Top tips to pile on the pounds!
Fancy feeling richer? Then check out these tips and you'll soon have your savings account bursting at the seams.
If you're feeling a little short of cash at the moment, here are some great money-saving tips to help:
Shave those expenses
Firstly, the most obvious way to hang onto more of your cash is to spend less. And there are loads of ways you can do so.
Cigarettes: No Smoking Day has already passed this year, but that's no excuse for not giving up the death sticks anyway - if the health aspect doesn't convince you then how about the £2,420+ a year you could be saving (assuming you smoke 20 per day, with a packet of cigarettes costing £6.63). In fact, that figure could rise to as much as £156,186 when you take into account all the other savings you could make by quitting.
Food: Sounds obvious, but by writing a weekly menu and buying only the bits and pieces you need to make the meals will save you a fortune in "spur of the moment" purchases. You can find inspiration in our Frugal Recipes and don't forget to check out the latest supermarket offers in our weekly Frugal Food blog. Work out how much you normally spend per week on food and aim to cut it by a third - even a tenner saved per week is £520 over a year.
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As food prices continue to rise, here's some handy ways to keep your food bills under control.See the guide
If you have membership to wholesalers such as Costco or Makro use it to stock up on bulk purchases of toilet roll, kitchen roll and frozen goods etc (just check the prices are really cheap first).
Lunches: Just making a sandwich or bringing leftovers to heat up in the microwave for lunch (just make a bit extra for dinner each night) can save you upwards of a fiver a day - add that up over a year and that's £1,300 to be stashed away.
Alternatively, if you have a subsidised canteen at work a frugal solution can be to have big lunches and simply make yourself a sandwich at home for dinner - you'll save on shopping, cooking and washing up!
Bills: Finally don't pay for services you don't use! If you can't remember what your gym looks like, or haven't watched a Sky Movie for months, cancel them and save a fortune.
If you've got a lot of stuff hanging around the house that you never use, why not sell them so that someone else can benefit? Auction site eBay is an obvious place to turn, but it's cheaper to use Gumtree or eBid (unlike eBay you can list items for free).
Alternatively, why not get up early at the weekend, fill the car and head to a car boot sale? This is a great opportunity to have a de-clutter and sell off good quality items that you simply never use and make a few quid in the process.
Kids clothes, bikes and toys always sell well - alternatively, why not list them on specialist parenting sites such as Netmums? Read 12 top ways to make money selling old junk! for more help.
Make some money
Yes, I know, you're probably thinking you work hard enough as it is - taking on extra work would be insane. But there are ways to make some extra money that take very little effort and can be surprisingly lucrative.
Take a look around you. Do you live near a train station or airport and have a garage/driveway that you don't use? Don't let it sit there idle - there are people paying rip-off charges daily/weekly to park that would bite your hand off to use your driveway for a reasonable rent. Check out ParkAtMyHouse or Park let.
Do you have a spare room you don't use? Then why not let it using the Government's "Rent a room" scheme and make up to £4,250 tax free each year? Granted this isn't for the faint hearted, particularly if you have kids, but many people do successfully rent out rooms to foreign students for example - you could even find yourself learning a new language to boot. You can find a list of local language schools here.
And of course there's even more money to be made if you're willing to put a bit of effort in.
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If you spend most of your time when visiting your parents fixing or explaining how to use their computer, could you do the same for local novices (for a fee of course)? Could you teach a language? Or if you're good with a needle and thread could you offer a mending/alteration service?
If you always get a great price for the items you sell on eBay, utilise this skill and offer your services to others - there are loads of people who'd like to de-clutter but have neither the time nor skills to do so. If you can photograph and describe their items for them and then pop them in the post to the buyer you can charge around 30% of the sale price for your services - meaning everyone makes a few quid.
Stash that cash
Hopefully these tips have given you some inspiration on how you could save or make some extra cash. And watching this cash grow is a great motivator in itself so make sure you stash it in the right place.
Top savings accounts of the moment include the Nationwide MySave Online Plus Account which pays 3.05% on sums of £1k+. Be warned though - this includes a 12 month bonus of 1.51%, so you'll need to be prepared to move it when this time is up.
Alternatively, if you're a taxpayer and haven't already done so, use your cash ISA allowance (£5,100, rising to £5,340 on 6 April).
The AA Internet Access ISA is currently paying 3.35% (including a 12 month 1.65% bonus) on sums of £500+. That said, if you're a Santander customer, you can earn a higher rate of 3.50% with the Santander Loyalty Flexible ISA which tracks 3% above the base rate for 12 months. You can open the account with just £1.
However, you can't transfer in existing ISAs with either of these accounts. For a list of cash ISAs which do allow transfers in, read 15 top cash ISAs for transfers.
So there you have it - with a bit of effort you could save (or make) some serious cash. Give your family a goal to aim for and start piling on those pounds!