5 simple tips that can help tighten the purse strings

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At this time, many of us are looking for new ways to save or budget.

Whether your business has been forced to close, you’ve been furloughed, you can’t work due to health reasons, or you just want to use this time to build up your savings, we’re here to offer some tips on how to make your money go further during this period of uncertainty.

With so many spending options already out-of-reach, generic budgeting advice isn’t necessarily helpful. That’s why we’ve rounded up our five top tips on how to save money while social distancing restrictions remain in place.

 

Pause or cancel TV subscriptions

When you’re at home, watching TV is a great way to keep yourself entertained. But it can be expensive - especially if you’re paying for something you’re not using.

A simple way to save money on your entertainment bills is by freezing any sports subscriptions. Sky allowed its subscribers to pause until the action resumed and BT is giving its users at least two months’ credit on their account if they apply for a rebate. If you subscribe via a different supplier, it’s worth checking their policy to see if you can receive a refund.

Another way to save is to review all of your other TV subscriptions. Although streaming services may seem good value individually, the collective cost soon mounts up if you have several subscriptions. If you have multiple accounts, it’s a good idea to make a “playlist” for each service. You can then analyse which ones are no longer worth the money, and cancel to save money. If your TV tastes change, you can always subscribe later.

Review other subscriptions and utility bills

Now is a good time to review all of your subscriptions and regular bills - not just TV.

There may be some subscriptions you’ve stopped during the period of lockdown. For instance, if commuting is when you usually listen to music or audiobooks, you might consider cancelling your Spotify or Audible subscriptions.

Remember to also check that you’re not paying out for a service you can’t use, such as a gym membership. Although many businesses who were forced to close froze payments, this may not have happened automatically. If you are still being charged, contact your provider.

Something which is always a good idea to do is to check that you’re paying a fair amount for your general bills and utilities. You can do this by using comparison sites to find cheaper quotes than what you’re currently paying.

Although many people stay with the same utilities for years because of the ‘hassle’ of switching, investing time into this can pay off in the long run. And when you’re limited in the other ways you can spend your free time, it’s less tempting to procrastinate. Plus, with tools such as the automatic energy switcher Lookaftermybills.com, it’s not as difficult as you may think.

You should also look at other regular outgoings, such as loan and credit repayments. Consolidating multiple loans and / or credit bills could save you money. If you’re interested in finding out more about how this works, check out our Debt Consolidation Loans.

Revise your budget

Even if you already have a budget in place, it’s worth revisiting as expenses will likely have changed.

For example, if you normally allocate money for travel or meals out, an emergency budget can help you see where that money can be distributed to.

You can put a plan together with Money Advice Service’s free budgeting tool.

Also, some other great free budgeting apps are Cleo and Plum.

 

Resist the temptation of online shopping

Although online shopping can be very helpful at a time when you can’t easily access or don’t want to visit brick-and-mortar locations, it can also be a huge temptation. Buying things online may be one way to pass the time - but it comes at a cost.

Are you buying because you want that specific item? Or are you just buying out of boredom?

Of course, there are some things that we can order to our homes that can make life during this period more comfortable. And, once you’ve budgeted, you can weigh up what you can afford. However, ordering excessive purchases online could start a dangerous over-spending spiral.

 

Planning ahead

Government restrictions have meant many of us have unintentionally saved money as we couldn’t go out and spend as we would normally. Luxury items such as days out and takeaway coffees are no longer in our outgoings as much as they used to be. Now could be a good opportunity to start putting this money aside into dedicated savings. Or you can also use this time to assess how your current savings are performing.

If you need to sort your finances out because you’ve been affected by Coronavirus there are a number of helpful websites you can use including the Money Advice Service or Citizens Advice.

If you’ve taken out finance and you’re worried you won’t be able to meet the repayments in the short-term due to Coronavirus, make sure you get in touch with your bank or lender immediately so that they are aware of the situation. The sooner you get in touch, the more they can try to help you.

If you’re one of our customers and have concerns about the impact Coronavirus could have on your finances visit our Coronavirus support page.

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