Top 5 tips to cut your costs

The cost of living seems to get a lot more expensive as the years go by. We all have to pay taxes, bills and rent/mortgage, so our monthly income needs to stretch just that little bit further.

Here are my top five tips for cutting your costs:

1. Clear your debt

While adverts about high interest rate ISAs are dominating the TV and you may be thinking you should save a little each month for a rainy day, take a step back and look at your finances first.

Saving is commendable but pointless if you have debt that is occurring interest each month. Credit card interest rates can range from 15.9% to 49.9% APR. Your main priority should be to clear any debt you have or balance transfer to an interest free card so that you avoid making those nasty interest payments each month.

2. Review that mobile phone contract

Getting a new phone or “free gift” laptop, tablet or games console is exciting but once that buzz has wore off you could be left with an extremely long contract at a high monthly fee.

Before signing up to a contract always check that it wouldn’t be cheaper to buy your phone outright and get a sim-only deal instead. Once you have your contract make sure you aren’t automatically signed up for any extras you don’t need and you know your contract limits. Once you contract is up for renewal don’t simply let it roll over each month – shop around the market and negotiate with your current provider for a better deal. Consider going PAYG if you don’t use your phone that much and you could save hundreds per year.

If you’re getting a new phone to replace the old one consider selling it for cash or vouchers – or even trade it in with your mobile provider for a new one.

3. Be supermarket smart

It is easy to overspend each week on the food shop, but spending less and keeping to a budget can be easy if you keep to a few simple rules. It always pays to make a list of items you need before you leave the house, and never shop on an empty stomach, but the main area you can save is with the actual items you buy. Try substituting some of your basics for supermarket own brands on items like milk, bread and washing up liquid. Supermarkets tend to put the most expensive items on the middle shelf so look above and below for better prices as well as those BOGOF deals on items that you actually use!

4. Review your media package

There are many fantastic package deals now for TV, broadband and phone but are you actually using your subscription to the full? With those added box set, film and sports packages you could be paying up to £100 per month! Sit down and review your habits – do you actually use your full packages and is it worth the cost. You may be tied into a minimum contract but if you aren’t and are looking to save costs call your provider today to downgrade.

5. Shop for the best deal

Whatever you are looking for, whether it is your next holiday or you’re just ordering a Friday night pizza, make sure that you are getting value for money by shopping around and using a voucher. There are hundreds of discount vouchers on the interest for an endless list of retailers – visit websites like vouchercodes.co.uk and save significant amounts of money on things you were planning to buy anyway!

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