8 ways to save £50 a month

Stress-free suggestions for putting aside half a ton

Marcus Webb – Virgin Money Living Mentor

by Marcus Webb | Independent Money Mentor

Editor of Delayed Gratification and independent journalist

Saving £50 a month isn’t to be sniffed at. Do that every month and you’ll have a decent wedge come the end of the year. But how do you do it? Well, if you’re prepared to cut down the cost of your coffee habit, get a free haircut or exercise in the great outdoors, you can get there quicker than you think.

Get yourself a mug

One of those nice thermal ones with a clip-on top. Then fill it to the brim with delicious coffee made at home. You’ll get the caffeine hit that’s such a vital part of your making-it-through-the-morning strategy but without spending £2.50 in a coffee shop. Keep that up for 20 days a month and you’ve got 50 big ones in your skyrocket.

Dump your gym membership

You may be one of those semi-mythical characters who signed up to a gym and has attended it diligently ever since. Or you may be like the remaining 95 percent of us who took out our membership in a flurry of good intentions, went every day for two weeks and then scaled back to a leisurely programme of one half-hearted visit every other year. Either way, you don’t need a gym to exercise. Go for a bracing morning run, join a free exercise group in a park, swim in a lido or stream a fitness class online and work out in your living room – it’ll be far more inspiring than ambling along a treadmill at the leisure centre.

Be smart about food and drink

If you’ve looked at your bank statement recently you’ll notice what an extraordinary amount of money you’re spending on groceries. The good news is that making just a few little changes can easily shave 50 quid a month off your food bills. If you’re a big carnivore, try going meat-free a couple of days a week. If you’re a juice nut or fizzy drink fan, try switching to water instead – all of that sugar’s no good for your teeth anyway. Buy own brand (it’s often impossible to tell the difference), always remember your loyalty card and work out when your local supermarket starts discounting food that’s hit its expiry date, so you can swoop in and grab some bargains. Oh, and never shop when you’re hungry – you’ll only end up filling your cart with tons of expensive treats.

Rediscover the library

It’s very convenient to download books and movies direct to your Kindle and phone but the cost doesn’t half add up. Why not resurrect your library card and take a trip down to stock up on bestsellers and blockbusters – completely gratis.

Empower the hairdressers of the future

You know the drill: you head to the barber’s shop or salon, endure an hour’s enforced banter about what you did on your summer holidays and leave with a decent haircut but a distinctly lighter wallet. It doesn’t have to be this way. Do some research online for your nearest hairdressing training centre and you’ll find that they’re always looking for people for their students to practise on. Head down and you’ll get a stylish new ’do for the very reasonable price of zero pounds. You will still have to make holiday bants, though. That’s the rule.

Cut back on your vices

All Oasis needed was cigarettes and alcohol. But then they had produced a series of platinum-selling albums and could easily afford it. Also it was the ’90s, and the taxes on booze and nicotine hadn’t reached the extraordinary levels at which they currently stand. Cutting back on your vices will do wonders for your bank balance – not to mention your lungs and liver.

Make awesome presents

It’s so easy to spend £50 in a last minute panic-buy to get someone a birthday present that they don’t actually want. Far better to hand make some gifts in advance and have them on standby for special occasions across the year. Whip up monster batches of blackberry jam, sloe gin, chutney and the like, package them in beautiful jars and bottles and design custom-made labels. Your friends will appreciate the effort and you’ll save a load of cash you don’t need to spend.

Buy long term

If you can pay for things upfront rather than in instalments you’ll save a huge amount in the long run. Season tickets for travel, home insurance, furniture – if you pay for them upfront you’ll easily save £50 a month over the course of the year.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.