30 days of savings

by Leeds Building Society

We’re naming April 6 ISA Day, marking our ongoing mission to help everyone become a better saver. To make sure you begin the new tax year as you mean to go on – as a savvy saver – we’ve put together 30 failsafe tips for you to try out for 30 days. Give them a go and you could be surprised at how much cash you could save.

1. Switch energy providers

Don’t stick with your gas and electricity provider just because they’re familiar. Do some research and make the switch to a cheaper company and you could potentially save hundreds of pounds each year.

2. Host a swishing party

Swapping high fashion items with friends, rather than buying them new, will update your look without hammering your pocket.

3. Choose Direct Debit

Where possible, pay by Direct Debit. As well as being more convenient, this will help you avoid missing payments and attracting costly fines.

4. Let out your spare room

Depending on your living arrangements, this can be a great way to boost income either in the short-term through renting your home out whilst you're away or over a longer period with a live-in lodger.

5. Time your supermarket trips

Work out when your local superstore reduces prices on groceries and fresh produce, and make that your time to visit!

6. Use price comparison sites

Whatever you’re buying – whether it’s a new kettle, car insurance or flights to Australia – use price comparison sites to ensure you’re always getting the best value for money.

7. Get creative in the kitchen

Use your imagination when you’re cooking in order to consume foods that are close to their use-by date. Make full use of your freezer, pickle unused vegetables and turn soft fruits into delicious preserves – simply do all you can to avoid throwing out good food!

8. Bulk buy non-perishable items

If you spot the pasta your family prefers or the instant coffee that you drink every day on offer, stock up your cupboards for long-term savings.

9. Don’t pay to exercise

Gym membership and fancy workout gear can be expensive. Instead, grab your trainers and go running for free – make use of the open space near where you live!

10. Shop with a list

Making a shopping list and sticking to it can help you to resist the temptation of tasty (and expensive) treats.

11. Pay off credit card debt

Whenever you can, manage credit card debt. It’s expensive and it holds you back financially. Knowing how much you owe means you can financially plan for the future.

12. Get a water meter

Getting a water meter will measure exactly how much you flush, so you'll know just how much water you're using.

13. Set a budget

Working to a carefully considered budget is a helpful way to stay aware of what you’re spending in every area, from travel and leisure to kids’ treats and food.

14. Go pay-as-you-go

A smartphone isn’t one of life’s necessities. If you're not always glued to your mobile, having a pay-as-you-go sim card may be a more suitable option.

15. Be an early bird

Booking early can bring big savings on everything from theatre shows to train tickets. It’s just a case of planning ahead.

16. Spend time, not money

Spend time researching all big buys. Could travelling independently save you money on that big holiday? Could you purchase the kids’ Christmas presents cheaper online? Shopping around can save thousands in the long run. 

17. Use local markets, not supermarkets

Fresh fruit and veg, meat, fish and eggs can all be found at your local market. By shopping at a local store you’ll avoid being distracted by extras at the till or the many offers as you go up and down the supermarket aisles.

18. Spot free activities

There are free activities to try everywhere if you look for them. Museums, libraries, community centres and local parks are good places to start your search.

19. Give own-brands a try

On basic goods like baked beans, bread, cheddar and milk, own-brands are usually indistinguishable from leading brands, as well as being considerably more affordable.

20. De-clutter your life

Go online to sell all the unwanted junk in your home and make a tidy profit. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

21. Get crafty

As well as being cheaper, making your own cards and gifts gives them a personal touch your friends and family will appreciate.

22. Walk, don’t drive

Petrol is a huge expense for most households. Give yourself a mini workout and save on fuel by walking whenever it’s an option. 

23. Stop smoking

Smoking is an expensive habit, so quitting as soon as possible can help keep the pounds in your pocket.

24. Love your library

As well as being a brilliant place for bookworms, your local library most likely offers free internet access, talks, training and a host of other services.

25. Ask for what you want

When a friend or family member asks you what you’d like for your birthday or Christmas, don’t be shy about putting in a clear request for a gift that you know you’ll make good use of. If you do receive an unwanted gift, don’t be ashamed to pass it on to a more suitable owner – or sell it online.

26. Take your own lunch

You know you can save money by avoiding shop-bought coffees each morning, but do you know how much you could save by taking your own lunch to work?

27. Turn the pennies into pounds

Think of all the loose change that just slips down the back of the sofa from your pocket, or that you just leave rattling round in your purse and never use. Get a jar and throw all your coppers in – the savings will soon add up.

28. Pay insurance in one lump sum

If you can afford to at the time, paying your full insurance premium in one fell swoop, whether that’s your car, home or travel insurance will give you peace of mind that the bill is sorted and you can focus more on your monthly saving. 

29. Open an ISA

The interest earned on money saved in an ISA* is tax free, so open an ISA and get saving! In addition to an ISA you can take full advantage of the new Personal Savings Allowance which was introduced from 6th April 2016.

30. Shop the sales

Exercise a little patience and, rather than impulse buying everything you want, wait a while for the sales to roll around. It’s also good practice to delay purchases and give yourself a ‘cooling-off period’ whenever you’re tempted to spend over a certain threshold.

Try out a few of these great tips to save yourself a significant lump sum over the course of 30 days. Give it a go and you might just find you’ve caught the savings bug.

* Leeds Building Society only offer cash ISAs. Cash ISAs are available to individuals aged 16 and over who are resident in the UK for tax purposes.

This guide is intended as a summary only and does not constitute legal or financial advice given by Leeds Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this guide.