Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!
It's the long month of cash-strapped January. Most of us haven’t been paid since before the Christmas holidays, and the next wage seems a long way off. But worry not; there are lots of quick ways to make your money go further while still having fun.
Top Tweeter and Huffington Post blogger Anna-Louise Dearden has some easy ways to save a little each week during January that’ll add up to a whole lot by the end of the month.
5. Save £1 a day = £31
Substituting your daily flat white with a homemade coffee is the obvious one, but what about starting a coffee club? Sarah, who works for a charity in the Midlands, clubs together with two other caffeine lovers and they make a 'proper' coffee every day.
"I brought a spare cafetière into work that was just collecting dust at home, and each week one of us buys a packet of coffee. It usually lasts us until Friday. This way we get to try blends we normally wouldn't and we save at least a £1 a day."
4. Save £5 a week = £20
"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book"– author unknown
Books can fill the void of a skint month while making you smarter and entertaining you in the bleak midwinter. So now is the time to join the local library. It gets you out of the house and you may find yourself spending hours in the biography section, or some other genre new to you.
Want to include other friends in your literary circle? Meet up for drinks and all bring along five favourite reads to swap. You'll have your head in a book until February!
3. Save £10 a week = £40
Most people will already have knocked socialising on the head due to lack of January funds, but you can't be a hermit the whole month, so how about trying the various cinema offers available?
You can redeem your Nectar points at Vue cinemas – 500 points will knock £2.50 off your ticket. Times+ members get two-for-one Odeon cinema tickets every Saturday and Sunday, half price Picturehouse membership and access to regular free preview screenings. And if you subscribe to the Telegraph, you can attend free preview screenings.
If you go during weekdays, there are lots of ways to save. Empire Cinemas offer cheap tickets on a Tuesday at £4.50 each. It also offers discounts on some films that are coming to the end of their run on Last Chance To See Thursdays. Odeon offers Supersaver tickets Mon-Thurs before 5pm. And Vue has Super Tuesdays at most of its cinemas, which offers up to a third off all day on a Tuesday.
Nick, a film lover from Barnsley, says: "Me and my mate take it in turns to source a new movie or meal deal every week and we save loads. It's actually turned into a bit of a competition."
2. Save £25 a fortnight = £50
Food! There are always savings to be had where grub is concerned. Run your own Come Dine With Me night with three friends so you get three free meals in a month. It's fun, cheap and you get to try new things.
If you're not feeling sociable, food savings can still work. Understand the difference between 'best before' and 'use by' dates so you’re not throwing away food unnecessarily (according to lovefoodhatewaste.com, the average household in the UK wastes £470-£500 a year on unused food, equating to around £10 a week). Also, check out these great meal planners from Sainsbury's. They show you how to cook once then use the leftovers for to make more meals for the rest of the week.
1. Save £50 a month = £50 (or more)
Look at your energy bills. Jason from Widnes recently switched his gas and electricity supplier to Sainsbury’s Energy and saved a whopping £800 a year. "I couldn't believe the savings, but the best deals aren't always visible on price comparison sites, so spend an extra 10 minutes going direct. It really can pay off."
If you've already pulled the energy belt in, why not get your hair done on the cheap as a hairdresser's model? Even if it's not completely free, most salons will do a big reduction.
Total saved = £191
And a final tip that will pay dividends all through the year...
When you look at your Christmas pile of gifts, do you wonder if anyone even knows you? Because let's face it, if they did would you be in receipt of those hideous moccasin slippers?
Instead of throwing the unwanted items into the back of the Narnia cupboard, regift. Just be prepared to get them back from Aunty Ethel next Christmas!
For more money-saving ideas to get you through January, check out the top tips from our favorite bloggers on their savvy New Year's resolutions.
This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.