Whether it's nestled in your own head or something that you've talked about to family and/or friends, we all have a plan for life. To help you meet your goals or reach for that challenge, we asked independent journalist, Kenny Kemp, for some hints and tips on how to get there.
Saving money doesn’t mean you have to sit at home alone on weekends! There are loads of free or subsidised places that are well worth a visit. For example, a National Art Pass from Artfund will get you into hundreds of museums, historic houses, galleries and castles for a small annual fee. A National Art Pass starts from £45 per annum.
Everyone looks forward to taking a holiday, but not if you spend the time worrying about money. Before you choose a destination, check currency rates to get the best value, and make sure you keep your travel money safe and accessible while you’re on the move.
It's great selling stuff that's been gathering dust in the spare room. You could either do it on the net, or go to a boot sale. You can de-clutter and make money at the same time.
Using your nearest local library could mean you’ll never need to buy a cookbook, guidebook or lifestyle manual again. Borrowing books and CDs is currently free and many new DVDs cost just £2.50 a week or £1 for kids’ films. Many libraries also now offer e-book lending which means you can load books to your Kindle or tablet at no cost.
Sit down with your pay slips or business accounts and figure out what you really earn in a year. Then look at all your bills and statements. What do you think comes under the heading ‘Optional’? You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make a few cuts here and there.
More than 5 million people across the UK have the wrong tax code, which means you could be paying too much income tax. If you notice your tax numbers don’t add up, tell HM Revenue and Customs about it.1
According to research, almost half of the salad we buy goes in the bin, while the average family throws away £480 on uneaten groceries every year. Planning in advance and avoiding shopping when you’re hungry can help you avoid making impulse purchases.2
Married to your favourite brand? Often a supermarket’s own-brand groceries are made by the same companies that make big-brand goods, but at reduced prices. They may also contain less salt and sugar, making it a healthier option without cutting down on the taste.
Use search engines or comparison websites for that television or phone that you simply must have. You’ll find there can be an enormous difference in price between vendors. OK, you may have to wait a bit, but a bargain is far more satisfying.
It’s not just about saving you money: switching off your electrical appliances is good for the environment because it can reduce carbon dioxide emissions. By flicking that switch at the wall, you could save between £45 and £80 every year.3
If it’s in front of a heater, it’s taking up most of the energy that could be warming up your living room.
If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank, then you may be able to fit a water efficient shower head. Some water companies give them away for free. Just get in touch with your water company to see if you are eligible. You could save around £65 a year on water heating, and £95 on water bills if you install a water meter.4
(1) The Guardian, HMRC gets tax wrong for 5.5 million people
(2) Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Global Food, Waste Not, Want Not
(3) Energy saving quick wins, Energy Saving Trust
(4) Energy saving quick wins, Energy Saving Trust
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