Have you ever heard of the term ‘swallow the frog?’ I hadn’t either until a colleague introduced me to this saying- it essentially means doing something that you’ve been putting off, or getting a horrible task done. Once it’s done, it’s done, it’s swallowed and gone!
At work, this might mean dealing with a difficult email from someone, but more generally, these can be things like finally getting round to applying for a refund on a delayed train journey- something that is a pretty mundane task, but once it’s done, you can reap the benefit of it.
In January, it is the perfect time to get these little niggling tasks out of the way- especially if there is some money to be made or saved. Been wanting to start a side hustle for like, ever? January is the perfect time to do so- no one else has any money, and you can begin a project during these long dark evenings.
Here are 50 money tips to help you start the year off right- I know that I am certainly needing to swallow the frog on a few things on this list. Anyone else been meaning to swap their energy supplier since the dawn of electricity?!
1.Swap energy suppliers
There are so many of us who are yet to switch our energy supplier- 30% in fact, and the truth is, we are giving away money when we really don’t need to. If you are in rented accommodation, check your tenancy agreement to make sure that you have the all clear to make this change. If not, it’s worth chatting to your landlord to explain why you want to make a switch. Not only can switching save you money, but it could also help the environment if you switch to a green energy supplier.
2. Take out insurance policies
I’ve been meaning to get both life insurance and contents insurance for the last 6 months, and this month is going to finally be the month where I sign up. Yep, it’s really not wise of me to not have these insurance policies in place, and they could save me a LOT of money one day.
3. Chase up late invoices
If you currently do any freelance work, you’ve probably got a few payments outstanding or overdue at the moment- chase them up and get paid.
4. Automate savings
This is my number one tip to make sure that you consistently reach your savings goals. By automating your savings and putting a set amount of money into a separate account each month, you will see your savings pot flourish by the end of the year.
5. Meal planning
After rent, bills and travel, food is definitely my biggest monthly expense. By getting into a routine of meal planning, you will begin to see the cost of your groceries drop, as well as the amount of wasted food.
6. Air miles points
Something I need to do this January is get the Avios points that I have accrued from work travel transferred into my account. I also use the British Airways American Express card where I can redeem 1 Avios point for every pound that is spent on the card. Needless to say, the card is paid off in full every month. Is there any air miles or frequent flier points that you could be redeeming?
7. Download a survey app
Survey apps are the perfect way to make a little bit of extra cash whilst commuting. My favourite is Yougov which offers interesting, relevant surveys with quick building points. It doesn’t take long to reach the £50 mark and you can cash this out in PayPal. Sign up here.
8. Cut down and cancel subscriptions
Go through your account and look out for any subscription costs that are cropping up each month- could these be cancelled? Whether it’s an Amazon Prime free trial that never got cancelled, or an app which takes a subscription fee each month, there is probably something which can get cut.
9. Sell unwanted clothes
Have a little new year cleanse and finally get round to listing your unwanted clothes on eBay or Depop to make some cash. You’ll be clutter free and you’ll get some extra money for your efforts. If you begin a love affair with selling online, you could even turn it into a side hustle and delve into reselling (buying something secondhand and flipping it for profit).
Check out my guide to the best charity shops in West London if you are looking to resell for a profit.
10. Chase up any refunds
If your train or flight has been delayed over the Christmas period (I had both!), you are probably due some compensation or a partial refund. Keep chasing these up until they get paid- often they will just get brushed under the carpet by the travel company.
11. Talk to people about your finances
If you have a loved one or two who you trust, why not share your financial woes and goals with them? Money needs to become less of a taboo and more of a spoken about subject. If you voice your woes or your goals with a friend or partner, they are likely to want to support you.
12. Check phone contracts
Is your phone contract up for renewal? Is there a better deal out there with another supplier? Do some research to find a deal that suits your phone usage- you could save yourself money each and every month by doing so.
13. Write down your goals
Did you know that by writing down your goals on paper, you are more likely to achieve them? Whether the goal is financial or not, commit them to paper and revisit them often to make sure that you are making steps towards those goals every day.
14. Batch cooking
Batch cooking meals from scratch is not only a healthier way of cooking, but it also means that you are left with very little waste afterwards. By cooking in batches you will also save yourself some time- something every millennial never seems to have!
15. Return sales purchases you don’t love
So you’ve bought 5 things in Zara, and the queue for the changing rooms was so long that you didn’t try them on. 2 things don’t quite fit how you thought they would, but your nearest Zara store is a 40 minute tube journey away. Just go. Return the items and get your money back.
16. Stop buying bottled water
We all know this one. Our plastic consumption is slowly killing the environment we live in, and if there is one contribution we make this year- make it this one.
17. Bring lunch to work
Taking a packed lunch to work is not just for primary school kids- it can save you hundreds of pounds a year. It’s super simple to make an extra portion of food the night before (see batch cooking in point 14) and heat it up at work the next day.
18. Write a monthly budget
Sit down and get down to the real nitty gritty of your finances. Go through your bank statement and see how much you are spending in each area of your life, and if you want or need to cut back, do so.
19. Use the freezer
The freezer is your friend (if you have one, not everyone is lucky enough to do so in London!) I have started to freeze absolutely anything which really does help to save money. For example, there is a soup I regularly make and one of the ingredients is tomato juice. I used to buy a carton of tomato juice each time, but now I freeze the leftovers into 300ml portions.
20. Take up a side hustle
Make 2019 the year of the side hustle. Whether you’re a maker, a writer, a shopper or a seller- there is a hustle for everyone. You can make it your mission to be a hustler this year.
