2023 has not been much easier than the year before for the average household. Indeed, many of the issues that defined 2022 – chiefly rising costs, from energy bills and supermarket shops to the cost of our mortgages – have carried through and even worsened in the new year.
New years always bring with them that tend to draw up resolutions, and more than a few of us included ‘saving money’ on our list. At least, 44% of us did, according to a recent survey. But while saving pocket money can be easy, saving for an affordability crisis can be much harder. What are some ways in which you could meaningfully reduce your outgoings for the year ahead?
Fast food is one of the more common weaknesses in any household, no matter its makeup or weekly routines. Whether your local supermarket’s meal deal or your local Chinese’s set meal for two, fast foods are widely available and incredibly hard to pass up over an evening of cooking and cleaning.
Still, the prevalence of fast and convenient food items means that almost anyone can benefit from re-addressing their eating habits. You might notice yourself buying your lunch on your way to work each morning; 32 % of survey respondents endeavoured to swap their pre-made sandwich for a low-effort packed lunch and in doing so potentially saving tens of pounds per week.
The earlier survey, undertaken by poster specialists instantprint, revealed that exercise was another key ambition amongst the UK’s resolution-ists; 46% of respondents made getting fitter part of their new year’s plans – plans that, inevitably, involve briefly flirting with the concept of a gym subscription.
However, a great many of us are unlikely to stick to our grand plans regarding gym visits, making that subscription little more than a £30 hole in your monthly finances. Instead of opting for a subscription, why not look instead for exercise regimes you can do at home (I love using free online keep fit videos)?
Transport is another sticking point for us, and one with special significance in an ever-continuing cost-of-living crisis. The costs associated with private transport are quite simply, harder to justify now than before. But what are the alternatives?
Many in the UK have ditched cars and even public transport for healthier alternatives, such as running or cycling. This is a solution that could also satisfy any hopes to get fitter – though it may not be feasible for those with long commutes. Here, season tickets could be an equitable way to travel in the new year.
Our spending habits are not born in a vacuum. Unsurprisingly, marketing can have a great deal of influence on the way we behave and how we spend our money, for example, 28% of instantprint’s respondents admitted that they were often influenced by social media on what to buy and even eat!
Between paid adverts from popular brands and sponsored content with social media influencers, there are many different angles from which the compulsion to spend can be prodded; the instantprint survey showed that more than a quarter of us are influenced in our dietary decisions by social media. With this in mind, reducing your screen time could be a vital way to regain control of your habits.