Statistics show that more than half of our spending goes on four main categories – food, housing and fuel, transport and recreation. Managing your finances can be a daunting prospect so it’s important to set simple, achievable goals and not try to do everything at once.
With this in mind we’ve focussed on dining and driving. So, whether it’s fuel for your motor or your mouth – how can you save cash? Fuel efficient drivingOnce behind the wheel, get into the money-saving mindset as outlined by the Money Advice Service. Every time you tap the accelerator pedal the metaphorical meter is running. Accelerate gradually, go through the gears quickly – without stretching your engine – break slowly and plan ahead for bends in the road.
It’s also a good idea to shop around for fuel. It’s free and easy to do, just log on to Petrolprices.com. You may think the penny or two you knock off the price makes little difference but shopping around for your fuel – including taking advantage of supermarket offers – can save you hundreds of pounds a year. Also, use online route planners to make sure you’re taking the shortest route to get to A to B and keep a close eye on traffic news – you’re not just wasting time sitting in a queue, you’re wasting money too. Your car will also burn less fuel – and therefore money – if your tyres are properly inflated, you aren’t carrying around unnecessary items, you don’t use your air con too much and if you don’t fill your tank to the top, addingweight. Beyond that look at the tips in this guide, which will help you consider alternatives to using your car and help youshop around for a fuel efficient vehicle.
Food, glorious foodAnother big expense comes with the food shop. Again, get into a thrifty mindset and you’ll be able to cut the cost of this every single week. Planning ahead is important. Assess how much youspend on average and knock, for example, ten per cent off. Then come up with a list of essentials to get you through the week and don’t put any luxuries on it.
Once you get to the shop, stick to your list and keep a rough running total in your head. Tick off all the essentials and if you’re still below your spending limit then, and only then, pop treats in your trolley.
Another part of planning ahead is to think of what you can make from what’s already in your house and which dishes you can make in bulk for multiple meals. Leftovers can make a cost-effective and tasty meal – don’t throw anything away until you’ve considered its usefulness.
Limit the number of takeaways and meals out you have – stick to special occasions for these – and keep an eye on bargain buys. They’re only a bargain if you want them – don’t get sucked into snapping something up that’s notgreat value for money. Equally if something you buy every time is on offer then purchase a few weeks’ worth and save yourself money in the long run. Whether it’s fuel for your vehicle or yourself your mindset is vital. Consider every penny you spend, question whether it’s worthwhile and tweak your habits and you’ll soon cut down on your outgoings.