It's 2014, and people in the UK are looking for ways to save money. The darkest months bring the elephantine costs of Christmas presents and festivities, winter holidays and increased energy bills. If you're worried about how you are going to afford your tax bill, or your car breaking down in the cold and needing urgent repairs, then the following tips should help you make it through to spring with cash to spare.
1. Make a list of all your outstanding debts and rank them by APR. The highest APR debts should be paid off first. Pay only the minimum on debts with lower interest rates, or call your creditor and ask for an extension.
2. If you're not already, start using Money Dashboard's budgeting software to keep track of where your money is being spent, and identify areas where you are overspending and could cut back.
3. Some financial bad habits can be hard to quit, so don't try to take on too much at once. For example, in the first two weeks of the year, try cutting out the daily coffee on the way to work. Then once you've got it out of your routine, start making lunchtime sandwiches each morning for a couple of weeks. The next week try halving the amount of cigarettes you smoke in a day, or alcohol you drink at the weekend. Step by step, you'll get used to living a more frugal lifestyle.
4. Buy a cook book centred on quick and easy meals, and cook at home as often as possible instead of buying convenience food, ordering take-away or eating out. If you do go out, look for BYOB restaurants to save on the cost of drinks.
5. Sell unwanted Christmas presents or no-longer-needed clothes, books, media or electronics online, or donate them to charity shops. Charity shops take in a lot of stock at this time of year so have a look around for clothes or other items now instead of spending more later on in the year.
6. Do a price comparison search to see if you can get a better deal on your landline phone, broadband, and TV package. In the Save section of our website you can compare broadband deals.
7. Similarly, the Money Dashboard Save section allows you to compare energy prices to make sure you're getting the best deal on gas and electricity.