We all know watching what you spend can really have an effect on your savings pot. From switching to a cheaper energy provider to swapping your daily sourdough sandwich from the local deli for a packed lunch. But what about more unusual tips that can help you boost your savings?
While low interest rates remain, savvy savers across the UK can adopt a few simple changes to make the most of their savings. Alun Williams, commercial director of savings at Shawbrook Bank, shares his top tips and advice to show how thinking less traditionally could help see an increase to your savings pot.
1. Lights, camera, action – thermal cameras are rolling
Windows and doors that let drafts in are a complete waste of energy. You can use your hand to check for obvious drafts but what about those smaller drafts that let the heat out without you knowing?
This is where thermal cameras can help. Energy companies such as Octopus Energy offer free use of these devices that provide a visual, real-time answer to where your energy is escaping.
This type of tech is also easy to use. You plug them into a mobile phone which links to your camera and in turn, reveals the exact spots in your property where heat is being lost.
Once you identify where the heat is going, you can introduce simple, cheap fixes. For example, adding draught excluders for doors, letterboxes and keyholes or loft hatch insulation pillows can significantly reduce energy loss. You can also add rugs if exposed floorboards are the culprits.
Whether it is your home or business, these simple additions will keep energy in, bills down and give you extra money to put into savings.
2. Growing your own to grow your savings
Consumers love organic, home-grown produce with sales jumping by 6 per cent over lockdown alone. If you have your own food-related business, why not think about growing your own vegetables, fruit or herbs to add to your signature dishes? It’ll not only appeal to customers but could also save you a bit of money that you can put away into savings.
Take baby carrots for example. If you were to buy 1kg of baby carrots at the supermarket, this would cost approximately £3.30. If you grow them (taking growing materials required out of the equation), it will cost 25p – a saving of £3.05 per kilo.
This type of saving applies to a variety of other produce that can easily be grown in gardens, pots or if you’re lucky enough, in your own allotment.
For everyday eating at home, you can take items from your fridge – including tomatoes, chilis, cucumbers, peppers and lemons – and use the seeds to grow your own. Beyond the savings, the mental and physical health benefits of growing your own produce are added bonuses.
3. How streamlining your streaming could boost your savings
The past year has been strange for most people. Some have turned to baking sourdough bread and reigniting a love for baking and cooking, while some have binge-watched every new series going. But now the world is starting to reopen, it’s time to streamline your expenses so you can keep doing what you love, while not letting your spending spiral out of control.
Take cooking for example. If you prefer the look and feel of books over digital recipes, why not skip the expense of paying for a cookbook and borrow from your local library. Joining is free and you can take new books out whenever you want.
If you really can’t put down your tablet and prefer the digital experience, libraries offer an app called BorrowBox where you can download e-books and audio books to your heart’s content.
If it’s blockbusters that you crave, why not visit cinemas at off-peak times? Change your viewing time by just an hour will give you a discount. But if you can’t change your schedule and love watching the latest films, loyalty schemes could be in your favour.
From £9.99, Odeon and Cineworld both offer unlimited visits to the big screen. With average single tickets costing upwards of £10, it’s a no-brainer.
For home-birds who prefer Netflix, Amazon or Disney+, if you tend to consume your favourite films and programmes on your tablet or iPad, now might be the time to rethink your TV license.
One in four UK adults prefer watching subscription video services, opposed to broadcast TV. Ditching your TV license if you don’t want live TV, could give you an extra £159 each year to top up your savings pot.
4. Shop around
When it comes to food shopping, consumers and businesses alike want to know they are getting the best deal. But who has spare time to spend hours trawling through shops or websites for everyday items?
For small restaurants or other food related businesses, there’s an app called Olioex. It allows local firms to buy and sell surplus food that might otherwise go to waste This includes food nearing its sell-by date, spare home-grown vegetables, or even non-food household items. All you need to do is download the app, browse the listings, and arrange a pick-up.
These types of apps reduce waste and allow you to operate more sustainably. They also save you money on top-price items that are entirely good to eat or resell. Ultimately, it will help shave some money off your weekly expenses that can be added to your savings pot – while you do your bit for the planet.