5 ways to save money in a week

We’re all aware of the saying ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ but this really rings true when it comes to the household budget.

Even if you take care to pay off credit cards in a timely fashion, shop around for the best utility providers and have a good mortgage deal, there are plenty of ways you could be overspending each week without even realising.

Here are five areas to look at where you could save money on your weekly expenditures…

1.    Grocery shopping

We all need food to live and there’s nothing wrong with a little splurge on your favourite tub of ice cream or a nice bottle of wine, but you could save money on everyday groceries.

For starters, are you shopping at the cheapest supermarket? Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s tend to price items higher than Tesco, Morrisons and Asda. It also might be worth investigating if there is an Aldi or Lidl in your locality, as these offer high quality fresh and frozen produce at a discounted cost.

Does your town have a weekly market? Purchasing fresh goods from independent traders can prove a cheaper alternative, plus it supports local businesses. As a top tip, arrive near to the end of the day as stalls often slash their prices to get rid of any remaining stock.

Before you set off for the supermarket or market, make a list of the items you need to stop you overspending. Keep a mental tally of how much you’re spending as you put items in your trolley so that you don’t get a nasty surprise at a till.

Swapping branded items for supermarket own brand equivalents is a simple way to save a few pennies. It’s also worth signing up to your store’s e-newsletter and keeping an eye on the local paper for discount vouchers.

2.    Fuel

Petrol and diesel is getting more and more expensive, however there are still ways you can inadvertently overspend when filling out your tank.

You’ll be surprised just how much fuel prices vary between garages – petrolprices.com is a great way of comparing costs before you get to the pump.

If your local supermarket has a filling station then you may well benefit from discounted fuel just by doing your weekly shop. Read your receipts to see if they include a special offer such as 5p off petrol or diesel if presented when refuelling.

3.    Don’t waste energy

Even if you’re on a competitive energy tariff, make sure you’re not using more electricity or gas than you need to. Simple changes like turning electrical appliances off rather than putting them on standby, only filling the kettle with as much water as you need rather than topping it up to the brim and not leaving the fridge or oven door open longer than necessary when cooking a meal can make significant savings.

Investing in an energy monitor (some utility providers give these away free) is an interesting way to see just how much you spend on electricity each day.

4.    Entertainment

We all like a trip to the movies, but going out each week can have a significant impact on your household outgoings. Look up when your local independent cinema offers discounted screenings or if there are any money-off vouchers online.

It might be cheaper for you to sign up to Netflix or Now TV for a small monthly fee – or even LOVEFiLM if you prefer the classic ‘renting an actual movie’ method (now that Blockbusters isn’t around anymore!).

If the pub is your weekly luxury, why not invite your friends round to your house for a wine tasting evening instead? If everyone brings a bottle you can have a pleasant evening for less than a tenner.

5.    Little extras

It’s amazing how much money we fritter away on small items during the week without even realising it. Keep a seven day diary of everything you buy – from a takeaway coffee to a packet of chewing gum – and add up the total expenditure at the end of the week. The following week, whenever you go to make a small purchase, think of that total sum and ask yourself whether you really need to buy the item in your hand.

Another way we spend money without thinking about it is online. Don’t forget to include internet purchases in your diary and make sure you keep a full track record of online expenditures when you’re calculating your monthly budget.

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