How to save money as a family in 2021
Save money in 2021 with help from Simple Fast Loans!
Christmas is nearly here which most probably means that you are really broke right now! Despite all our good intentions, most of us tend to overspend at Christmas. Even though 2020 has been such a difficult year, we still find ourselves falling into that same old trap.
So now is a really good time to start making resolutions for 2021. One of them has got to be to save money, right? But if you’re really going to make that work, it needs to involve the whole family.
Here are our Top Ten Tips about ways you can save money together as a family in 2021:
1. Don’t spend money you haven’t got
First things first. If you want to get your finances back on track, and manage to save money, then you need to be determined to live within your means.
One key part of this is only buying things if you have the money to pay for them. It is too easy to get into the habit of using credit cards to buy things now rather than waiting until you can really afford them. But then your credit card debt gets higher and more interest is added on, and it can spiral out of control. You can end up in the position of only repaying the interest on your balance rather than the actual debt itself.
So why not agree as a family that you will only use credit cards in case of a genuine emergency? Put them away in a safe place and use real money – cash or debit card – for everything you need to buy. Anything extra will have to wait until you have enough money to get it.
Once you get into the discipline of doing this, it will become easier and you will soon start to save money.
2. Don’t automatically buy new
Most of us buy new things without really thinking about whether we actually need them, or if there is somewhere else we could get them from. This is particularly the case with clothes but could apply to anything else too, for example shoes and accessories, gadgets, household goods, electrical appliances, books, CDs and DVDs.
So why not set your family a challenge in 2021 that if you do need to get something, then you try and find an alternative, cheaper, source than just going to a shop and buying it new. Try looking at online sites such as eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace and also local ads and social media groups. Not forgetting charity shops of course. Not only will you save money, but you will be playing your part in helping to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint.
3. Plan your food shopping
During 2020 – particularly the first lockdown – many of us have changed the way we do our food shopping. We have been able to get out to shops less often so have had to plan our shopping more carefully. This is something that is worth continuing as it can help to save money.
Planning your food shopping should mean that you only buy what you need and don’t end up throwing away food that doesn’t get eaten. As you get into the routine of doing this, it becomes easier. You will also find that you get more familiar with what you already have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer, so that you can buy ingredients that can combine with these and reduce wastage even further. You will begin to save money that you can then use for other purposes.
4. Bring your own lunch
Another advantage of planning your food shopping more carefully is that you can start to use more home-made food in your daily lives. If your kids take their own lunch to school and/or you are still travelling to work, you can start using up leftover ingredients instead of processed foods. Not only is this less wasteful but it can be much more appetising. Check out websites such as Love Food Hate Waste for creative recipe ideas.
You can also save money by taking your own drinks when you are out and about rather than buying takeaway coffees. By using a travel mug and taking coffee from home you could save up to several hundred pounds a year!
5. Reduce takeaways
On the subject of home-made food, why not have the occasional gourmet evening at home instead of ordering a takeaway? Takeaway food is great for a family treat, but the cost can really mount up if you have takeaways a lot.
So how about taking turns in your family to organise a special meal that everyone will enjoy. Perhaps there is something that you’ve always wanted to try making but have never got round to it? Now is your chance! You can make it more fun by having a theme for the night, or by doing something a bit different, like a winter picnic. Let your imagination run riot, and have a fun foodie evening that will also save money.
6. Entertain at home
2020 has been the year of staying in. Not only that, but a lot of the time we have also not been able to see other people in our homes. We can’t wait to get out again! But even when the restrictions are relaxed, you might want to introduce staying in as the new going out.
Yes, we are all looking forward to being able to have a great night out again. And so we should. But going out for a night can end up being very expensive, especially if we do it a lot. So it might be an idea to mix it up a bit more in 2021. Have some brilliant nights out, once we all can, but alternate these with equally brilliant nights in. Take turns with family or friends to host an evening, and you will all have lots of fun but save money at the same time.
7. Save energy
One way we can really save money, particularly over the winter, is by reducing the amount of energy that we use. Our recent article How to save money on energy bills this winter gives lots of tips about how to do this.
Getting into good habits now will enable you to save money at the most expensive time of year for energy, and then carry these forward into spring and beyond. You will notice the difference in your energy bills and will have more money to spend over the summer.
8. Pay less for your phone, broadband and TV
If only! Many of us rely on our phones and the Internet for pretty much everything. The problem is that we can drift into spending far too much without realising.
So it’s important to keep your phone, broadband and TV tariffs under regular review. If you think you are paying too much, start looking for other providers to switch to. Websites such as USwitch or Money Supermarket can help with this. You may also find that your current provider will offer you a better deal if you tell them that you are thinking of switching.
However, you also need to think carefully about what you are using. This particularly applies to extras. If you regularly go over your phone or data allowance then maybe you need to either change your tariff or find different ways of doing things. If you are in the expensive habit of always purchasing on-demand movies, why not limit this to one a week and watch TV movies or DVDs instead the rest of the time.
There are definitely ways that you can save money on your phone, broadband and TV, and it will be well worth the effort it will take to do this.
During lockdown, there was a lot of emphasis on rethinking the way we get around. We were encouraged not to use public transport if we could avoid it. But there is also a general discouragement from using our cars unnecessarily, for environmental considerations.
Whatever situation you are in, it makes sense to try and economise on your transport costs. If you are able to either cycle or walk to where you are going then try to do this as much as you can. If you do need to use public transport then look into season tickets and off-peak travel.
If you commute by car, it would be worth seeing if you can car share with a neighbour or colleague. And when you have to use the car for domestic matters, try to combine several errands into one trip rather than continually going in and out during the course of a day.
All of these measures will help you to save money, and also reduce your carbon footprint.
10. Self care
One thing that the pandemic has taught us is the need to be kind to ourselves. Which is something that we definitely need to continue as life begins to return to some kind of normality.
It’s good to get out and exercise, look after our bodies, and treat ourselves to getting our hair done or a salon treatment. The problem is that all of this self care can work out to be pretty expensive. So we need to find a balance between looking after ourselves well but not spending a small fortune in the process.
Here are five ways that you can save money on self care:
- Instead of paying for a gym, have a look around your area to see if there are any free outdoor gyms. These can be a great way of keeping fit for free. If not, then how about having a go at the Couch25K running programme, tuning into Youtube fitness routines or designing a workout that you can do at home.
- Check out local hairdressers and beauty salons to see if they have any discounts or special offers available. Some may also offer cheaper rates if you are happy to be a model for a trainee.
- Also see if there are any local colleges that run hairdressing or beauty therapy courses. You may be able to book appointments with students, who will perform treatments (fully supervised) for very competitive prices.
- How about organising a health and beauty evening for you and a few friends, once social distancing measures are relaxed? Either pay for someone who can do hair and beauty treatments or see if any of you have some relevant experience and you could give each other treatments.
- Instead of all your family or friends paying a small fortune on expensive hair and beauty products that you may only use occasionally, could you each buy one or two things and let each other use them when needed? This is a great way to save money but still be able to use some fantastic products.
We hope that the above tips help you and your family to save money in 2021. Just imagine if this time next year you were not broke, because you had managed to stick to some of the above ideas and save money as a result. Here’s hoping it works for you!
Remember to check back here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Simple Fast Loans.