6 simple ways to keep costs down

Posted in: Finance Last updated: 16 Jul 2013

Many of us are tightening our belts – so keeping to a sensible budget is more important than ever. Here are six simple ways to keep your costs down.

1. Cut out non-essentials

Avoid spending money on things you don’t need. Work out what you’re spending on things like gym memberships or a phone contract. If you’re not getting your money’s worth, do the sensible thing - cancel them.

2. Food shop sensibly

Keep the costs of food shopping down by avoiding impulse buying at the supermarket.

  • Plan your meals, write a shopping list and stick to it
  • Eat before you go food shopping so you’re not tempted to buy everything you see
  • Buddy up with a friend and swap shopping lists – that way you only buy what’s on their list and won’t cheat
  • Take advantage of special offers and buy in bulk
  • Buy cheaper brands or supermarkets’ own, often you can barely taste the difference
  • Check out prices using online comparison sites

3. Eat in

Avoid eating out in expensive restaurants. There’s plenty you can do at home.

  • Dig out old recipe books and conjure up your restaurant favourites at home for half the price
  • Use leftovers to make another meal
  • Host dinner parties for friends – hopefully they’ll return the favour!

If you absolutely have to dine out, try to use discount vouchers from voucher websites.

4. Shop online

Shop online as much as possible – it’s often cheaper than on the high street.

  • Do grocery shopping on the web – you tend to be more objective about what you really want and it’s much easier to delete guilty buys
  • Use price comparison and discount voucher sites
  • Take advantage of special, online-only prices

5. Save on utilities

Shop around for things like electricity and gas. There are usually savings to be made and it’s easier to switch than you might think.

  • Check out prices on price comparison websites
  • Take advantage of give away free energy monitors – they’re a great motivator to use less energy in the home

Reduce your energy bills by:

  • Switching lights off
  • Turning down the central heating
  • Washing clothes with cold water
  • Unplugging appliances when they’re not being used

6. Don’t buy new

Avoid buying new clothes and paying full price. There are cheaper ways to get a new wardrobe.

  • Buy and sell ‘pre-loved’ items online
  • Try local car boot sales and second-hand shops
  • Go to clothes swapping or ‘swishing’ parties, or set one up yourself. You can recycle your unwanted clobber and get a whole new outfit without spending a penny

Useful websites

Money Advice Service is an independent service set up by the government to give advice on how to manage money.

National debtline is a government service offering confidential and independent help on debt over the phone or online.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial advisor about your own circumstances.