You’ve shopped around for the best deals on your energy, mobile phone and insurances. You’ve cancelled the gym membership that you no longer use and embraced Netflix instead of Sky. You’ve started meal planning, couponing and buying food in bulk to save cash.
You’ve even downgraded your pet insurance to the most basic level. (Taking things one step too far perhaps?)
If you’ve already made as many cutbacks to your budget as much as you can, what other changes could you possibly make in order to save even further without giving up food, warmth and other basic human rights altogether?
Well, there are still a few more tricks to put up your sleeve when it comes to saving cash. This post is for anyone who’s looking for even more clever ways to save money, without having to sacrifice anything else. Without further ado…
5 clever ways to save even more money
1. Pay annually for insurance premiums
Car insurance, life insurance, pet insurance, home insurance (basically, most insurances) come with interest attached if you decide to do the usual thing and pay monthly. If you pay upfront for the year, you can save quite a bit of money that way.
Now I know the whole point of taking the monthly payment option is because paying for the policy in one lump sum is downright expensive and budgeting monthly for it really helps. And you’re probably wondering, how are you supposed to find the cash upfront when you’re meant to be saving cash?
If you have the cash to pay in advance, great. But if not, what you can do this year is open a separate bank account and start to siphon off a little money when you can into that account month by month, ready for next year’s policy renewals. Depending on how much you can save, you could be in a position next year to pay some or all of your policies upfront.
The following year after that, you can make monthly payments equivalent to the annual cost of your policies without interest into that separate account. You’ll be able to spread the cost in advance with not a hint of interest to be seen.
2. Change your bank account to one that actually pays YOU
I’ve just done this and could kick myself for not doing this sooner. My bank account is currently paying me £40 per month just for banking with them! (I have the Santander 123 account by the way which earns me 3% interest on my balance and up to 3% cashback on regular household bills.)
I’ll write another post on that soon but for now, for those of you that are using bank accounts that are doing diddly squat for you, or worse – involve you paying a fee to them, this could be a good time to switch.
Switching bank accounts is all very easy these days. Most banks will do it for you and pay you a sign up bonus or monthly cash back. If you’re not sure which bank account to choose, UK readers might want to check out this handy Best Bank Accounts guide which is always being updated from Money Saving Expert.
The best thing about switching banks to earn money, is that you don’t have to make a lot of effort other than a couple of phone calls – and you don’t have to spend additional money to receive money via cashback either.
Whilst we’re on the subject of bank accounts, check that your savings are working for you. Interest rates change all the time so it’s worth checking out the best deals on savings accounts every few months.
3. Check whether you’re owed any money that has been wrongfully taken from you
If you live in the UK, you may be sick to death of hearing about PPI claims, but if you haven’t claimed already, you really should look into it. We had a successful claim a couple of years ago, which injected a huge £10K into our savings, which we then promptly used to pay off a large chunk of debt.
If you’re not sure how to claim PPI, check out my post on how to claim PPI yourself (thus saving yourself the expense of using a claims company).
If you’ve already claimed PPI, what about about claiming for bank charges? Has your bank charged you extortionately for missed payments or for going over your overdraft limit? Or have you been mis-sold a packaged bank account in the past – one that had insurance policies attached that you don’t actually need?
Another way that UK readers can potentially claw back some money is by checking whether you’re in the wrong council tax band or whether you’re entitled to any tax credits or other government benefits.
If you don’t live in the UK, check out your country’s position on whether you’re owed a tax rebate or whether you’re due any state entitlements.
4. Use cashback sites when you purchase online
There’s no doubt that cashback sites are useful, if you like shopping online. I don’t mention them much on my blog because I don’t use them all that often – I don’t regularly shop online because I prefer to save rather than spend money in the first place.
With that said, there are some things that I do HAVE to pay out for, whether I like it or not. Utilities, insurances, broadband and all those sorts of things. My landlord insurance was recently up for renewal so I decided to test out Top Cashback (referral link), one of the UK’s biggest cashback sites. I couldn’t believe it when I found a deal that would give me a whopping £89.25 cashback on a policy with Direct Line.
Without the cashback, the policy would have been cheaper than my renewal with my existing provider (£164 per year compared to the £192 renewal). However, when I took into account how much cashback I’d be getting, this offset my annual policy to £74 for the year for a comprehensive level of cover. Now that is CHEAP!
Another cashback site I like to use, which doesn’t involve me doing anything out of the ordinary is Swagbucks (referral link). You can redeem swagbucks points for PayPal vouchers, cinema tickets, amazon vouchers, restaurant vouchers and much more.
You can earn swagbucks points by doing surveys, making online purchases at a number of retailers and simply by searching the web. I only really use Swagbucks for searching the internet myself and I’ve automated the process so that Swagbucks is my default search engine. It’s so easy to rack up points without even thinking about it!
With Swagbucks, you’ll need a lot of them before you can redeem anything. For example, you need around 2,000 swagbucks points for a £10 voucher and around 18,000 for a £100 voucher. However! This is a great way to start saving for Christmas for example and something you can do right now.
US readers may also want to check out Ebates, My Points and Quick Rewards as other potential cashback site options to use.
5. Drive more efficiently
If you drive a car, you could save an average of 10% on your fuel bills per WEEK if you drive more efficiently, according to research from the AA. That can add up to quite a bit per month! Driving efficiently isn’t just about taking your foot off the gas and avoiding unnecessary braking – there are several things you can do, which all lead to better driving and therefore cheaper fuel bills.
For example, making sure that your car is properly maintained throughout the year will help e.g. checking tyre pressures regularly. Planning your journey before you set off to avoid unnecessary stops (or getting lost) and making sure your car isn’t using extra fuel by having a lot of weight in the boot will also help. Smoother driving, keeping your car rolling rather than stopping, decelerating slowing and changing up a gear before labouring the engine will all do wonders to increase fuel efficiency.
Save more money this year
When you’ve already made cut backs to your budget, it’s tricky to find anywhere else to squeeze money from, without making even more sacrifices. However, sometimes it’s worth looking at the ways in which we already do things to see whether easy savings can be made by doing them differently.
I hope this post has given you some ideas to help you claw back some cash! If you’re looking for even more ideas, why not follow my Pinterest board: Saving Money / Frugal Living?
Can you think of any other ways to save which don’t involve trying too hard? Feel free to add them in the comments below!
*My referral links to the cashback sites I use have been included in this post which means that I’ll earn a small bonus if you sign up and start earning cashback too. Any earnings help me to keep this site up and running, so please use my links if you are able to. Thank you!