As a graduate, and like many other people, money can often be a little tight. With bills to pay and food to purchase it can be hard to save money sometimes. Add to that socialising (pre-covid), following the latest trends and being a bit of a foodie, money can disappear pretty quickly. So, I thought I would share with you some simple but effective ways to save and earn FREE money, yes free money, and these tips and tricks can apply to anyone.
My first tip is to create a spending/budget tracker. This could be a digital tracker, or you could draw one up for yourself. I use one as it makes me more conscious of your spending. I would start the month by setting myself a budget for those 4/5 upcoming weeks, by taking my wage/income for that month, subtracting bills and a set amount of savings from this number, and whatever is leftover is my budget for the month. This is not money I NEED to spend, but money I have if appropriate. If there is any left over by the end of the month, then I put that into my savings. Then, throughout the month I use a table to track my spending with the date, item description, cost and whether I paid in cash or by card. When I first started budget tracking, I was shocked by how much money I was spending over the month without even realising; mainly little £3-5 spends that just add up over the month, so I became a lot more aware of the silly little things I was buying that I just didn’t need. As the months have gone by, I’ve managed to save more and more each month as I reduce my spending.
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Go on a Spending Ban
The next tip is to put yourself on a spending ban. Ok, I know this may sound impossible, but for a set time, say 30 days, try not to spend any money on anything but essentials (i.e. bills, food etc). You’ll be surprised how easy this is once you start implementing this habit. With this, you can also set saving goals. So, once you hit your saving goal, maybe treat yourself to an item you’ve had your eye on for a while. Also, share these goals with others for accountability, or maybe make it a challenge to see who can go the longest without spending.
Complete Online Surveys
There is a whole host of different survey websites, where you can complete surveys in exchange for earning points. These points can then be used to exchange for vouchers or even a cash payment into your bank account. Surveys vary in length, but often the longer the survey, the more points you will be rewarded. The sites I commonly use are: i.Say, Toluna, and Swagbucks.
30-Day Wait Challenge
The next saving idea is the 30 day wait on big purchases. Whereby, if you are planning to buy an expensive product over a certain cost, you wait 30 days before making the purchase. This gives you time to properly think about the need of the product. It’s a tip that you will probably use very rarely, but it really makes you think about the product’s economical value and what value it may bring to your life. Also, within that 30 days, the product might come on offer, and may be much better deal.
We live within a huge consumer society, and one where we just buy and buy without often thinking about what we need. I can be one of those people. Going out to the UAE and living with a suitcase amount of personal items and clothes, has made me realise I own far too much stuff back at home. You do not need many items to live a happy one. Now I’m back home, I am not buying anything unless it is essential. Think before you buy.
Use a Savings Jar
Another way to save money is to use a savings jar/tin. This is especially effective if you can use one that you have to break into to open, as this stop you stealing the odd pound out here and there. I used mine to throw in any spare change, and the odd £5 or £10 note when I’m feeling extra saving savvy. You will be so surprised how quickly the money can add up, and when you finally open it there will be more money than you often think. Mum and I used to use them every year to save up for our car insurances, and every year we underestimated how much were inside.
Get Rewards for your Spending
This is something I’ve only picked up on since graduating, but there are lots of different apps and websites where you can earn cashback every time you spend. I personally use ‘Top Cashback’. These websites and apps are so simple to use, you find the website you’re intending to buy something from, you’re redirected to that site, purchase your item as you would normally and then you receive a specific percentage of money back on your purchase. You can claim cashback from more than 4000 retailers through ‘Top Cashback’. Once the commission by ‘Top Cashback’ you can withdraw your cashback. It is totally free to sign up, and you can sign up by clicking here*. It’s an easy way to earn a little ‘free money’.
The last tip is a simple yet highly productive one, that EVERYONE can do. Stop window shopping. This doesn’t just mean when you’re out and about and you can’t resist the temptation to have a little mooch in the shop window to see what new items they have in, but also freely browsing on the internet. If you don’t NEED anything, don’t tempt yourself. You’re not only procrastinating from studying and ticking off your to-do list, but emptying your bank account at the same time.
What tips do you have for saving money? Are there any ways you earn FREE money?
Have you read my last post? – Exploring the Emirates: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
[*Disclaimer – This post is, in part, in collaboration with Gener8 Ads. Therefore I have received a small fee for sharing them with you, and I will receive a small token commission on every sign up. However, all opinions are my own and honest].
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