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Last week I published a post on how house sharing actually saved me over £4,000 in one year. It got me thinking – what other things can we do every year to save money?
We’d all love to be able to get richer every year by getting a promotion or hitting major success with a side hustle, but in reality, the quickest way to make that extra money is to find it in your current budget.
When thinking about how to get rich, many people don’t realise that the money they’re after is already in their budget!
Make these easy changes today, and focus on the long-game of building a successful business that will grow your income.
I’ve done some digging and come up with these simple changes you could make today and save over £9,500 (~$12,000) this year – seriously! These are all just simple, everyday changes you can make to your lifestyle now – no crazy money-making schemes or get-quick-rich programs – just practical budget hacks that really make a difference.
How to Get Rich By Saving an Extra £9500 This Year
1) Change Phone Plans
The average phone contract is about £30 a month for 24 months, and let’s say you get the typical deal of unlimited texts, minutes and 2GB data per month.
How many of you ever go over that data limit? Who really needs unlimited texts when Whatsapp exists?
Very few of us.
When my phone contract expired in January I switched to a free pay-as-you-go sim card and topped up £10. By relying on the free wifi that pretty much every public building has these days, that £10 lasted me two months.
Give it a try. You’ll save hundreds in the long-term, and as an extra bonus you might spend a little less time on your phone – something I think many of us are in need of!
(P.S. If you’re in the UK, you can recycle your old phones with EE right now and get a cash reward! Bonus!)
Total Savings per Year: £300 ($400)
2) Ditch the TV
When I lived in a house (and not out of a backpack!), we paid £32/month for a subscription to Virgin TV and out of the hundreds of channels that were available, I watched maybe 5 of them, tops.
I know it’s the same for a lot of people. You could save hundreds of pounds by switching to an online provider such as Amazon Prime and get access to over 15,000 movies and TV episodes for just £79/year.
Amazon Prime also provides free one day delivery for millions of items online, so you’ll be bagging a bargain not only by cutting the cable but also for when you need to shop online!
Sign up for an Amazon Prime Trial today and you’ll get 30 days completely free.
For just £16.88 more (just $10.99/£7.99 a month!), you could sign up to Amazon Prime Video instead and receive:
- Unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows
- Unlimited access
- Download movies and TV to their mobile or tablet to watch offline
- Watch Amazon Originals in HDR on living room devices
- Watch exclusive hit TV shows not available anywhere else
And yes, you can also sign up today for a free 30 day Amazon Prime Video Trial!
Total Savings: £305 ($409)
3) Change Broadband Providers
Many people stick with the same broadband provider every year for the sake of convenience, but a little bit less hassle could actually be costing you a lot of money!
According to uSwitch, the average household could save up to £103 a year simply by changing tariffs.
Just be sure to check that you can make the switch first and clarify the terms and conditions of your current providers to ensure you avoid any early cancellation fees.
Total Savings: £103 ($138)
4) More Meal Prep, Less Food Spending!
The food bill is the bane of the budget. People think of food as a necessity, so it becomes hard to apply rigorous budgeting to something as essential as food!
However, not planning and budgeting your meals every month is a serious mistake. According to the Office of National Statistics, the average household spends £227 on food and non-alcoholic drinks a month.
Meal prep means you can bulk buy foods and prepare healthy meals for the whole week for just pennies.
The savings you can make here totally depend on you, but given that a filling, healthy meal of chili con carne can be paid for as little as £1 per serving, you can save a lot of money without sacrificing your health.
Total Savings: ~£1716 ($2303)
5) Cut Eating Out Down to Once a Month
In the same survey, it was reported that the average UK household spends £45.10 on restaurants and hotels a week.
I know a lot of people love nothing more than getting a take-out and having a chilled Friday night in, but week on week this really starts to add up.
Limiting the number of takeouts you get/nights out at restaurants to just one week a month – and cooking equally delicious meals from scratch the rest of the time! – could save you hundreds of pounds every year.
Total Savings: £1620 ($2174)
6) Change Utility Companies
As with your broadband provider, simply changing utility companies can free up hundreds of pounds in your budget every year.
Check out a quality comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert to see what deals you could find on your electricity and gas bills.
As an indication, a report from Ofgem suggested households can make savings up to £300 a year!
Total Savings: £300 ($400)
7) Do Bi-Monthly Garage Sales
Garage sales are not only a great way to make a little extra cash, but they also provide the perfect opportunity to start your journey to a more minimal lifestyle!
Before Pete and I started travelling, my parents kindly offered up the contents of their (slightly cluttered) shed and attic and we took these things along with many of our own to local garage (or car boot) sales!
Everything we sold was just clutter that we no longer had any use for – but that doesn’t mean no one else will! Our car was always swamped with bargain hunters and we always left with an almost empty car – and at least £150 richer a pop!
Total Savings: £900 ($1208)
8) Start Walking/Cycling to Work
Walking or cycling to work is as good for your wallet as it is for your health, so why not start now!
Of course, this option may not be totally possible for some people, but you’d be surprised how easy it to get into the routine of walking to places instead of using a car! My commute to work used to be about 2 miles, so not exactly a quick walk up the road.
However, I really enjoyed the space that walking to and from work gave me. It was my time to listen to music or a podcast and either wake up ready for work or unwind after a long day. The journey probably took about 45 minutes each way – but when you’re saving on fuel and burning calories, I’m happy to sacrifice that time!
Mr Money Moustache calculated the true cost of commuting to be approximately $795 a year, which is an insane amount of money that could be so much better spent!
