Want to boost your savings this year? We asked Clare Seal, author, financial coach and creator of the @myfrugalyear Instagram account to take over our blog. Clare shares ten ways you can save money in 2024.
Want to wrap up the year in a better financial spot? Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure that you establish good habits. This way you avoid going full pelt in January and running out of steam by March.
Let's get started. Keep reading to reveal ten ways that you can save money in 2024. Some are new habits to build, whereas others are one-off or occasional actions that can make a big difference:
Make an annual plan
It’s hard to achieve your financial goals if you a) don’t make any in the first place and/or b) don’t have a plan to get there. The new year is a great opportunity to get started. Think about where you’d like to see yourself by the end of the year. And come up with a strategy to get there. Would you like to improve your earnings? Start saving for a house deposit? Overpay on your mortgage or pay off your credit card? It doesn’t matter what your goals are, but it does matter that you know what they are.
Once you have an outcome in mind, work backwards – what steps do you need to take to get there? Is there anything getting in your way that you need to address? Keep it brief and to the point. Save it somewhere accessible, like a note or document on your phone, to keep you motivated when temptation strikes.
Budget in two parts
Want to know what one of the biggest mistakes people make when budgeting? It's making a spending plan for the month and thinking that’s the job done. For budgeting to work, you need to create the plan - maybe as a spreadsheet or in a paper planner, depending on what medium suits you best. Then you need to track your spending throughout the month using a budgeting app. You could use Snoop or Moneyhub, or your banking app if you use a digital bank like Starling Bank or Monzo.
These fintech platforms will allow you to set your budget for each spending category, tag transactions and then earn you when you’ve overspent. They take the legwork out of it, and should help to prevent you from having too much month left at the end of your money.
Automate everything you possibly can
Bill payments, credit card repayments, saving and investing are all things that require a lot of admin and remembering if you do them manually each month. Take the mental load off by automating as much as you can. This will also help you to avoid any late fees on repayments or falling behind on your bills.
Some autosaving apps will also help to keep saving money fun for you. With features that allow you to do saving challenges or save money according to the weather etc.
Use cashback on EVERYTHING
Cashback is becoming more and more popular as prices rise and more cashback providers flood the market. This is no surprise – it’s free money as long as you’re using it for things you’d be buying or booking anyway. You can use apps such as TopCashback, Cheddar and Jam Doughnut to earn cashback on your day-to-day transactions and then withdraw the money to a savings pot.
You could also use Airtime Rewards to earn cashback to get money off your mobile bill. Or Sprive, to earn cashback that overpays on your mortgage.
Review your contracts and subscriptions
Review your contracts and subscriptions every three to six months. Just take an hour or two to go through all of your outgoings. Check if there’s an opportunity to change or cancel some of your recurring costs. If you’re out of contract for broadband or your mobile phone, you can probably make a saving. Many of us have subscriptions we’ve been meaning to cancel for ages – just bite the bullet and get it done.
Shift your debt to 0%
Interest free balance transfers aren’t as easy to come by as they once were. But you may still be able to cut the cost of your debt by shifting your balance from an interest incurring card to a 0% one. Check your eligibility before you apply, so that you don’t get stung by a declined application, as this can make it harder to get credit. And close your existing credit card once you’ve made the transfer because it’s too easy to rack up a balance again.
Get (re)mortgage fit
With mortgage rates so much higher than they were a couple of years ago, many people will find themselves with a hefty increase in monthly repayments if they remortgage this year. First-time buyers will need to factor in the change too.
Give yourself the best chance of the best rate available. Make sure that you start working on your credit score, cut down on expenses and think about making overpayments where you possibly can.
Get on top of your loyalty points
Billions of pounds worth of customer loyalty points are sitting unused on cards in the UK*. Make 2024 the year that you round up all of your cards. Check all of your balances and commit to using them every time you shop.
Change the way you shop for groceries
For some people, a weekly shop just doesn’t work. Food ends up going off before you can use it. Or you run out of staple items and resort to expensive convenience stores. A twice-weekly shop means that you don’t have to meal plan so far in advance. Plus the food will be fresher. It also means that you have less in your fridge and cupboards, so seeing what’s available is much easier. You may find yourself spending less overall, wasting less and resorting to a takeaway less often.
If you shop online and pay monthly for a delivery pass, this change shouldn’t add any extra time or expense.
Start saving for Christmas (and other annual costs) now
Sinking funds can be super helpful if saving feels impossible because there’s “always something” eating up your extra cash. These are little pots of cash that you add to monthly for planned expenses. Examples of sinking funds could be Christmas, car maintenance and repair or car insurance. This can have the effect of smoothing out your outgoings and enabling you to budget and save better.
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