Even things like taking our lunch to work, are all good ways to save money.

However, sometimes you need to “think outside the box” so to speak, or get creative in your thinking, in ways to save some money.

In presenting some of these simple ways to save money, we realise, some are not going to be for everyone, and the savings we are attempting to project are based on one person doing this.  Should a large family follow some of the ideas there, the saving could be even higher.

So off we go into the amazingly simple, and some odd and not thought of ways to save money.

 

Off-Peaking

Off-peaking is a lifestyle concept that may not be for everyone, and it doesn’t mean living in a basement or some lower than sea level lifestyle.

It refers to living your life off-peak, or askew time wise of when the majority of the population live their lives.

Being off-peak is in essence, not following the crowds, avoiding the queues and crowds that seem to make up certain times of the day and evenings.

You do things, such as shopping, entertaining, and travelling, at times when other people are not doing them.

Here are some examples, and how much you may save.  Again, this lifestyle concept may not be for everyone, but even some slight changes in our behaviours, such as when we shop or travel, can save us money.

Food:  It would appear, just by the numbers in the supermarkets and shops, that Friday evening, Saturdays, and Sundays, are when the majority of people do their big weekly food shop. 

So why follow them?

This is not when the real bargains are to be had….oh no…that is later at night when the discounted food is put out.  And it is deeply discounted.  Usually because the sell by date is the next day, or possible that day.

So here is when your off-peak skills kick in.

You go shopping at the end of the evening when the discounted food is put out.

For a period of time, I worked for one of the largest supermarkets in the UK.  It was almost always the same time of the evening/night they put out the deeply discounted food items.

So, how much can you save? 

Savings are going to vary according to what food is put out, and how much the discount is.  The discounted food is usually fresh foods, meat, fish, fresh soups, bread, etc.  The discounts I saw were up to 50% off! 

Many supermarkets have a discounted food isle, this is where tinned, and other non-perishable food are discounted.  Again, discounts can vary.

In using some simple math, if you spend £100 a month on fresh foods, meat, and food stuffs like that, and only save a basic 40%, you are only spending £60 a month.  That saves you not just £40 a month, but £480 a year!

In addition, you get a variety for your menu, you never know what food will be discounted, so you need to be flexible in your eating habits.

Travel:  Many of us have to be to work early in the morning, but there can be a bit of flexibility on this time to work with some employers.

Peak-time for many of the rail lines is early hours of 6:30 in the morning till half 9, then again at 16:00 to 19:00. 

Travelling outside of these times will save your sanity, due to crowded trains, but also save you money. 

My research showed you may be able to save up to 70p per trip, however, some longer journeys the savings was more.

Obviously the use of rail cards can add to this savings, as can other tips, such as buying tickets in advance, or splitting the fares.

Advance purchases of four (4) weeks do help to reduce fairs, but in some instances, if you have multiple legs of your journey, by splitting the tickets you can save even more. 

As to how much you can save, my research showed a ticket from Liverpool Lime Street Station to Brighton, off-peak, mid-week, purchased 4 weeks in advance, costing £40 for a single.  Splitting the tickets, the rail fare was the same £40. 

However, if going from Lime Street station in Liverpool to Bristol Temple Meade, off-peak, and no rail card, the savings was on average £6.  It was £29 to split the fares, slightly higher by not splitting them. 

Even if we just save £1 a day for our commutes to and from work by going off-peak, based on a five (5) day work week, we can save £250 a year!  That is based on a 50 week work year, we have to have our fortnight of holiday:)

Dating and Entertainment:  Here is where we can really save some money, as you can imagine how much we spend on going out, entertaining, and especially dating.

Years ago some companies who had sales executives with expenses accounts, had the accountants go over the books to see how can they save money on their expenses, such as travel, entertaining clients, and lodging.

Two areas, travel and lodging, they were able to reduce some by using corporate accounts, reps travelling only when needed, and only sending one sales person out, when they sometimes sent two.

However, the area they made the largest reduction was in entertaining clients.  Taking clients out for meals, drinks, etc.

