It’s the year 2020. And for many people who spent too much over the holiday period, that can only mean a slow start to the year’s finances. I know how you feel.
No need to despair. With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can get back on top of it and get that smile back on your face. From canceling those unused subscriptions to staying in at home with friends for the weekend, here are a bunch of top tips for cutting back spending in 2020.
Switch Energy Companies
It’s a classic and timeless tip and one that is just as relevant today as it was last year. Bills are a big part of monthly expenditure, so it always makes sense to check in and see if you can save.
Many providers start out with good deals and then change their terms as the years go on, leaving existing customers with higher prices to pay. Even if you switched to the best available deal last year, you could save by doing the same again.
Companies like Compare The Market and Uswitch can help you to find the best offers, and even to make the move to the new energy company. You can also take steps to reduce the energy costs in your home, as well as your business.
Save Using Promotions
January is traditionally a slow month for consumer spending. Therefore, it’s a slow month for business too. To counteract this, many companies will have sales and promotions.
Have a look around for fresh 2020 coupon codes on websites such as Groupon and Coupons.com. Make use of offers that are relevant to you. If you play casino games or poker online, you should always check out promotions and look for opportunities on major sites.
This doesn’t mean you should use all of these offers to spend more. Rather, take advantage of promotions to gain extra value for products and services that you usually buy anyway.
Pay Back Your Debts
It’s time to address the elephant in the room. If you have debts lingering from last year, then now is the time to make a plan to pay them back as efficiently as possible.
It’s difficult to get this cycle going because it takes initial sacrifice to your usual expendable income, but the quicker you can pay off debts the less you will pay overall in interest.
Start with your highest interest debts, usually credit cards. Once one debt is paid back, but the money that would usually be used for these repayments back into the next highest, and so on. When they are all paid back, you will find an instant boost to your monthly budget that you can put towards savings.
Change Going Out for Staying In
The holiday season is a time when a lot of people go out for celebrations with friends and loved ones. This is awesome, but it also costs a lot of money.
It makes sense that the first couple of months of the year be a bit more relaxed in terms of going out and spending money. There are lots to do indoors instead. You could have a cozy movie night at home, or arrange a Nintendo Wii gaming session.
You don’t actually have to stick to indoor activities. There’s plenty you can do outdoors too, especially as the weather warms up. Have a picnic in the park or local beauty spot or take a sunset stroll.
Stop Wasting Food
The USDA says that around 30-40% of America’s food source goes to waste. Not only is this incredibly costly in terms of environmental impact. It’s also very costly for people’s wallets, with the average person wasting around $375 worth of food each year – even more, if you’re buying expensive takeaways and chucking them away.
One way to reduce food waste in the home is to plan meals more carefully and then buy the ingredients that you need. This will instantly reduce your food bill. Once the food is cooked, make liberal use of the freezer to store the leftovers. They make for excellent meals at a later date and save more money when you can’t be bothered cooking.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions
Subscriptions seem to have taken over the world. There’s a subscription for almost every service imaginable. Home deliveries on shopping, gym memberships, video and music streaming platforms, online publications – you name it!
Netflix alone is $12.99 a month for a standard subscription. That’s over $150 a year. I’m not having a dig at Netflix… like many subscriptions, it can be of great value for the consumer. It all comes down to whether you actually use them enough to justify the costs.
The start of the year is a great time to review your subscriptions. Any that you no longer use regularly enough to justify can be canceled and the money rewired directly to your savings or debt repayments.
Stop The Impulse Buy
According to a survey, 64% of Americans named the top reason for wasteful spending as “really wanting something”. The second reason was “convenience”.
Put these two reasons together and you have the main components of an impulse buy. You didn’t need anything, you just bought it because you wanted it and it was there.
To stop this from happening, and save a few bucks in the process, wait 48-72 hours before making any major purchase (the longer the better). Giving yourself time to cool down after the initial stimulation of the advert or product, helps you to make clearer purchase decisions.
So cancel those unused subscriptions, invite your friends over instead of going to a club, and stop those impulse buys. You’ll be genuinely surprised at how much you can save by simply being clever in your day-to-day decisions.