Many of us would like to have some extra savings but it can be tricky to work out how to get them. We all have spending commitments, whether it is providing for our family, repaying student loans or other loans, paying rent, insurance, contracts, utilities and other necessities. It can therefore be difficult to see how we might be able to find enough money so that we can afford to put more into our savings. There are a few things that we can do though.

  • Repay loans– this may seem an off thing to do, but if you want long-term savings then this can help. If you want to boost your savings short term, then this will have the opposite effect though. Loans al cost money in interest and the quicker they can be repaid, the less interest you will pay. So, if you repay the loan, you will then have more money available, as you will no longer be paying interest, that you will be able to put into a savings account. You do need to be careful though as it may not be worth doing this on loans which have lower interest rates than you can get on your savings or loans which have fees for repaying early. So, make sure that you do some calculations first and work out whether it really is worth it.
  • Compare prices – it sounds really obvious but there are many people that do not look at prices very much. It is so easy just to buy what we need and want and not really think about how much those items will cost. Once we get into the habit of shopping in certain places or buying certain things we can often not think to really compare the prices with other stores. It is wise to compare prices on everything that you buy. This can take time, but you can start to find that you will start to save money immediately. It can be good to look at the things you spend the most money on first as you have the most opportunity to save on those, but even if you save a few dollars here and there, it will all add up and make a difference.
  • Buy less unnecessary items – It is really important to make sure that you do not buy more items than you really need. It often feels like we need lots of things, but when we actually carefully think about everything we may not. It can be wise to ask yourself the question as to whether you really need something every time you are about to buy it and this will allow you to make a better decision. It might be that you are just buying it out of habit rather than need or that you could go without it so that you will be able to save some more money. There are also situations where we might set a budget – perhaps such as buying birthday gifts and that we need to reduce that budget a bit so that we can put money into our savings account. It might feel mean, but it will give you a buffer and a sense of security and could even help to prevent you having to get an emergency loan in the future. If you are a savvy shopper, they may not even notice any difference as you may be able to get fantastic gifts in the sales if you plan ahead well.
  • Earn more – this is obviously something very easy to say and much harder to put into practice. However, there are things that we could all try in order to earn more. If we have a job then we could see if we could work more hours, do overtime or try for a promotion. We could even look for a better paid job elsewhere. If we are happy where we are or have no job then we could look for additional work. It might be that you could pick up some days at weekends or during evenings or any other time which will fit around your current job or your family life. Another possibility is working from home. There are lots of things that you could do online which could help you such as selling things you no longer want or need, finding some online work or things like that. It is good to research what opportunities are available and consider what you might be able to do based on the skills that you have. It might be that you will have fun getting paid for doing some questionnaires, you want to deliver leaflets or newspapers and get paid for that or that you want to start a social media channel and earn through advertising. There are many things you could try and it is just a matter of finding the one which suits you.

When we are shopping for food, we tend to spend a lot of money. It can even seem like we are spending more and more every time we shop and we may wonder whether we will be able to manage all of our other commitments such as rent, insurance, loan repayments and transport as well as buying food. However, there are ways that we can cut down on the cost of our groceries. It may take a little time to do a bit of research but once we start getting into different habits, it can be easy to spend less.

Shop at a cheaper store
Different grocery store chains do vary in how much they charge for their groceries. This means that if you change the store that you shop at, then you could save money. It can be worth looking at the prices of certain items in different stores and you will be able to see whether you can switch to shopping elsewhere and save a lot of money. We tend to be loyal to a particular store and so it can be hard to change. Of course, it may be that you have little choice depending on which stores are near to where you live. However, do look into your options as it could make a significant difference.

Compare prices
When you are in a store it is worth comparing prices between things. It is quite easy to compare the difference between different types of zucchinis, for example looking at the difference between organic and non-organic, packaged and loose or baby and large ones. However, it is worth also comparing the pre-prepared with whole ones, fresh with frozen and things like this. It might mean going to different parts of the store, but it can be interesting. Pre-prepared tends to be dearer, loose can be dearer than packaged and frozen might be cheaper than fresh. It may vary between different supermarkets and different products. Also look at alternatives, as you will find things like seasonal fruit and vegetables will be cheaper or certain cuts of meat will be cheaper than others. It is good to try to expand what you are buying so that you can save money.

Buy less processed foods
The more processed the food, often, the more expensive it is. This does not apply to everything, but it should be cheaper to prepare your own food in many cases, then to buy it prepared for you. Check the prices of cut carrots, compared with whole ones and prepared stir fry vegetables compared with the single ones and consider whether you would be happy to do a bit more preparation and save money. It can be very convenient to buy processed and prepared foods and they can taste really good, but often they are not that healthy for us. It is worth considering whether you would rather change how you shop and save money but spend more time in the kitchen or whether you are happy to spend that extra money for the convenience of not spending so long in the kitchen.

Be careful with reduced items
Reduced items can be very tempting. We can look at them and feel like we should be buying them because they will save us money. However, this may not be the case. If you are buying them in addition to what you normally buy, you will actually be spending more money. If you have to buy in bulk to save money, the food may not get eaten in time and may be wasted. Obviously, if the things you normally buy or need are reduced then you can do well and save money but just be really careful about buying things that you do not need and spending more money.

Take a list and stick to it
It sounds simple but if you take a list with you and just buy what is on it, then this helps. Go through your fridge and larder at home and note down what you are running out of and need to replace. Also think about what meals you will be cooking between shops and consider what you will need for those. It is best to either plan really well and make sure you only buy what you need for those meals or when you are cooking, keep checking what you have and make sure that you use everything up before it goes off.

These steps can be taken up all at once and you could save quite a chunk of money. Alternatively, you could try one at a time to make it easier to adjust. You may find that you already do some of them already, but it is worth checking them again to be sure they are working. For example, you might think you are shopping in the cheapest store and buying the cheapest things but prices change and it may be that they are no longer the cheapest. Comparing priced does get easier too and can soon become a habit that is easy to stick to.