Frugal Living in the City
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There are many advantages to living in a big city but the higher associated cost is definitely not one! Here are six sure fire tips to help you save and make the most of your money.
1. Work Out Where Your Money Goes
The first step to better budgeting is to know exactly what you are spending your money on. To build an accurate picture, try keeping an expenses diary for a month. Write down every amount that you spend, no matter how small. At the end of the month, tally up the totals for utilities, mortgage/rent, transport, food, entertainment and so on. Some of the results may surprise you and suggest some clear areas where future savings could be made.
2. Make Sure you are Getting the Best Deal
Shopping around for the best deals on your insurance, mortgage, utilities, mobile phone, landline, television and broadband can save you hundreds of pounds per year. Try online price comparison sites as a good starting point, but remember not all providers are represented on these websites and it may therefore be necessary to contact certain providers separately for a quote. Once you have your lowest quote, do not stop there. Contact your current provider and ask if they can better it!
3. Save on Transport
For many people living in a city, the cost of transport and commuting makes up a big percentage of their monthly spend. If you travel by train, a season ticket usually works out cheaper than paying for a daily or even weekly fare. Many companies offer interest free loans to their employees for purchasing yearly rail tickets. If not, you could look into the option of a credit card offering zero percent interest rates for purchases and use this for buying your season ticket instead. Just be sure to pay off the balance before the promotional period ends to avoid paying any interest charges.
4. Do You Even Need a Car?
If you live in a big city and you have a car, ask yourself the question: ‘do I really need it?’ Selling your car can put instant cash in your pocket and will save you a fortune in servicing, MOT, repairs, road tax and insurance costs over the course of a year.
If you cannot bear to part with your motor, there are still ways that you can help to offset the cost of car ownership. If you use your car to commute to work, sharing lifts can help save money and earn you some extra cash towards your travel costs. Check out the Liftshare website (www.liftshare.com/uk) to search for fellow car-poolers in your area. Parking costs in big cities can also be exorbitant. Avoid paying for car parking by visiting www.freeparkingspace.co.uk and typing in your location to find a selection of free car parking spaces in cities across the UK.
5. Make Money as you Spend
If you are someone who always clears the balance on your credit card each month, a cash back credit card could be a great option for you. A credit card such as the Capital One Aspire World MasterCard pays up to five per cent on your purchases, while the Santander 123 card pays between one and three per cent on purchases, depending on what you buy.
If you shop online, cash back sites are also worth considering. Registering and then clicking through from a site such as Quidco or Topcashback could earn you cash back on your shopping from a wide range of online retailers including Asda, Argos and Waterstones.
6. Work Those Assets
If you have a spare room in your house or flat, renting it out could prove lucrative. You can earn up to £4,250 a year tax free under the government’s rent a room scheme. Sites such as www.spareroom.co.uk offer options to advertise your room for free or you could rely on word of mouth. Remember, in big cities commuters occasionally look specifically for weekday lets, which is a good option if you are not so keen on the idea of a full time lodger.
If you have a driveway or dedicated parking space, you can also potentially hire this out and earn up to one hundred pounds a month. Advertise your parking space at www.parkatmyhouse.com where listing is free with commission due on payment.
Finally, websites such as EcoModo and RentMyItems allow you to advertise and hire out almost any object you can think of! Some sites charge a fee, so check out the terms and conditions. You can earn around five pounds a day hiring out a bike rack or pet carrier and around thirty pounds for hiring out your carpet cleaner for the weekend.