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Unconventional Savings Strategies That Actually Work

09 April 2024

It can sometimes feel like financial stability is increasingly becoming a luxury. With rising costs all around, being able to save money which is essential for our goals and wellbeing feels out of reach. As many of us grapple with budgeting and cost-cutting where we can, finding other ways to save that you may not have considered before could inspire you to take a different approach.

If you’re looking for clever ways to save money that promise not just to bolster your bank account but improve your financial wellness, have you considered the unconventional? If not, below you will find a few different savings ideas that think outside the box.

From food shopping hacks and technological tips to innovative money management methods, these unconventional strategies may actually work for you. If you enjoy frugal living or just want to stretch your money further, these money saving techniques can offer a fresh approach.

Clever Ways To Save Money

We all know we should save more, and some of us are better at it than others. This is where a little guidance can make saving much easier and more of a habit than spending.

If following traditional saving advice is beginning to sound like a broken record, it’s time to be more creative, and discuss less conventional methods that can help inject your savings account with a healthy dose of growth.

There are, of course, many different saving techniques out there, and some you may have come across before but just haven’t tried yet. Don’t worry, these clever strategies don’t require a radical lifestyle overhaul – instead, they’ll help you to rethink your daily routine and make small, smart choices that accumulate significant benefits over time.

Grocery Saving Techniques

First up, groceries are a substantial part of everyone’s budget, and saving money in this category can free up a surprising amount of cash. Here’s how:

Shop in the Middle of the Week

While weekends might seem like the perfect time to do your grocery shopping, especially if you work a regular 9-5, mid-week visits can be surprisingly fruitful.

We already know how retailers use certain tactics to get you to spend more, so beating them at their own game can be rewarding. Tuesday through Thursday, supermarkets are not only less crowded, but many also offer mid-week deals and discounts on perishable items that didn’t sell over the weekend. Planning your shopping during these days can lead to unexpected deals and savings.

Also, if can do your grocery shopping later in the day, you’re more likely to see the reduced items appear. You may have seen people hanging around the reduced items section of a supermarket for this exact reason – the items are still perfectly good to buy but at much less than the regular cost.

Shop In Bulk and Use Discount Stores

Do you ever buy anything in bulk? Especially items you know you will need again and again? If not, you should definitely consider it. The idea behind bulk shopping is simple – buying larger quantities often results in a lower cost per unit. While not every item is worth purchasing in bulk, especially if it means potentially increased food wastage, non-perishables and household staples can offer significant savings.

There are also discount stores that offer much lower prices by compromising on presentation, not quality. Many people stay loyal to big supermarkets, especially if they are part of a loyalty card scheme. However, embracing these stores for your bulk purchases can dramatically reduce your grocery bill and then improve your savings.

Meal Prep

The benefits of meal prepping extend beyond improving our health. The financial impact of doing so can be huge for your savings. By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you not only control what you eat but also minimise any food waste and resist the temptation to order takeaways. It also avoids having to go shopping more than once a week for food, which can end up costing lots more once the deals and promotions start to draw you in.

Starting with a few simple recipes that you can make in bulk, you’ll find that meal prepping can significantly cut down your food expenses. You can even freeze these meals in advance so that all you then have to do is heat them up, helping you save time during the evening too.

There are plenty of websites with batch cooking recipes, one being BBC Good Food, as well as on most of the big supermarket recipe pages.

Technological Saving Ideas

We all love tech, especially if it can help us save money and generally improve our lives. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you have digital solutions at your fingertips, ready to help you make substantial savings with minimal effort. From managing subscriptions to optimising energy usage, technology offers plenty of ways to cut costs without cutting corners.

Reduce Your Monthly Subscriptions

Does anyone remember when our lives weren’t ruled by monthly subscriptions? What once was synonymous with magazines, now stretches to everything from what we watch on TV to cloud storage, gym memberships and even the clothes that we buy thanks to buy now, pay later schemes. With so many digital subscriptions, it’s easy to lose track of monthly payments for services we sometimes rarely use.

The first step is to comprehensively audit your current subscriptions and assess their value to your daily life. Use free trials for services instead of committing to long-term subscriptions and cancel any service before the trial period ends to avoid charges. For shows or services you enjoy, consider subscribing only when you’re actively using them. Apps like ScribePay can help manage and remind you of subscription renewals, ensuring you only pay for what you truly use.

Do Your Chores During Off-Peak Hours

Using your tech can be expensive since many require you to use electricity to use them or charge them up. This can add up to a hefty electric bill each month, so a smart way to save here is to take advantage of off-peak schemes.

Electricity rates can vary throughout the day, with peak hours typically being the most expensive times to use power. If you can schedule high-energy tasks, such as using the washing machine or dishwasher, during off-peak hours (usually early mornings or late evenings), you can take advantage of lower rates.

This not only helps in saving money on utility bills but also contributes to a more balanced energy demand, which can benefit the environment. When you think about it, millions of us are on a similar daily routine, meaning demand for power surges at certain times like clockwork. For example, British Gas has a cheaper night time tariff between midnight and 8am, but each supplier is different and has other tariffs and energy-saving schemes you can sign up for.

Uswitch has a free app called Utrack for those who have a smart meter, helping you get notified to when cheaper periods to use energy are and which appliances use the most. You can also visit Money Helper for more information on what to do when your energy bills are high.

Energy-Efficient Technology

If you already have a smart home, or at the very least use many of the smart home appliances available, these can be a good long-term investment to help you save money.

Investing in energy-efficient technology may have an upfront cost, but the long-term savings provided by things like LED lightbulbs, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient appliances can significantly reduce your home’s energy consumption and, consequently, your monthly utility bills.

Much of this tech also offers the convenience of smart home integration, allowing for further control of energy use through scheduling and remote control. You will also be doing your bit to support environmental sustainability, so everyone wins long term.

Find more information through the UK Government’s Help For Households energy conservation page here.

Other Money Saving Techniques

Beyond groceries and technology, there are broader saving ideas and strategies that can reshape your approach to spending and saving. These money saving techniques don’t fit neatly into any one category but are definitely worth trying.

Round Up Your Purchases

This one is a simple yet effective way to save, a slight twist on saving what’s left in your account before payday. All you have to do is round up every purchase you’ve made during the week to the nearest pound and save the difference. This savings idea turns everyday transactions into small savings opportunities.

For example, if you spend £3.50 on a coffee, round this up to £4 and put the extra 50p into your savings. Over time, these small amounts accumulate into a sizable sum. Many banks and apps now offer tools that automate this process, such as Moneybox, so you can funnel your digital change (as it were) into a savings account without any extra effort on your part.

Avoid Impulse Buying with the ‘Afford It Twice’ Technique

Impulse buying can be a major problem for our financial wellness. Yes, it feels good in the moment, but that purchase can come back with a bite. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all treats and luxuries, though.

A good way to approach the “splurge urge” is to get into the mindset of only buying non-essential items if you can afford to buy them twice. This will encourage you to consider the true impact of a purchase on your finances and ensure that small indulgences don’t compromise your savings goals.

Unconventional, But Not Impossible

Feeling inspired to approach your spending in a different, more unconventional way? The techniques here could very well change your mindset, and most importantly, boost your savings. There are many other unconventional methods to discover, with these just a snippet of what’s possible. Find one, or more, that work for you and stick to it – your savings could look very different a year from now if you do.

For more help and advice or further insights, please visit our blog. Discover topics including whether social media money advice is worth taking, and how to haggle and when.

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