Inflation is hitting households around the world hard and many of us are looking to cut spending in 2023 as a result. Here are 20 ways to save money in the battle against rising prices.
1. Turn the aircon up/heating down a degree
With energy prices skyrocketing, it makes sense to target energy use if you want to reduce expenditure. Depending on where you live, turning the aircon up a degree, or the heating down a degree could convert to a significant reduction in your monthly energy bills.
2. Check out off-peak utility tariffs
While we’re talking energy, are you sure you are getting the best possible deal on gas and electricity? Shop around to see if your provider is the most competitive, and/or ask your current provider if there are cheaper tariffs available. Many providers offer off-peak tariffs so you can plan to use appliances at less expensive times of the day.
3. Stop unused subscriptions
Are you paying for cloud storage you don’t use? Do you really need to have Prime, Netflix and Disney+? Are you throwing money away on an unused gym membership? Carry out an audit of your regular outgoings on subscriptions and cancel those that aren’t necessary.
4. Go meat-free
Meat is generally the most expensive protein source. Explore going vegetarian or vegan to reduce your weekly shopping bill. If you don’t want to give up meat altogether, designate a few days of the week meat-free and bulk out meat with other sources of protein such as beans, lentils and other pulses.
5. Cook more
Preparing meals at home is almost always less expensive than eating out or ordering a takeaway. You could easily make a significant three-figure saving by investing in a portable coffee cup and sacrificing your morning coffee, taking a homemade lunch to work every day and cutting out a couple of takeaways and meals out each month.
6. Look out for balance transfer deals on credit cards
Debt-free is the holy grail of anyone serious about their finances but until you get there, think strategically about your debt. Shifting it around to benefit from balance transfer deals could help you pay off your balance sooner but only if you quit the spending so….
7. Resolve to buy nothing on credit
If you can’t afford to pay cash for a non-essential item, don’t buy it. No exceptions.
8. No new clothes for a year
If you already have a decent wardrobe, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to do the ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge. Your pocket will be better off, and so will the planet.
9. Use resale platforms
You can not only use these to buy second-hand instead of new – again, this is both pocket and planet-friendly – but why not raise a bit of cash by selling unwanted items too? Resale sites exist for everyday and designer goods including clothes, electronics and luxury items. Examples include IdleFish(Xianyu) in China/, Caroussel and Vestiaire Collective.
10. Use your library
Libraries are an underutilised resource in the modern world but those in the know can make big savings by making use of their local library. Save money on aircon/heating by working in your local library and borrow, rather than buying, books, magazines, games and films. Many modern libraries are digitalised so you can access materials on a laptop, Kindle or iPad without leaving the comfort of your home.
11. Convert purchases to hours of work
Do you really need that new pair of designer shoes? You might be less tempted to splurge if you work out that the purchase price equates to two full days at the office. Systematically converting potential purchases to hours of work time is a helpful tactic for putting the brakes on impulse buying.
12. Apply for a credit card with cash rewards
If you must have a credit card, you may as well have one that works for you. Cards that offer Air Miles and other bonuses could save you money but only if you are disciplined enough to zero your balance every month.
13. Save a dollar a day
Stick a dollar a day in an old-fashioned savings jar. You won’t notice it is gone but you’ll have a nice lump sum at the end of the year to treat yourself to something or to put towards the Christmas shopping!
14. 24-hour rule on all non-essential purchases
Curb impulse buying by introducing this simple rule. Whenever you are tempted to make a non-essential purchase, wait 24 hours to reflect on whether you really need it. Often, you’ll find that it’s not the must-have you thought it was!
15. Automate savings
Treat saving as you would any other regular expense such as mortgage payments, rent or insurance premiums. Set up a direct debit payment for a specific amount each month to go into a savings account as soon as you get paid. It takes that cash out of circulation, so you won’t be tempted to spend it.
16. Do your food shopping online
Shops are experts at getting consumers to part with cash on items they don’t really need. Doing your food shopping online can help you stick to your shopping list without being tempted to put non-essential spontaneous purchases into your trolley.
17. Shop late in the day to get discounted bargains
Supermarkets reduce prices on items near their sell-by date before they close for the day/weekend. Timing your shop right can lead to major savings on the more expensive items in your trolley, like meat.
18. Reduce food waste
Asians waste a lot less food (between 6 and 11kg per year) than Europeans and North Americans (between 95 and 115kg per year). Nevertheless, all of us can save money and help the planet by only buying what we need and taking care to reuse food rather than throw it away. It’s not just the food itself that is wasted, but all the precious resources used to produce and transport it.
19. Invest in a multi-function cooker
Air frying, pressure cooking and slow cooking are all less expensive than turning on the oven. If you cook a lot, invest in a multi-function appliance such as a Ninja or Instant Pot and make significant energy savings.
20. Pay for everything in cash
Debit and credit cards make it too easy to spend. Handing over cold, hard cash for purchases is much more likely to make us think about what we are buying. As inflation bites, more and more people are turning to cash to control their spending. It is a strategy that works.
Even though household budgets are feeling the pinch, it’s essential to keep saving for the future to ensure that your financial security is guaranteed through retirement.
If you’d like help in 2023 putting together a financial plan to suit your budget and goals, we would love to be of assistance. Contact us and make 2023 the year you get your long-term finances in shape.
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.