Total Savings: £608 ($795)
9) Rent Your Driveway
If you’ve taken the leap to walking to work, you may have freed up a bit of space on your driveway! For those located in prime areas (close to train stations, airports and city centres), you can make an absolute killing by simply renting out the empty space on your driveway.
Check out YourParkingSpace to easily advertise your spare driving space and start earning easy money instantly. I’ve based the savings off the median monthly prices charged in my home town in the UK.
Total Savings: £85.35/month = £1024 ($1374)
10) Use Cash Back Sites
Cashback sites are a super clever way to make money by simply doing your shopping online as you normally would.
TopCashback is one of the number one cashback sites, offering 105% cashback on items you purchase through the site. When you’ve made a purchase through TopCashback, the retailer gives them a commission for sending you to their website. That commission is then returned to and added to your earnings page – it really is that simple.
Another great cashback site is Ebates. I’d recommend signing up to both sites (don’t worry, it’s free!) and seeing what retailers they offer cash back on. It’s likely to differ, so signing up to both can provide more opportunities for deals when shopping online!
You can easily join both sites using the links above for free and start earning cash rewards through simply shopping online. I haven’t used it for a whole year yet, but Topcashback does report savings of up to £356 per year!
Total Savings: £356 ($477)
11) Quit the Gym
I’m possibly one of the rarer types of people who loves the gym. Paying £45 a month was nothing to me when I went 4 times a week, got a great workout, and had the perfect opportunity to clear my mental clutter, too.
It’s one of the biggest things I dislike about travelling – moving around so much makes it impossible to join a gym and get a good workout in.
However, I know that the majority of people do not like the gym and pay a lot of money to visit maybe once a week.
If that’s the case, you’re better off quitting your gym membership and finding a sport you truly enjoy doing. Fitness doesn’t stop at the gym – it can be done anywhere and at any price. Check out my top 12 free exercises for on a budget and on the road.
You could even buy a good-old Jillian Michaels DVD (on sale as of now!) and get a great workout from the comfort of your home for a fraction of your gym membership.
Total Savings: £456 ($612)
12) Switch Bank Accounts
If you’ve had your current bank account for years, you could actually make money by simply switching banks!
The current highest incentive is HSBC, who offer £200 to new customers when switching to their Advance Account. You’ll get £150 when using the switch service, and another £50 after 12 months – just for staying with them.
Total Savings: £200 ($268)
13) Take Up Online Surveys
I’ll be the first to admit it: online surveys aren’t going to make you rich. It does take awhile to build up your earnings on these sites, and you’ll answer a fair few surveys in the process!
Online surveys are perfect for people who struggle to sit still when relaxing, watching TV in the evenings and need something to do with their hands.
The surveys really don’t take a lot of brainpower, and if you can whizz through a few surveys for an hour every night, you could make a few hundred pounds a month.
Not bad for a night in front of the telly.
A few great popular survey sites I’d recommend getting started with that offer cash rewards include Swagbucks, Valued Opinions, Pinecone Research, and Inbox Dollars (free $5 sign up bonus!) Check out my full review of the 10 best survey sites you can actually make money from here.
Estimated earnings for 1 hour every night/month: £100
Total Savings: £1200 ($1611)
14) Change Car Insurance Companies
Provided you haven’t had to make a claim in the last year, your annual car insurance price should reduce.
However, simply sticking with the same insurance company isn’t the smartest move! Every time your renewal is due, you should hunt online to see if you can find a better deal. When I did this, my car insurance dropped from £715 to £400 instantly.
Use a trusted site like Compare the Market – they have access to hundreds of insurance providers so will give you an instant idea of how much you could be saving, and allow you to compare excesses etc when choosing a new provider.
Total Savings: £315 ($422)
15) DIY Gifts
Last year, I made my own gifts for family members at Christmas. Instead of buying small gifts from the shops, I put some time and effort in, and gifted 6 different people:
- Mulled Gin (a 6 week process!)
- Vegan Chocolate Truffles
- Handmade Lavender and Vanilla Soap
I also arm-knitted a fabulously chunky blanket for my mum (and FYI, she may have said it was the best gift she ever had..!).
Now, I love spending my money on the people I love. When Christmas comes around, I’m more excited about finding the perfect, thoughtful gift for my family than I am about receiving gifts. So this idea isn’t about scrimping and giving someone a piece of tat.
I put a lot more hours into the gifts I made but overall spent less money because I made things in bigger batches. And really, people appreciate a homemade gift that’s had love and thought put into it over a shop-bought gift any day.
Total Savings: £120 ($161)
Added up, doing all these things could save you up to £9523.
I’ll say that again. £9,523.
For my US readers, that’s over $12,000!
None of the things listed above are particularly time-consuming, or even require a huge shift in your lifestyle, but could create an extra £9000+ in your budget every year. That is insane.
Think of all the things you could do with that money:
- Pay off your debts
- Start saving for a house
- Start a business
- Save for financial independence (and early retirement).
For me, being frugal and savvy budget means I can afford to spend money on the things that really matter to me: travel, shiny new climbing gear, and the odd cold beer at the end of a long day! 😉
I learned a lot by researching budget hacks for this article, so I hope you’ve learned even more from reading it. How to get rich maybe isn’t such an elusive question after all!
Even making just a few of the changes above could save you thousands every year.
Let me know – are you now tempted to make any of these changes to your budget, today? Are there any hacks you’d never thought of before?