Budgeting like a pro: how to successfully keep costs down

Deciding how and when we spend our money can be difficult — especially when there’s so much out there to buy, from fancy dinners to the new and latest fashion trends. Not only that, but we all make New Year’s resolutions, and they can often be disastrous, with 80% of people failing by February and regretting it instantly — have you managed to stick to yours? One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to cut down on spending, and although this sounds achievable, if you don’t have a fully-pledged strategy in place, the likeliness of failure spirals out of control.

Our spending patterns all add up, especially with the amount of unexpected expenses that occur throughout our lives — from broken boilers to a hike in our car insurance. It all adds up. For that reason, we’ve made some assessments on how those extra savings can come in handy if something like that was to occur.


Your lifestyle choices

Buying coffee on-the-go

With an estimated 21,000 coffee shops across Britain, MyVoucherCode has found that Brits visit coffee shops at least three times each week on average. This means that Brits visit coffee shops around 156 times a year with an average spend of £8.52 — with travel expenses, this could go up to £13.85. This creates an annual average spending of £2,600, a majority of which could be saved if you were to opt for taking your own coffee to work.

If your aim is to begin making your own coffee but don’t want to miss out on the top brands, a 250g of Douwe Egberts can make up to 30 cups — but how much would this cost? When looking to see how much a 1kg pack would cost, Amazon has priced the coffee at around £15, meaning that each cup of coffee would cost close to 13p. Try taking a flask to work and even purchasing an on-the-go coffee cup that will see you through your day.

Buying a packet of cigarettes

If you’re currently smoking 20 cigarettes a day, cutting this out completely could allow you to save around £3,796 with the average packet costing £10.40. MoneySupermarket.com has stated that non-smokers pay around £6,309 less for life insurance, which could be something worth investing in for the new year.

If you’re not ready to give up smoking completely, you can always try vaping. 10ml bottles of liquid cost around £5 on average — saving those who turn to vaping around £1,900.

Buying your lunch on-the-go

With cafes and food vans opening close to businesses, it’s becoming a more lucrative option to buy lunch on the way to work rather than making it at home. But what if we told you that, on average, forking out for lunch every day could cost you £1,288 a year, according to research carried out by VoucherCloud. Evidently, you could make a huge saving by preparing your lunch at home — whether this is making a quick sandwich or taking in a tin of microwavable soup to heat up. When we looked at the total working days in 2017, there was 252 — if we went by Poundland’s price of tomato soup, which is 50p, you would find yourself paying £126! A massive saving for anyone looking to cut down on costs.

Making better travel decisions

Our bank balance is precious, and you could make a great saving by changing the way you travel. Using a megarider ticket, you will be able to travel as much as you want and can tailor your own needs to the ticket type. Whether you’re in need of a monthly bus pass for your travels or a weekly one, you will find yourself making a huge saving in comparison to buying a ticket every day.

Over the course of a motorist’s lifetime, each British driver will spend on average around £168,880. With efficiency growing in public transport, there is no reason for you not to consider making the bold move that could help you fulfil your resolution this year and save you a fortune.

Petrol was the biggest contributing factor to this price, costing drivers £1,052.04 each year. Servicing a vehicle costs can add up to £441 over a twelve-month period — which can change depending on the individual’s situation. MOTs can cost up to £168.46 annually. Cost of parking is on the rise, and with more vehicles on the roads, there seems to be a higher demand. Over the year, a motorist can find themselves paying £145.80 on parking. When it comes to insurance, this can sway dramatically as younger drivers will find themselves paying a higher cost to be on the road. On average, insurance costs an experienced driver £436 every year. Tax can equate to £116.35 on a yearly basis. Car supplies can cost a driver £29.61 and if you were to go abroad and wished to drive, holiday rental cars can leave you £180 out of pocket. Speeding tickets equal £25.12 for the average driver here in the UK. This would cost a driver £2,594.38 in total where commuters find themselves paying considerably less for a significant service — imagine the saving you would make with a megarider ticket!

The rise of the unexpected expense

A survey that questioned 2,000 people found that 54% experienced an unexpected expense in their own home. On average, these costs totalled £248.70 — showing that any saving is beneficial for occurrences like these. 47% of these issues happened in the kitchen, a room which is essential to the day-to-day running of any home, and if you don’t have the money to pull out instantly, it could cause an everyday stress. Using the saving you would have made by taking your own lunch and coffee to work, quitting smoking, and travelling smarter — you will be able to make life easier. It was also found that 35% of people had to use a credit card to cover the costs of unexpected expenses. With 18% of them not being able to pay more than £100 on their own, 17% had to borrow from friends and family!

To prepare, we need to make changes — how will you be starting?

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