Interactive Investor

50 ways to be (marginally) better off in 2023

17th January 2023 13:11

Rachel Lacey from interactive investor

Our tips won't make you rich quick, but they might help you squeeze out a little more cash to save and invest.

Rising costs mean we’re all spending lots more than we used to, but it might not be as hard as you think to restore order to your household budget.

From cutting back on unnecessary outgoings and downgrading expensive subscriptions to fixing your investment strategy and making sure your money is in the right place, these are all simple ideas that are very easy to do right now.  

Our tips won’t revolutionise your wealth, but they might just make you feel a little more flush.

1) Don’t buy an air fryer, unless you’re actually going to use it, a lot.

2) Doing some DIY or gardening and need some new tools? Check whether friends or neighbours can lend you theirs before you buy your own.

3) Try Freecycle or Facebook Marketplace before heading to the shops too.

4) Don’t upgrade your phone, when the time comes keep it and negotiate a cheaper SIM-only deal.

5) Shop around for your car insurance when it comes up for renewal.

6) Designate one no-spend day a week.

7) Investing in actively managed funds? If they’re not consistently beating the index, switch to a low-cost tracker.

8) Find half an hour to go through your bank statement and cancel any subscriptions you’re not using.

9) Signed up to multiple TV streaming services? Ditch one.

10) Join a library. You can even borrow e-books from your library with the Libby app.

11) Schedule a couple of meat-free days each week, even stretch to a meat-free week.

12) Don’t buy any shampoos, shower gels, moisturisers and so on until you’ve used everything in your bathroom cabinet. It’s time to finally use all those mini bottles you’ve picked up in hotels and crack open your Christmas smellies.

13) Set your heating to come on half an hour later in the morning and go off half an hour earlier in the evening.

14) Embrace your charity shops. Make them your first port of call before you hit your regular stores.

15) Leaky tap or dodgy flush? For simple plumbing problems check out YouTube tutorials to see if you can do it yourself and avoid a £50 call out fee.

16) Check whether your instant access savings accounts have passed on recent interest rate rises. If not, switch.

17) Plan alcohol-free nights out or be the designated driver.

18) Leave your online shopping in your basket for 24 hours (at least) before you buy.

19) Set up a standing order into your savings account on payday. If you’ve already got one, increase it.

20) Dropping a brand in the supermarket is a great way to save cash, just don’t give up after week one. It sometimes takes a few weeks to adjust to something new and break old habits.

21) Trade in your old tech, books, DVDs and CDs with sites such as Music Magpie or Ziffit.

22) Find cheaper ways to socialise – switch evenings in the pub for film nights or start a book club.

23) Check you’re getting the right level of tax relief on your pension contributions. If you pay higher-rate tax, but are only getting basic rate relief, claim the difference with a tax return. Ask your employer or pension provider if you’re not sure.

24) Agree a no-gift giving pact with family and friends.

25) End the week with a fake-away not a takeaway.

26) Tweak your phone/TV/broadband package – if your bill is going up, find out what you can do to bring it down. Asking to speak to the ‘retention team’ often works wonders.

27) Do the food shop on your own.

28) Popping out for a top-up shop or picking up dinner? Avoid ‘express’ or ‘local’ supermarkets. Prices in Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s convenience stores can be much higher than their standard supermarkets, according to research from Which?

29) Need something new to wear, bored of the same board games? Arrange swaps with like-minded (and similar-sized) friends.

30) Cycle to work. Your employer might even help you buy a new bike and cut your tax bill with the cycle to work scheme.

31) Practise driving more fuel-efficiently.

32) Buy second-hand school uniform. They’ll only wreck the new stuff in a week or so anyway.

33) If you live with your partner hold regular money meetings. Talking about bills you’ve got coming up and what you’ve got planned can help ensure you don’t overspend and encourages you to plan your finances together.

34) Go through your wallet and find out how much you’ve got on your supermarket reward cards. Getting a discount on your next shop is one way to use them, but you might get better value spending them on partner rewards and getting a discount on your next holiday.

35) While your wallet’s open, see if you’ve any unused gift cards in there too.

36) Ask your employer if you can pay into your pension with salary sacrifice. By agreeing to reduce your salary and paying that money into your pension you could be able to pay less National Insurance and boost your take-home pay. If you’re lucky, your employer might pass on their NI saving too.

37) Ask for a pay rise. You might not get one, but wages in the private sector are rising and you know what they say ‘If you don’t ask...’

38) Take the bus. A total of 130 bus companies have capped single fares at just £2 until the end of March, offering an average saving of 30%. However, savings in rural areas, where journeys are longer, could be much more impressive. Use it for a trip to town or plan a more adventurous day out.

39) Don’t buy tiddly packs of rice or pasta. Get better value with a 5kg bag and decant into smaller containers.

40) Really embrace bulk-buying with Costco membership – fans say it’s worth it for the petrol savings alone. Individual membership for the stores costs £33.60.

41) Make everything from washing-up liquid to shower gel and shampoo go further by decanting into a larger pump-action bottle and diluting.

42) Start a side hustle by putting your skills and interests to good use. That could be anything from dog walking and babysitting to tutoring if you’ve got skills to share.

43) If you’re on a standard variable rate mortgage, call a free mortgage broker to discuss your options. You should be able to bring your monthly repayments down.

44) Get paid to shop. If you clear your credit card bill every month, explore cards that pay cashback or rewards.

45) Sticking with the theme, sign up to cashback sites such as Quidco and Top Cashback that pay you when you shop online.

46) Check what’s included in your employee benefits package. In addition to handy things such as life insurance, you could also get access to discounts on other insurance policies, gym memberships, shopping and eating out.

47) Only heat the rooms you use.

48) Are you a sucker for advertising and promotions? Trim your spends by unsubscribing from retailer emails. Unfollow them on your social media accounts too.

49) Push your planned retirement date back a year. In addition to a year’s more salary, you’ll give your pension an extra year’s growth before you start spending it.

50) Practise mindful spending – really think about whether you need, or even want, anything you’re about to buy. If you’re saving for something really important, making more conscious spending decisions can make a big difference.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.