To prepare for the financial strain, here’s how to save money this winter while working from home.
1. Switch energy providers
Switching energy providers is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save substantial amounts of money every year. If you haven’t run a price comparison on your gas and electricity tariff recently, you could potentially save hundreds every year by switching to a cheaper deal.
The best way to switch energy providers is by searching for the cheapest gas and electricity deals from trusted suppliers. You can do that here.
2. Save the change
Many banks and budgeting apps now give you the option to “save the change” when you make an online purchase or direct debit payment, rounding up the difference and squirrelling it away into a savings account.
While it might not seem like much, those pennies quickly add up. Even a saving of £20 a month amounts to £240 over the year, which could contribute nicely to your Christmas shopping fund or winter energy bills.
3. Meal plan
Meal planning is a reliable way to drive down your weekly shopping bill and keep aside more money for a rainy day.
Before you embark on a food shop, do an inventory of your cupboards and plan some meals around any leftover fresh, frozen or storecupboard items, like pasta, rice and tinned foods.
Use this as a starting point for your weekly meal plan, then list the extra items you’ll need to complete each meal. For inspiration, check out budget-friendly cooks like Jack Monroe.
Batch cooking can save you time and money during the week, as you can cook once and eat multiple times, saving money on your energy bills. So, get organised at the weekend and prep meals like curries, chillis, soups, stir-fries, salads and stews that you can enjoy all week with zero effort.
When shopping, stick to your list and shop smartly. While budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl may seem cheaper, if you’re prone to splashing out on those middle aisle extras, it may be a false economy. Many people find it easier to shop for food online as it reduces the distractions, so work out the best way for you to stick to your list – and budget.
4. Shop yellow stickers
Alternatively, if the idea of meal planning isn’t for you, another great way to save money on your weekly food shop is hunting down discounted “yellow sticker” bargains, which sees supermarket goods reduced by up to 75%.
If you’re adventurous and love a bargain, you could be dining on all kinds of exciting food for next to nothing. Check out Instagrammers like @Reduction_Raider1 for tips on discount food shopping.
5. Switch appliances off standby mode
Little daily savings make a huge difference over time, and turning your TV, kettle, toaster and other electrical items off standby mode by switching them off at the plug will help reduce your bills.
If you have a smart meter installed in your home, you’ll be able to see the savings instantly when you flick electricals off standby mode, giving you even more of an incentive to keep it up.
6. Use cashback sites
Spending isn’t off-limits when you’re on a savings drive and using cashback sites can pay off for a range of purchases.
If you haven’t used them before, cashback websites like Quidco and Top Cashback pay you to shop at certain retailers, when you do it via their website. Simply visit a cashback site, search for the retailer you want to shop with, then follow the link to the retailer’s website and shop as usual.
Cashback is calculated as a percentage of your spending, and users can earn £300 a year by using cashback sites. While the payouts tend to be better for bigger purchases like mobile phones, holidays, appliances and TVs, it’s worth using them for a range of purchases, as it all adds up.
7. Shop secondhand
Not only is shopping secondhand good for the planet, but it’s significantly cheaper than buying brand new.
Scour charity shops, social media marketplaces and auction sites to find clothes, books, furniture and more for much less. Often, the buzz of finding a lusted-after item secondhand far outweighs the excitement of grabbing it fresh off the shelves.
Having a clearout? Make sure you list unwanted items for sale online to save up money towards your next secondhand purchase.
8. Walk more
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, both for your physical and mental wellbeing. What’s more, it can save you some serious cash over a year. Next time you’re about to nip to the shop, do the school run or pop out for a coffee, think about whether you have the time and ability to walk, instead.
Short journeys cost money and using your car less can even help drive down the cost of your car insurance, too, as you’re less likely to have an accident.
Grab some trusty footwear, download an audiobook and start pounding the pavements instead of driving everywhere. Your body, mind and bank balance will thank you!
