Happy New Year!
With the new year off to a start, many people are looking to tighten their belts after seeing through what is the most expensive time of year for most.
Saving money is easier said than done when you consider the rising costs of just about everything these days. Whether it’s the price of your food shopping, car insurance or mortgage there always seems to be something that costs more than it did this time last year.
For anyone who is serious about getting out of debt or building that all important financial safety net, the key is to reduce spending wherever possible. There are a number of ways to do this, some more painful than others. Here is a list of items that you shouldn’t be shelling out for if you’re serious about keeping your money where it belongs – in your wallet.
What originally started as an affordable way of making sure that you get the longest possible life from your kitchen appliances has now become a goldmine for companies that choose to offer them. It seems as though you can’t buy anything nowadays without being offered an extended warranty of some description – which means that it is clearly profitable for retailers. It used to make sense when our appliances and gadgets were a lot more expensive, but nowadays it seems like a complete waste of money to pay £10 per month to protect a £200 washing machine – especially when you consider that you usually have to pay a hefty excess in the event that it does break down during the warranty period. Most electrical items come with a 1 year warranty as standard anyway, and if the washing machine in the above example lasts just 12 months longer than that then you’re already saving money by not ticking the box for the extended warranty.
Similar to extended warranties, gadget insurance is another very profitable line for many companies out there. If you do not make a claim then you are effectively paying for your insured gadget twice over a timespan of two or three years. The next time you find yourself pondering whether to protect your iPad or Beats headphones, ask yourself this question: “If I can’t afford to replace it in the unlikely even that it is accidentally damaged, should I really have bought it in the first place?”
We are fortunate enough to live in a country where everyone has access to clean and safe drinking water for very little cost. Yet supermarkets sell millions of gallons of bottled water every single year – sometimes costing as much as £2 per litre, which is almost 2,000 times more expensive than the water from your tap! Don’t waste your money. If you don’t like the taste of the tap water where you live, then you should consider purchasing a water filter. If you regularly drink bottled water then a water filter would pay for itself in a reasonably short space of time.
The year is 2017 and therefore nobody should be paying to send a text message on their mobile phone or smartphone. Apart from the fact that virtually all smart phone tariffs include a generous amount of free text messages each month, there are also other completely free alternatives to text messaging such as Whatsapp. You can even take this a step further and not pay for mobile data plans either. There are hundreds of thousands of free wifi-spots throughout the UK including your own wireless router at home – so why pay extra to access the internet while you’re travelling between these locations?
Household Repairs and Maintenance Services
If you have a leaking tap or a door that doesn’t sit right on its hinges then consider tackling the job yourself before paying someone else to do it for you. The majority of household maintenance tasks can be completed with the most basic of knowledge, and the cost of paying someone to do it easily outweighs the cost of buying the materials required to do it yourself. If you do get stuck then there is no shortage of how-to videos on the internet. It’s important to know your limits and when to call a professional though – as some mistakes can be very expensive.
Landline Phone Calls
We are now approaching an age when the trusty home phone is becoming obsolete as it has been completely replaced by mobile phones and smartphones. Those who speak to friends or relatives frequently on their landline because it’s cheaper than using their mobile phone should seriously consider using a free alternative such as Skype, which allows you to talk to anybody in the world for free. All you both need is an internet connection.
Interest rates may be at an all-time low at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it should cost you money to have a bank account. If you’re paying a monthly fee that isn’t being swallowed up by other benefits such as cashback or free insurance products (that you’ll actually use) then you should be moving your custom elsewhere instead of making your current bank richer.
The average satellite or cable TV bill in the UK is over £38 per month, which is almost double that of just 10 years ago. When you consider that there are plenty of free or low-cost alternatives such as Freeview, Freesat, top-up TV or scores of online streaming services, it seems rather odd that we’re paying almost £500 per year to be carpet bombed with car crash TV and advertisements for fitness products when our time could be better spent with friends and family, or actually getting fit.
If you have just pulled the plug on your satellite or cable TV provider, then don’t be tempted to waste your extra money on a gym membership. Exercise can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, and if you’re looking to save money then you will want it to be free. There are millions of fitness routines, workout programs and other resources online that don’t cost a penny. Any equipment that you feel you may need can be purchased for the equivalent cost of a single monthly payment for a gym membership. Don’t forget to use websites such as eBay and Gumtree to find mountains of nearly new and hardly used fitness equipment near you.
If you don’t need to borrow money for anything then it doesn’t matter how good your credit rating is. And if you’re serious about saving money then the only form of borrowing that you should even be considering is a mortgage. Even then, you shouldn’t have to pay to see your credit report. There are plenty of credit agencies out there who offer a free credit report in exchange for being able to bombard you with advertisements for loans and other financial services that make them money. Even the credit agencies that charge a monthly fee to show you your report often have free trials so it’s well worth taking them up on their offer, as long as you remember to cancel before the trial period comes to an end.
So there you have it, ten things that you shouldn’t really be paying for if you’re serious about saving money. By refusing to pay for any of the above you can effectively save yourself hundreds or even thousands of pounds every year, which means that you’ll have more money left to spend on the things in life that you want to do.