You hear me moan about bein' rather skint all the time and I bet that by now you must be asking - is she actually doin' something with it or is she just gonna constantly moan about leading a poor post-student life?! Well - surprise surprise - I am! I've actually started doin' loads to improve my state of poorness & thought that sharing a few of my tips might help some other poories out there. This list of money saving tips is obviously not exhaustive, but it covers some of the main things I've came up with - from considering different options for LTSB current accounts to raiding your local charity shop.
- Loyalty cards: I know, I know - the typical 'save money' advice. But! Not only that you can get standard loyalty cards from Boots, Superdrug, Tesco etc. You can also get loyalty cards in places such as BoBo! (the best place for bubble tea in Birmingham!), which is definitely worth getting because bubble tea is quite an expensive fun, and getting a free one eventually is quite a win!
- Supermarket saving up schemes: Pretty much all supermarkets offer some sort of saving up schemes. Asda, for instance, gives you a Christmas Saving Card. Every time you shop in Asda you can put a pound (or more) on your saving card and when Christmas comes, they add a few more quid onto it for your efforts and you can do your Christmas shopping without worrying you won't have enough money left for it!
- Paypal account: Paypal is an essential for online shoppers. I don't even have to stress this, do I? What you may not know is that Paypal offers you an access card. You can apply for this for free & it's basically a Mastercard which allows you to take out your Paypal money from an ATM, pay online for payments that do not offer Paypal option as such and also pay in shops. This is really useful for people who sell on E-bay a lot, because it makes Paypal money REAL money!
- Multiple bank accounts: This might not be such an obvious one, but it's worth to have a few bank accounts rather than just one. It does not necessarily mean you have to have a savings account (although that's always a good thing to have!), you can just have a number of different current accounts. Not only that it can improve your credit ratings, but it's useful for a number of reasons. It's easier to monitor your money - you can have an account for all your bills (useful for those who have control issues - & go over their spending limit before paying all the bills off), you can have an account where you put your extra money at the end of the month, you can have an account for saving for the special thing you want to buy, there are no limits. And one final piece of advice - compare bank accounts effectively, you don't want to end up paying a £20 monthly fee for running your 'for my new shoes' account, do ya? Lloyds TSB is quite a good one for free current accounts!
- Cinema tickets: Orange Wednesdays has become common knowledge, as far as I know, however what can you do when you're not on Orange? Well, you can either beg your friends (or people on Twitter) to resend you the code or you can get a cinema loyalty card! Showcase Cinemas are a brilliant example of this - their Insider card not only gets you 2 for 1 on some movies, but it also gets you to the cinema for just a fiver on selected days. Now even singles can get into cinema for cheaper, ha!
- Attractions & days out: Everyone loves days out and trips, especially when the weather is so nice like today! Sometimes these trips are rather spontaneous- but let me tell you, it's worth gettin' ready in advance! A simple search on websites such as Visit Heart of England can get you deals like 50% or 2 for 1 on tickets to even rather expensive attractions! If worst comes to worst & you don't have the time to search for these offers online, always check the train station (they usually stock 2 for 1 booklets) or the local information centre!
- Train tickets: Not many people are aware that you can get an open return ticket. This ticket allows you travel from A to B (within 3 days of buying the ticket) & back (within a month of buying the ticket). It usually works out only a few pence more expensive than your standard return and it allows you to travel both ways for a few days for cheaper than it would with a pass or single tickets, yay!
- Check your bills carefully: This might be obvious for some, but it somehow wasn't for me & I lost a lot of money this way. After half a year living in my first flat I realized that I possibly can't be spending as much on my bills as everyone was trying to charge me (from my electricity supplier to Sky). So I checked all my accounts & statements and turns out I was over paying on most of them. The reasons being from silly like a glitch in a payment set-up to my neighbour growing a weed plantation in his living room & supplying my electricity to do so.
- Check your payslips carefully: It took me half a year (too!) to realize that I was over paying on my taxes. Oh wells. I did not realize that my previous employer has not supplied the right tax code and therefore I was issued an emergency one. So instead of being taxed about £150, I was being taxed £350. Just brilliant, innit! This is easily sorted by poppin' into your local HMRevenue office or writing them a brief letter explaining your situation.
- Independent stores: Stores you might not even know about (usually the independent ones) may offer pretty things (or even things you need) for cheaper (or more expensive!) than chains. It might be worthwhile to walk around your town/city & check out some of these little stores & compare prices - Birmingham has got its own little Independent shopping booklet (which you can pick up at the info centre *hint hint*).
- Buyin' a piggy bank: Just get a little piggy bank and chuck all your pennies in at the end of the day. It's an uber simple step, but you can get quite a lot of money out of it - last time I put all my pennies together I got a whole tenner back! *win*
How do you save up money?