Living costs seem to be on the increase by the month, along with the increase in mortgage costs, petrol prices and the decrease of disposable income, so now is the perfect time to start pulling on your purse strings. But tightening up your outgoings does not mean that you will have to compromise on your standard of living, infact it is those little changes which can often produce the biggest effects.

Reduce Your Food Costs
As supermarkets have grown bigger and become a greater part of our everyday lives there is the temptation to use them far too much and spend far too much in the process. Below are a few tips in helping you to save:

  • Write yourself a shopping list – These days it is so tempted to go into your local supermarket and start piling things into your trolley, and supermarkets are designed for you to do this. Writing a shopping list and adding things as you go along (perhaps sticking it onto the fridge where the whole family can see it) is a great way to make sure you don’t overspend. Just make sure that you take the shopping list with you and stick to it. Also never shop on an empty stomach as chances are the shopping list will go right out of the window.
  • Shop Online – If the temptation of the BOGOF’s are too much for you then you need to stay away from the supermarket altogether! The best thing to do is shop online, as you are more likely to buy only what you need and many of the special offers that you really want are online as well. It is also the perfect way to avoid the manic queues and screaming children!
  • Use your coupons – Loyalty cards are designed to make you shop only at one store so you can “get your points”, and there are advantages of doing this. Along with your main savings vouchers there are usually smaller ones but these will come in great use as they are targeted through what you regularly buy.
  • Shop locally – This is great news for your local community and if you live local to your town centre then there won’t be any petrol costs as you can walk!

Reduce Your Vices
We all have our vices, and we all deserve to treat ourselves once in a while. But if you are looking to save yourself some money then those guilty pleasures can be where you spend the most money.

  • Lottery – From lucky dips to those regular numbers that you have to put on twice a week, it is easy to see how it can soon add up. Perhaps just stick to your ‘lucky’ numbers and just put that line on twice a week, or for the main lottery. You are guaranteed to save yourself £100’s as opposed to the teeny tiny chance of winning the millions!
  • Smoking – Everyone is aware of the health implications that come along with smoking, and due to the recent ban it is also becoming less of a social pastime. The average smoker spends over £1500 a year, a great reason to quit.
  • Drinking – For many of us, there is nothing better than a small tipple on a Friday night after a long week at work, and this is fine as long as that doesn’t turn into Saturday night, Sunday night etc. Look out for any special offers and remember to drink at home rather than pay inflated prices at your local.