So what change did they make?

They went off-peak.

Instead of taking a client out for drinks and a meal, meet for breakfast.  Have coffee, tea, and a full English.  You still can chat, discuss sales, and meetup, but breakfast time, is cheaper that tea time.

Now apply this concept to your life, entertaining friends, meeting up, and also dating.

If you meet up with friends after work for “Happy Hour”, there is some savings there, but meet them in the morning before you go to work, sort of a “Breakfast Club” scenario, or meet for lunch.

Years ago I had a standing order once a week to meet a friend of mine for lunch.  Soon there were three (3) of us, and we alternated paying the bill.

The same can be said of dating.

How many drunken nights of first and last dates did you have.  Meet for a coffee, tea, latte, mid-day.  If the date goes well, make another date for an evening.

If the date is not you wanted it to be, you can soberly, and wallet or purse still full, walk away.

Just keeping the concept of off-peaking in mind, think of all the other ways you can save money, and avoid the crowds.

Cinema tickets are expensive, especially if you want to see the latest and greatest film in 3D. By going to the cinema off-peak and not watching the film in 3D, you can save on average £1.40 for an adult ticket.

If you go to the cinema twice a month, that is a savings of £2.80, which doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up to £33.60 a year.  And that is per person.  Families can save even more.

Yes, Groupon, and vouches and coupons can help with saving money as well, but off-peaking is something you can do on your own.

And regarding popcorn, drinks and snacks at a film, eat at home before you go.  Some parents like to pack snacks for the kids to take in and eat, however, you need to know the cinema’s policy on bringing in your own food and drink.  Many do not take kindly to patrons doing it.

With just the figures we can verify and add up, just by off-peaking you can save well over £700 a year.  And that is not taking into account savings on entertainment, dating, museums, art galleries, etc, that offer cheaper or reduced tickets during off-peak times.

 

Free Banking

In this day and age of online and mobile banking, can you believe that people still pay for banking?!

I mean why would you do that?

There are even banks now that will pay you to switch accounts, and offer cash incentives each month to have your account.

Packaged Bank Accounts:  These bank accounts charge a fee, anywhere from £10 a month to as much as £15 a month to have your money in their banks.

The accounts come with extras, such a life insurance, travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, etc, but many times it can be cheaper to have your own insurance policies.  In addition, if you have a contents policy, or life insurance or other policy covering these items. only one policy is going to pay out.  So why have two.

If you pay £10 a month for a packaged bank account, and switch to a free bank account, you save £120 a year. 

Cash Back Bank Accounts:  Depending on your banking needs, and the balances you maintain, and how many direct debits you have a month, some backs are offering not just money to switch banks, but also cash back in your account each month. 

Depending on your banking habits, you could earn over £300 a year!

Free Cash Points:  I realize that in many parts of the country, ATM’s and cash points are disappearing, especially as we move to a more cashless society.  But paying to access one’s own money is madness. 

Many of these cash points that charge a fee can charge anywhere from £1, to £1.85.  If you use one of these and pay a fee of £1.50 just once a week, that can add up to £78 a year! 

If you couple paying for an ATM, with a packaged bank account, it could be costing you £198 each year.

Just another amazing way to save some money.

 

To The Last Drop

Water, it is the essence of life so they say.  It also is a commodity across the globe.

You may pay your water rates monthly, every six (6) months, or annually, but you still pay them.

It is difficult to estimate the average person’s water usage, but it is estimated at 80 to 100 gallons per day.  Per day!

The cost per household will vary according to region and usage, but it is estimated to be around £400 a year.

This also can vary due to the fact that some households have water meters, and some do not.

A single person in the NW without a water meter may be allowed unlimited water usage, but they will pay £39.05 a month for this. That is £468.60 per year.

It would be cheaper for them as a single person household, to switch to a water meter.

Larger households benefit from the lack of a water meter, as there is no way to track usage, although their rates may be slightly higher.

There are two parts to our water bills:

  • Water usage
  • Sewage Usage

As to how to uniquely save money and save water, will depend on if a water meter is best for your household, or if a meter is not the best way.

