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The new year is a great time to revamp your finances and make some resolutions that you can stick to. Here are eight easy ways to save money in 2023.
1# Start planning all your meals
How can writing a meal plan save you money? Well, ten minutes each week organising your family’s meals has several benefits.
Firstly, you can ensure you use the food you already have, reducing food waste. Secondly, by doing an audit of your cupboards and writing a shopping list alongside your plan, you will only buy what you need.
You can also plan for those times when you are likely to be in a rush and be tempted by a takeaway.
For example, if you know the kids have swimming or football on a certain evening after school, you can ensure you have something quick and easy ready to go.
2# Switch or haggle
Use a comparison site to get the best deal on all of your utilities and contracts. Even if you don’t switch, you can use the data to get your current suppliers to reduce your bills to match.
Spend half a day going through everything and you could potentially save hundreds on phone bills, water bills, broadband and more.
3# Get your hair cut by a student
I love getting my hair done; it’s a real treat. However, it’s easy to spend £45 plus on a cut and blow dry.
If you want to save money in 2023, consider finding a student hairdresser to tend to your hair. You will likely pay less than a tenner or even get it for free!
Ask at some local salons to see if there is a student night. Alternatively, see if you have a college near to you running hairdressing courses.
Students need to practise on real people at some point in their training. They are very closely supervised by their tutor, so don’t worry about getting a disastrous haircut. I have always had a positive experience.
4# Cancel things you don’t use or can’t afford
Consider all of your subscriptions and be brutal about whether you use them enough to justify the cost. It’s not just gym and sports club memberships we sign up to on a whim then don’t use.
There are food and drink subscriptions, beauty boxes, TV packages, magazine subscriptions and so on to think about too.
Perhaps you can find ways to get the same things more cheaply. For example, you can get audiobooks, digital magazines and e-books through your library service for free.
5# Go SIM only
If you own your phone and are out of contract, you are likely to save a lot of money by switching to a SIM only deal.
You don’t have to upgrade your phone just because there is a shiny new model out. If your current phone works ok, keep using it! You can save a lot of money doing this.
6# Reduce the cost of your groceries
With food prices unrelentingly on the rise, the idea of reducing your food costs may seem unfathomable. However, there are ways you can reduce the cost of your groceries.
Volunteers collect from businesses at the end of the business day and list items that would otherwise be thrown away. Too Good To Go offers ‘Magic Bags’ from retailers such as Morrisons, M&S, Greggs and Costa. You pay £3.50 to £5 for your bag, which will be a lucky dip of whatever needs using first.
Secondly, make use of so-called ‘yellow stickers’ – reduced food near the end of its best before date. Retailers generally start reducing a few hours before close of business, but chat with supermarket staff to find out the best times to arrive for the bargains.
Lidl does a Too Good To Waste box for £1.50, containing around 5kg of fresh produce. I have found the best boxes arrive in my local Lidl at around 8 am but, again, chat to staff.
7# Track your spending
It may seem like a chore, but tracking your spending can be very revealing. It makes you hyper conscious of exactly where your money is going, so that you can identify areas of waste and achieve your goals around debt reduction and savings.
If your financial life feels out of control, tracking your spending allows you to feel more organised, reduces the chance of debt and relieves some of the stress you can feel when you aren’t on top of your finances.
Ignorance may be bliss in some areas of your life, but when it comes to money it pays to be aware!
You can get various apps to help you track your spending, or hang onto your receipts and do it manually once a week or so.
8# Have a no-spend month
Another way to regain control of your finances is by challenging yourself to a no-spend month. January is an excellent time to do this, when the excesses of the festive period are behind you and you want a fresh start.
Having a no-spend month means no extraneous spending. You do, of course, pay your regular bills and buy groceries, but you have a rule to buy nothing but essentials. This means that you say no to new clothing, makeup, nights out – anything that you can do without. If that sounds daunting, it really isn’t – it’s only a month!
I find that having a strict no-spend rule doesn’t just help me to rein in my spending for the period I have chosen. It encourages me to make use of the stuff I already have and focus on things that don’t cost money, like time with friends and family. This tends to have a beneficial effect for the weeks and months ahead too, as I become vigilant about my spending urges and where I waste money.
How do you plan to save money in 2023?
Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.