Newcastle mum-of-three turned UK’s new favourite personal finance blogger, Ashleigh Swan, gives millions of people the tools to drive down the cost of everyday living. She's given us top secret access to 8 of her best money saving tips. 

1. Know your budget

Working out exactly how much you have both coming in and going out per week and per month is fundamental to controlling your finances.

From here, you can see what your biggest outgoings are, areas where savings can be made and where those savings are best put to use.

If you don’t know your figures, you risk overspending or losing track of any good progress you’re making with saving. Not only can this leave you short-changed but can also be seriously demotivating. 

 

2. Play the long game

Don’t ‘impulse buy’! High street stores get away with charging premium prices because they offer convenience. The chances are that whatever you’re after is available elsewhere for less, you just need to search.

There are apps that allow you to scan an item’s barcode in the shop to compare prices or, if you’re not a tech whiz, keep a list and browse online at home.

Going away to compare other offers also helps to assess whether what you’re buying is really essential.

 

3. Sign up to email newsletters for your favourite brands and stores

To avoid an inbox full of spam, take the time to tailor your email preferences to your interests and think about setting up an alternative email address to use purely for this purpose.

Set the emails to redirect into a ‘money-saving’ folder in your main email account and you’ll soon have a handy stock of personalised savings codes and vouchers that don’t disturb your main stream of messages.

 

4. Know when the sales are coming

Big stores such as furniture and electrical shops have regular sale events—find out what time and date they start and research products beforehand, noting the prices.

Store assistants should be able to tell you when the next sales will be.

 

5. Limit your food shopping

If you break your food shop into lots of small trips throughout the week, you’re likely to spend more as you pick up little extras each time. Give yourself a weekly budget and try to limit your trips to a couple of times a week.

Going in person is a great way to spot the best bargains, and concentrating on the ‘price per weight’ will show you the true value. For example, a branded item might appear cheaper on the label, but if it is only half the size, it’s not such a great deal. 

 

6. Plan a year in advance

The best time to buy seasonal stock is just after peak time, when everyone else is moving onto the next event.

The January sales are the savvy shopper's perfect time to grab next year’s Christmas gifts, and don’t wait until the frost falls to buy your winter coat or boots.

It’s true that stores do inflate prices at peak shopping times like Valentine’s Day. Planning ahead and buying your gifts in advance pays dividends.

 

7. Don’t get stuck with your suppliers

Set yourself a reminder at least once a year to do a thorough check of what’s on offer, including energy, gas, insurance and mobile suppliers as well as the banks.

Switching is now easier than ever and offers some of the biggest saving potential. 

 

8. Go electric

Consider switching to an electric car. Petrol or diesel car owners spend over £1,000 more every year on garage bills and fuel alone.

Add to this the savings that electric car drivers earn from free parking in many places and paying no road tax and it’s a no-brainer!

Driving an electric car is a great way to enjoy modern motoring technology without breaking the bank.

 

Ashleigh Swan is an ambassador for the Go Ultra Low campaign. Find out more at goultralow.com or visit her blog at ashleighmoneysaver.co.uk

 

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