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Useful money saving tips

Collaborative post. Everyone's money saving goals may be different - saving for an emergency fund , for a dream holiday, to buy ...

Money Saving Tips
Collaborative post.

Everyone's money saving goals may be different - saving for an emergency fund, for a dream holiday, to buy a home or maybe for one's retirement - but the quicker we get into the habit of saving, the better it is. The easiest way to get started would be to record your expenses for a couple of months. Once you have an idea of what/where you spend, you can then start preparing a budget and try to streamline your expenses so that you can cut down on overspending. You could check out this budget planner from the Money Advice Service, a free tool that gives you a breakdown of your finances along with personalised tips to make the most of your money.

I have made it a habit to save regularly. It is a practice that I picked up from my mother and one that has held me in good stead. I always thank her for instilling the saving habit in me. Today, I will share with you some of my top money saving tips.

Let me begin with the cash and envelope system. This is something that I picked up from my mother. At the beginning of every month she used to put a set amount of money (based on previous budgets) in different envelopes labelling them with different categories - groceries, clothing, household items, other expenses etc. Then she used the set amount of cash for each category. Once the money ended, the budget was met and there was no extra spending. I have tweaked it a bit to suit my situation as nowadays some bills are paid online via direct debit. But for other things where cash payment can be used, I use this method and it does help discipline one's spending habits. Try it. You will be surprised at the reduced wasteful spending.

My second tip (and again this has been picked up from my mother) is to have a gift closet! Keep an eye on the sales and special offers and pick up items that you think are value for money and that would also make a thoughtful and useful gift. Of course, only do this if you have the spare/available money. Do not fall into the trap of debt purchases! Rightly done, it will be a money saver, especially if you have a large extended family or a large friends circle where you have birthdays or special occasions to attend every month.

My next tip relates to grocery shopping. I had the habit of picking up unwanted stuff during my grocery shopping visits - mostly those tempting deals that stare back at you from the supermarket aisles. But over the years, I have streamlined my grocery shopping process and have also cut down on wastage. I now plan my meals, so I go to the shops with a specific list on hand and resist the temptation to deviate from the list. Yes, I still am tempted by impulse buys and occasionally pick some up. But overall, planning things in advance and sticking to a list while shopping for groceries has been a very useful habit. It saves quite a lot of money when you look at the annual savings.

My final tip concerns OTC medications. I always go for generic drugs or store brand medications as opposed to branded drugs. For e.g. Tesco's dispersible Aspirin (a pack of 16 tablets) only costs £ 0.40 that is £0.03/each tablet! If I were to go for the branded version, it would cost me 3-4 times the price I pay for a unbranded pack. The premium is only for the brand name; the formula remains the same in both cases.

So, these are some of my tips for saving money. They may appear minor or irrelevant changes but implementing them will definitely help you save money and add to your savings fund. The fund will then come in handy for any unexpected expense or emergency.

If you have been unable to put aside enough money for unexpected situations and an emergency arises, then you could take a short-term loan from companies such as Cash Lady. But please do note that such loans usually have high interest rates. So, evaluate if you can repay on time and then take any decision on borrowing money.

And yes, if you have any other money saving tips, do share them with me.

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