Saving tips to help you through the cost-of-living crisis27 September, 2023
The phrase ‘cost-of-living crisis’ has now become part of our everyday vocabulary and tends to dominate quite a lot of conversations. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t had challenges with the huge inflation of goods and services. It’s estimated that 1 in 2 adults are more anxious due to the rising cost of living, 5.6 million have missed payments on domestic bills and many are even cancelling their insurance policies just to make ends meet.
Now, we can’t control governments or policies that are designed to turn their back on communities like Pollok, Maryhill and Possil, but we can support you in the best way we can, the way we always have.
- Create a detailed budget
This is your friendly reminder to get your budget back on track, or if you haven’t had one at all, make one. One thing we have found is a barrier to making a budget is the mental effort it seems like it takes. Not only do you have to rack your brains for all of your expenses, but there’s a strong element of stress that comes along with budgeting and coming to terms with just how much things cost and what sacrifices you may have to make. It’s much easier to ignore it and bury your head in the sand, but we know and you know that this is a strategy that NEVER works. So, try and reframe budgeting as a way to gain control of your finances.
Our top tip: We would never tell you to cut back on the things that bring you pleasure, because at the end of the day it’s unrealistic to stick to your money goals as you restrict yourself from everything you enjoy doing, whether it’s going for a nice meal or a few drinks with your friends. However, taking a breathing period for a few weeks from these expensive (let’s face it, nowhere is cheap these days) nights out while you look for cheaper alternatives can maybe allow you to prove to yourself that you can survive without having that extra couple of drinks. Try replacing an expensive takeaway meal for a nice home cooked meal, and notice how much you’re spending on things that are a lot cheaper to make at home!
- Embrace meal planning
The secret to cutting back on how much you spend on is to be prepared. How many times have you run out of food in your fridge and decided to just order in a takeaway or head out for dinner. Or, perhaps even more costly is when it comes to lunches, and you have a week of buying food from the likes of Subway, McDonalds and Pret, and found you have well overspent compared to buying your food in advance? Dear reader, I have been there many times before.
Make sure you stick to a set day or two where you buy your lunches in advance for the week, whether it be batch cooking all of your meals in advance or buying healthy microwave meals on a multi-buy discount. You’ll start to feel good about just how much you’re saving.
- Energy-efficient habits
If you’ve got a smart meter, this will be a great way of tracking your spending. For me, I know that (as ridiculous as it sounds) playing a song I like while in the shower allows me to keep track of time and cut down on wasting electricity on a long shower, especially on those cold winter mornings when it’s hard to get out.
Buying draft excluders, seeing if you can switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs and doing your washings on a night tariff (if you have one) are just some more easy ways to save.
- Cut down on short-distance drives
This is one with many benefits! I have a rule that if I can walk it in less than 10 minutes, I’m not taking the car. It’s also too easy to use your car for short distance journeys, but the stopping and starting often involved in these journeys can be deceptively tough on your fuel tank! If you don’t need to drive, then walk and save the planet, your pockets and your health!
- Shop smart
When it comes to groceries and everyday essentials, shop smart. Make a list before heading to the store, stick to it, and avoid shopping when you’re hungry (it leads to impulse buying). Look for discounts, use coupons, and consider switching to generic brands for non-essential items. Additionally, buy in bulk when it makes sense, and watch how much you save in the long run.
- Create an emergency fund
An emergency fund is a financial cushion in case of emergency. If you can put some money aside for unexpected expenses such as unemployment, a broken-down car, or home repairs, then you might be able to avoid going into debt or having to take out a loan you can’t afford.
- Join Pollok Credit Union
If you’re not a member, then perhaps one of the best tips of all to save is becoming our newest member! You can save money in your local, ethical, community-focused credit union through our app or by visiting us in branch! Saving with the credit union is safe, and is a great way to save before you borrow, so that you can access affordable, flexible credit when you need it most.