Given the inflationary nightmares of 2022, it comes as no surprise that saving money is on everyone’s mind as the new year begins. Rising interest rates, an increase in the cost of food and energy, higher taxes, and a fall in real wages made for an extremely miserable year – with the average household thousands of pounds worse off than the previous year.
I’d love to say that financial pressures will ease this year for UK households, but unfortunately, I can’t see that happening – in my view, things are going to get worse in 2023 before they get better.
But there is a glimmer of hope – new research has found that millions of Brits have chosen to sort out their finances as part of their New Year resolutions this January in an effort to fight back against the cost-of-living crisis.
If your New Year’s resolution is to save more money, here are six simple tips to get you started.
Review your subscriptions
From meal kit deliveries to entertainment platforms, subscriptions are taking up more and more of households’ disposable income. Signing up for a new subscription service is easy... Cancelling (or remembering to cancel) a subscription service when you no longer want or need it, is not so simple.
Let’s say you have subscriptions for Strava (£4.58 per month), Tinder Gold (£11.92 per month), and Amazon Prime (£8.99 per month) – you could save over £300 each year by cancelling your subscription.
Know when your contracts auto-renew
Despite UK households facing the biggest cost-of-living squeeze for a generation, some providers continue to use crafty comms and sneaky pricing tactics to keep customers paying over the odds for their contracts.
Whether it’s using headlines about inflation to increase prices, offering free trials that auto-convert to paid plans, or renewing people onto more expensive plans, it’s an unfortunate reality that some providers aren’t always well-behaved.
My firm at Nous reminds you when your contracts are up for renewal, and sends helpful reminders before your contracts end – so you don’t automatically roll onto something more expensive. This gives you the time to look for better deals and haggle with your existing providers, a surefire way of slashing your bills.
We all know that food doesn’t cost what it used to. Annual food inflation jumped to 13.3 per cent in December, up from 12.4 per cent in November – with fresh food items costing up to 15 per cent more than this time last year.
With a typical household spending around 15 per cent of their expenditure on food, making small changes to the way you shop can make a big difference. If you haven’t already, swapping to budget supermarkets and choosing own-brand products will help you cut costs. In December, sales of stores’ own-branded goods increased by 13.3 per cent showing a trend for people ditching brands in favour of cheaper own-label products.
If you opted for Lidl’s Newgate baked beans, Aldi’s The Juice Company Smooth Orange Juice, Aldi’s Harvest Morn Honey Nut Crunchy Cornflakes, Lidl’s Mister Choc Crunchy Peanut Butter, Lidl’s Choco Nussa Spread (like Nutella) and Aldi’s Grandessa Mighty Yeast Extract (Marmite) instead of the big, branded versions you could save nearly £250 over the year. Even if it requires a little more planning or slightly longer journey to get to one of these stores, it could be well worth the savings in the long run.
Switch it off
Do you leave the lights on when no one is home? A typical household could save £25 per year by turning lights off when they leave a room, according to data from The Energy Savings Trust. You may be quick to note that this isn’t an enormous saving, but every little helps.
The Energy Saving Trust also believes that turning appliances off standby saves around £65. Apply that to a tech-savvy family of four, and you could see savings of up to £250 a year.
Get energy smart
After a cold snap, we’ve experienced unusually warm temperatures this winter, and yet despite this energy bills are far higher than previous years because the unit cost of energy has increased so much.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to get energy smart. There are a number of things you can do to save on your energy bill but one of the most effective things you can do is to turn your thermostat down by one degree. Doing this can take up to five per cent off your energy bill, which the Energy Saving Trust estimates can help a typical household save around £145 a year. Another is digging out that forgotten device (an In Home Display (IHD)) they gave you when you had your smart metre fitted.
Think about your water usage
Water is often forgotten when you think of household bills, but being mindful of how much you use and how you use it is a great way to save money.
Taking shorter showers is one way to cut costs – research shows that keeping your showers to four minutes could save a typical household £95 a year. Washing your clothes at a lower temperature (e.g from 40°C to 30°C) can also cut costs, with experts estimating you’ll get three washes for the price of two.
Let’s face it, 2023 won’t be an easy year on the home front, but getting on top of your finances, making a plan, and deciding which small changes you’re going to make is the best way to fight back against the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.