Money Matters Team

Top tips for spring-cleaning your finances

By Money Matters Team 21/01/2016

From cutting out coffee to getting your workout for free, we asked the bloggers in the know for their tips on getting your finances in order.

1. Workout for free

"Is your gym membership too expensive? Then how about free gym sessions? The Great Outdoor Gym Company has more than 500 free-to-use outdoor community gyms in the UK - find your nearest at tgogc.com. Next to the equipment are instructions and a QR code to link to fitness trainers via YouTube. Some of the equipment has even been upgraded to produce energy while it's being used so you can charge your mobile while you're working out. Amazing. A brilliant way to keep yourself lean and your wallet fat."

Peter Millikin, finance blogger at youcouldsave.co.uk.

2. Save on vets' bills

"The biggest bills you’ll face could be from your vet, so do everything you can to avoid unnecessary visits. Buy the best food you can afford, get rid of fleas and ticks straight away, and get a pet first-aid kit to safely treat minor cuts and scrapes at home. It's also worth taking advantage of the Dogs Trust free microchipping events (it will be law from April 2016 for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped) to help reunite you with your dog should it go missing."

Jessica Maccio, blogger at velcrodog.co.uk.

3. Set up a bills-only account

"Open a joint 'bills only' account with your partner and never miss a payment date again.

  • Step 1 Tot up how much your bills will be each month.
  • Step 2 Agree how to split the overall cost between you - if one earns more, they pay more, for instance.
  • Step 3 Set up standing orders to transfer the agreed amount automatically into the bills account at the beginning of each month.
  • Step 4 Don't forget to change the Direct Debit details of your bills to your new account."
Jenni Tulip, blogger at thethriftymagpiesnest.co.uk.

4. Cut the costs of your daily coffee

"We all have money vices, with mine being those all too frequent (two a day) coffees I buy out. I'll never give them up, but these tricks help justify them...

  • Sign up to My Starbucks Rewards and you get one free coffee for every 15 you buy - and a free cup on your birthday.
  • If you're an independent coffee shop fan, use a loyalty card and keep it in your purse so it's handy every time you visit. It's also worth making friends with your local baristas. Mine give me free stamps and tell me where the best Wi-Fi spot is.
  • Get freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door by joining a coffee club like Pact, which sends bags of artisan coffee for £6.95 (your first is just £1!)."
Coffee-addict Danielle Welton @EditorWelton.

5. Sell your unwanted clothes

"Cultivate a killer instinct when clearing out your wardrobe. If it doesn't make you look or feel great, give it a new home - and make a few pounds while you're at it. The best place to sell your neglected designer accessories is via an online consignment site like vestiairecollective.com - it's catnip for shoppers looking for discounted designer pieces. My advice, though: just don't start browsing!"

Torri Mundell, Sainsbury's Tu fashion editor @Editorri.

6. Make your own pizzas

"According to a report in the Daily Mail, the ingredients for a Domino's margherita cost around £1.36 but the finished pizza is sold on for about £13.50 (which is almost a 900% markup*). It might be time to save loads of dough (sorry) by doing it yourself. Here are three ways to spend less on your favourite takeaway:

  • Pizza dough is actually really easy to make and it freezes well, so always make double. Divide into portions then wrap tightly in cling film and freeze. Take it out to defrost in the morning and it will be ready to roll by dinner time.
  • Leftover parmesan? Add it to your homemade pizza dough for extra flavour.
  • If you don't want to make your own dough, try using wraps, naan breads or even crumpets instead. Spread with a little pizza sauce and scatter over your chosen topping, then bake until bubbling."
Linzi Brechin, Sainsbury's Magazine food team manager @lbreeks.

*Daily Mail, 2011. Figures adjusted for inflation according to the Bank of England Find out how much you could save every month with our handy savings calculator.

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.

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