Four simple money tips that could save you thousands

Many of us around the country are currently struggling to make ends meet and government cuts, as well as the rapidly rising cost of living mean that more and more of us are looking for easy, simple ways to save money.

Here are some quick tips that could shave thousands of pounds off your budget every year:

Switch energy suppliers

Energy firms have made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent months and this means consumers are trying to change suppliers and get a better deal. But isn’t it really complicated? And doesn’t it take weeks?

Not anymore. There are a number of websites out there that will simply tell you how much you could save if you switched and will sign you up to another company’s policy within five minutes. However, you still have to pay any bills to your current supplier that might be outstanding and it might take a few days before the change is finalised.

While traditionally most consumers would look towards the so-called Big Six suppliers – British Gas, E.ON, npower, EDF Energy, SSE and Scottish Power – who used to give the best value for money and pumped billions into infrastructure, this is slowly changing.

The advent of newer companies like Ovo and the Utility Warehouse have altered the status quo and switching to a new supplier could save you thousands of pounds every year, especially if it has been a few years since you did this.

Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers are increasingly becoming the norm across most UK businesses and working mums and dads are realising they could be saving hundreds of pounds by utilising the government-backed scheme.

Here’s how it works, your employer will choose a third-party provider like You at Work to organise an employee benefit plan that includes childcare vouchers and this will then allow you to book nursery or daycare for your youngster without any tax needing to be paid.

In essence, that basically results in a 20 per cent cut in the price of care and this could really help working families that are struggling to make ends meet in today’s turbulent economy.

Switching banks

Similarly to the energy industry, politicians and activists alike have taken aim at the financial industry for not being competitive enough in recent years. But there are a number of great products out there for consumers willing to look hard enough.

Many banks have frozen their interest rates for customers at a low level, but if you try searching for regional financial institutions’ products, including those at the Yorkshire Building Society, Coventry Building Society or the National Counties Building society, you may find a bargain.

However, it is worth considering that many of these organisations don’t have a large number of branches so if in-person banking is a priority for you then it is better to stick to bigger banks like Barclays, Santander or the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Cut out food waste

It’s much easier said than done, but simply planning out meals and knowing when you can use leftovers or ingredients that are nearing their use-by-dates could help you to slash your grocery bills.

Get together with your family every week and make a list of the meals you expect to eat in the next seven days and then shop for the necessary ingredients at a low-cost supermarket.