21. Sign up to cashback websites
Cashback websites are a sure fire way to make cash without even trying. My favourites are Topcashback and Quidco- my best cashback so far has been on car hire abroad, but you can get cashback on pretty much anything you buy online.
22. …and download the app to your phone
I swallowed this particular frog earlier this month and finally downloaded the cashback apps to my phone as I found that I was making a lot of purchases using my smartphone, and then forgetting to claim cashback.
23. Search for voucher codes for online purchases
Before making any online purchase, check for any available voucher codes or sign up schemes that you might be eligible for to get a percentage off your purchase, or maybe some free delivery- every little helps!
24. Join the library
Our local libraries are beginning to close, and they need our support to remain a valuable resource in our communities. Instead of heading to Amazon when a new book gets released, you can just pop down to your local library and read it for free!
25. Get a rail card
If you are aged between 16 and 30, you can get a third off all rail travel for the price of £30 a year. The card pays for itself with one return journey from London to Liverpool!
26. …and add it to your oyster card
You can also add your rail card to your oyster card for reduced fares on the London Underground. Just ask one of the attendants at a London underground station and they will be able to help arrange this for you.
27. Check out free things to do in London
Have you ever read my Free Things to do in London series? Get a ton of free ideas for days out in the capital.
28. Find a way of budgeting that suits you
Whether you prefer to budget with cash, or using the old fashioned pen and paper method, make it your goal for January to find a budgeting method that works for you.
29. Sign up to birthday freebies
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Find out all the things you can get your hands on for your birthday in this post. You can even get a £5 Paperchase voucher with their loyalty card!
30. Replace takeaway coffees with homemade ones
If you buy a coffee everyday on the way to work, it adds up to hundreds and hundreds of pounds over the course of a year- enough for a holiday! Cut this out and get yourself a reusable cup.
31. Check out the charity shops
You can find amazing bargains in charity shops- even in London! From clothing to homeware, if you need something new, you can find something second hand for a fraction of the cost of a brand new item.
32. Use up toiletries and make up before buying more
Anyone else got a huge stash of mini shower gels, soaps and body lotions from hotels, gift sets and the like? Make it your mission to use these up before buying your usual brand.
33. Expand your financial horizons with podcasts and audiobooks
If you’re a regular commuter, you might find yourself with a lot of time on your hands. Why not use this time to your advantage? I have a 40 minute walk to and from walk every day, and this year I am making sure I use that time to do some learning through podcasts and audiobooks.
34. Check eBay first
If you are about to make a purchase online, always check eBay first to see if it is available more cheaply. I always do this and more often than not, eBay has the best deals.
35. Use price comparison websites
Price comparison websites are a great online tool to ensure that you always get the best deals for high price items, or high competition purchases such as travel insurance.
36. Change broadband provider
If you are lucky enough to have a few options for your broadband provider (our area is only served by one provider sadly!), use the start of the year as an opportunity to see if you could save some money if you switched.
37. Download a receipt app
My receipt app of choice is Shoppix where you can upload photos of your receipts, and gain points which you can then redeem in vouchers or cash out in PayPal. Use my sign up code DGAOXURP and we will both get 200 points!
38. Use loyalty cards
If there are stores that you frequently shop at, or restaurants which you often frequent, make full use of their loyalty card scheme (if they have one). You’ll soon build up points and be on your way to a freebie.
39. Forego the best before dates on fruit and veg
Use your own initiative to determine whether fruit and veg is past its best- most fruit and veg can go a few days past its best before date before it is no longer good to eat. By not throwing away perfectly good food, you’ll save yourself some money and cut down on waste.
40. Exercise for free
If your gym membership isn’t seeing much love, it might be time to cut the membership fees and start exercising for free. Whether you choose work out videos or jogging, it will definitely make a difference to your bank balance.
41. Create “fake-away” recipes
When the desire for Just Eat or UberEats rears its head, it’s easy to open up the app and get your favourite food delivered straight to your door. But it does often come with a big price tag. Find yourself some ‘fake away’ or homemade takeaway options which require little effort but still hit the spot. Frozen pizzas work a treat.
42. Use up your change
We all have change rattling round in a drawer, in our purse, at the bottom of our bags. But instead of it staying there, why not use it? Self-service machines are a great option to get rid of loose change.
43. Convert foreign currency back to GBP
Got a load of foreign currency stashed away somewhere? Keeping it just in case you go back to the same country? Change it back to pounds and put it to some good use.
44. Start matched betting
45. Get your accounts in order from the start
Planning on making some side hustle income this year? You will need to make sure that this is declared to HMRC. To make your life easier when the time comes to fill out your tax return, keep your receipts, invoices and records in order from the start.
46. Claim back expenses
Does your work offer any perks like a free eye test examination? Check your contract to find out if you can redeem any such expenses.
47. Do you need a TV license?
If you don’t watch BBC television programmes or watch BBC iPlayer, you are not required to pay for a TV license. You could make a monthly saving if you think you could go without!
48. Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund is pot of savings which is set aside to be used in emergencies only- if your car breaks down, your landlord ends your tenancy, or you lose your job. The amount that you save into the emergency fund will depend on your own bills and expenditure, but it is ideal to have around 3 months expenses saved.
49. Make do and mend
Do you know how to sew? If not, it’s a really valuable skill to have- watch a couple of YouTube videos and you can soon learn how. Mending broken clothes is really quite easy, and it can save you from buying something new.
50. Begin investing, if you’re ready
One of my new year’s resolutions is start investing in a stocks and shares ISA, there is no time like the present to begin investing for the future if you are debt free and have some surplus income.
So there we have it, 50 money tips to help make 2019 your best financial year yet. Do let me know in the comments whether you are putting any new financial habits into place this year- I know I am!