9. Shop around for the best deals….Check out www.wesendoffer.com
If the time has come to renew your car or home insurance, take the time to shop around for the best deals by running a price comparison online.
Similarly, look at how much you’re paying for your broadband and TV package to see if you could enjoy similar services for less through a different provider.
Ask about special offers and mention your intention to leave if you’ve found something cheaper – it’s a tried and trusted method to prompt companies to offer you their best deal to stay.
10. Cancel memberships and subscriptions
Scrutinise your bank statement to see how you can save money this winter. Cancel gym memberships (especially if you’re walking everywhere!), delete Audible, end your Amazon Prime subscription and stop paying for anything else you no longer use or need.
Unless you’re a gym obsessive, there are plenty of ways to work out for free at home or outdoors.
Plus, you can do free trials of Prime, Netflix, Hayu, Disney+ and more to get your viewing fix before cancelling each one.
Equally, it’s a good time to trawl your inbox and unsubscribe from marketing emails from your favourite brands, to avoid the temptation to spend unnecessarily on items you don’t need.
Something gone wrong? Make sure you complain, as it can help businesses improve their customer services levels and see you compensated for your time, too.
If you’ve had a below-par experience at a hotel, supermarket, online shop or anywhere else, speak to the company honestly and air your grievances. Most will thank you for the feedback, and many will offer you vouchers, discounts, refunds or incentives to make it worth your while.
12. Visit trainee hairdressers
Fancy a premium haircut without blowing your budget? Hair salons like Toni & Guy have training academies in many cities, where you can get a new ‘do for a fraction of the price.
Although a trainee will be in charge of your new look, they’ll be closely supervised by experts in their field. It can take longer than the standard salon experience, but if you have the time to spare, it’s worth it to slash £££s off a luxury service.
13. Buy a coffee machine
Treating yourself to a morning latte is an affordable pleasure you deserve, right?
Well, not exactly. While it may seem like a relatively cheap treat, your daily coffee could be costing you an eye-watering £600 a year. And while it’s nice to enjoy the occasional treat, when it becomes a habit, it could be time to put a stop to the temptation of the takeaway caffeine fix.
If you can’t entirely give up the speciality coffee buzz, invest in a coffee machine (why not check out bargain deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, January sales or Prime Day?) and make your own at home for less. To incentivise yourself to avoid the lure of Starbucks, throw £4 a day into a savings jar or account and watch the savings stack up.
14. Become a couponer
Extreme couponers spend their time finding discounts, freebies and vouchers to save incredible amounts on their daily expenditure.
Download apps like GreenJinn, Shopmium and Checkoutsmart to access coupons on supermarket items – many items are available for free, and pro-couponers regularly offer hacks on combining coupons to get additional freebies.
15. Quit fast fashion
Fast fashion is harming our pockets, planet and populations, so now is the perfect time to quit your throwaway fashion habit.
If secondhand shopping isn’t for you, spend time researching good quality purchases that will last you for years, rather than a couple of wears. You’ll spend more on each item, but save hundreds by resisting the urge to click on impulsive buys.
Over time, you’ll have a capsule wardrobe of clothing you love, rather than drawers stuffed full of garments you’ve only worn once.
If you can, shop sustainably with ethical brands and wear items in lots of different ways to get the most out of them, like pairing summer dresses with tights, jumpers and boots in the winter.
For tips on quitting fast fashion, check out the book How To Break Up With Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo.
16. Get your home working allowance
Finally, if you’re working from home this winter, make sure your employee is reimbursing you for the utilities you’d typically be enjoying in the office.
For 2021/2021, the home working weekly allowance is £6. It might not sound like a huge amount, but it’s tax-free, and like your daily latte, it soon adds up to a generous saving!
Save money while working from home this winter
Hopefully, we’ve given you some useful ideas on how to save money working from home this winter.
To reduce the cost of utilities and find the best deals on insurance, financial products and more, run a comparison here …… We Search You Save!