It obviously will depend on if a meter has already been installed or not.

Those properties without a water meter can have one installed for free, and you then have a period of time to decide if the meter is of a savings or not.  And you can switch back to not having a meter, sometimes even up to two (2) years after getting the water meter.

That’s a pretty good deal.

So let’s say you have a water meter, and want to save money on your water bill, there are a few ways to do this, and some may seem a bit odd.

Save Water in The Toilet:  Every time you flush the loo it costs you money.  On average is costs 1.5p for each flush.

Baths can cost average 15p, washing laundry 11p.

You can see it doesn’t take long for all this to add up over the course of a month.

We have been told that taking showers uses less water, and the old joke that showering or bathing together can cut your water cost in half.  And there is truth to this jest.  But saving water with the toilet, how?

Years ago there was the suggestion of placing a brick in the back water tank of the loo, so less water was taken back in.  This is a good idea, but one that today’s loos, with their sealed tanks, may not be a practical one.  However, if you have an older loo, the brick trick works.

Flush Every Other Time: OK, so maybe not for everyone, but not flushing the toilet each time you go, can save you money.  There is an old saying, “if it’s yellow let it mellow, and if it’s brown flush it down”.

Again, maybe not for everyone.

But if you flush on average 5 times a day, that is 1.5p X 5 = .75p per day, or £22.50 a month (based on 30 days), or £270 a year

Obviously this may seem high, but factors such as children, how much time is spent working or outside the home, holidays, etc, will all affect this figure.

But if you cut your flushes in half, you can save over £100 a year.

Then there is another way to cut your flushes a week bit, wee in the shower.  I know some will say disgusting, and others will say, I am already doing it.

Just a way to reduce water consumption.

 

The Rounding Up Method

The rounding up method is an old, tried and tested way to save money.  It is not saving money in a sense of not spending money, but by using some unique accounting method to put money aside, so that you are saving.

The way the rounding up method works is like this:

For every purchase you make with your debit card, you round up that purchase in your cheque book ledger.

If you buy petrol and it costs you £23.50, you round up to £24.00.

If you purchase lunch, and it costs you £4.25, you round up to £5.00.

Between these two purchases alone you now have an extra £1.25 in your account.

By doing this for a period of time, say a year, you will be amazed at how much extra you have in your account.

I tried this and had £50 in six (6) months.

If on average you use your debit or bank card 20 times a month, and the average rounding up is 40p, that is £96 a year.

And for many people the average rounding up may be more, and they may use their bank cards more often.

This is just an easy, and can be a fun way, to save money.

 

Potty Train Your Cat

We love our pets, but in the end the love you give and get, can cost dearly, and with cats one of those expenses is kitty litter.

Some households spend £10 or more a month on cat litter.

So why not potty train your cat!

Cats are very clean animals, and also picky about where they do their business. And even if you have a cat that you allow to roam outside, it is still going to need a litter tray to go inside.

And if you have two or more cats, the expense and chose of cleaning the tray, can add up.

So potty train your cat and save £120 a year, if not more!

So how did we do in saving money using these unique techniques for a period of one (1) year??

Off-Peaking:  Savings can vary amongst people, but a good average can be as high as £700 per year, or more! 

Free Banking and ATM’s:  If you are paying for your bank account, and use cash points that charge a fee, you could save up to almost £200 a year!

Reducing Water Rates:  Bathing and showering together, not flushing the loo, all ways to save on water rates, but again, how much you’ll save depends on the size of your household, if you have a water meter or not, and how much of these ideas you embrace, but it is possible to easily save £100 or more each year.

Rounding Up:  No real surprises again, it can vary according to how many times you use your bank or debit card, and the average sale.  However, you should be able to save £75 to £100 easily. 

Potty Training Our Feline Friends:  £120, if not more depending on what you spend for cat litter, and how many cats you may have.  

So in total, on average using these four amazing ways to save money, you could be…….drum roll….£1,220 richer each year!

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