With any goal, it’s important to start somewhere and though saving money isn’t always easy, it doesn’t have to be difficult either. There are many ways of saving money and each works in different ways for different people. For some it might simply mean cutting down on take-aways and eating out less, while for others it might require a close monitoring eye and extremely frugal spending. Whatever it may be, there are a number of little financial hacks you can use to help you start saving money and getting better with your finances.

Shop Sale or Supermarket Own Brands

Are you a brand snob? Only buying Heinz because Tesco Value just doesn’t do it for you? The truth is, many of us are brand snobs - that is, we only buy a specific brand of a type of product and are struck with fear at the thought of even considering anything else. When the aim is to save money however, this way of shopping just won’t cut it.

Buying branded products is often more expensive than shopping supermarket own brands and though it might not seem like a big difference at first, the small costs eventually start to add up. Just because a product is more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better, and whilst different branded food products may taste a little different - or sometimes not at all - you’re essentially paying extra just for the brand name.

If you’re not quite ready to make the move to supermarket own brands, stick to doing your shopping during sale periods instead. That doesn’t mean waiting for a sale to do your entire supermarket haul, but if there are specific items that are often a little more expensive to buy and aren’t essential as part of your weekly shop, wait for an offer and buy them in bulk if it’s feasible. Most supermarkets even offer a free points card which allows customers to earn points on their shopping and provides exclusive access to discounts and deals on selected product instore.

Cancel Direct Debits

Direct debits are great when you’re paying for regular essential bills and expenses but not so great when you’ve got them set up for things you no longer use or need. Often, you may even forget you have a direct debit set up at all and barely notice when it leaves your account. It’s a bad habit many of us are guilty of but an easy habit to fix.

Check your account and find out if there are any direct debits set up with companies offering services you no longer need. This process shouldn’t be too difficult – it’s as simple as logging into your online banking, or you may want to contact your bank directly if you’re unsure. Some banking apps can filter your outgoing payments to show all the direct debits currently set up on your account and it’s one of the easiest ways to weed out any you may have missed. Once they’ve all been sifted out, you’ll need to contact the company or access the account you hold with them, to cancel the agreement. In some cases, you may only need to cancel the direct debit without needing to contact the company at all.

woman pushing cart in supermarket

Use Budgeting Apps

Living on a budget can be a struggle, however budgeting has been made much simpler with the arrival of budgeting apps, which promise to help you get better with your finances and more aware of how you are spending your money.

If you’ve tried other methods of saving money but feel like they haven’t worked for you, a budgeting app could be a great way to help you figure out why. Often, we spend our money on small things either daily, weekly, or monthly, which over time can make a substantial difference to how much money we are able to save or have disposable to spend on other things. With a budgeting app, you can set spending limits and receive alerts each time a purchase or withdrawal is made. Some budgeting apps can even filter your expenditure by compartmentalising each payment so that you can see exactly where your money is going every month. This way, it’s much easier to see your spending in real-time and carefully consider where you might need to cut down.

Bonus Tip: Get friendly with your finances

Getting up close and personal with your finances can feel a little intimidating at first, especially if it’s something you’ve wilfully ignored for a long time. However, if you’re looking to make financial progress, reduce your use of unsecured loans and have a little more money saved in the bank, it’s important to review your finances on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be an intense quarterly financial review of your accounts, but simply an ongoing process assessing where your money is going, with a plan to cut costs and reduce unnecessary spending wherever possible.