How spending time can save you money
5 min | 25 September 2023
Modern life is often designed around saving time – but that frequently involves spending money. Try these tips to see if the time you put in is money well saved rather than spent.
A survey from the Office for National Statistics says almost 70% of people living in Great Britain are spending less on non-essentials because of the rising cost of living.
Here are some examples of how you could save money if you can make the time.
Food: 20 minutes research can save you 30%
Online supermarket comparison sites can help you find the best deals on groceries. It often pays to shop at more than one supermarket to take advantage of these.
You can expect to save up to 30% on a weekly shop by spending time using a price comparison site, according to moneysavingexpert.com. If you shop weekly, those savings could add up and go towards your next food shop, fuel, utility or credit card bill.
Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season. Supermarkets often discount foods at the end of the day if they are near their sell-by dates. If you have a freezer, you could buy these and freeze them.
Cooking: use the right equipment
If you’re cooking for one or two people, an air fryer is usually cheaper than using an oven. Although they only cook small amounts, air fryers typically cost 6 pence per use compared to 24 pence with an electric oven, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
If you’re cooking large amounts, then an electric oven is likely to be cheaper. And if you’re reheating food, a microwave usually works out cheapest.
Clothes: shop out of season
While we may be encouraged by British celebrity chefs to buy in-season local produce for our food, it can pay to buy out-of-season clothes.
For Anne, 53, one of the best times to buy winter woollies is in the summer. "If you can bear to try on warm clothes in the hot weather, you can often find a bargain," she says.
Think about buying winter or summer clothes for the entire family out of season. You can buy a size up for the kids in case they have a growth spurt when winter or summer comes around. There is no reason why you can’t make a habit of shopping out of season all year round.
Do your research
If you’re looking for ways to save money, the internet can be a great place to start. But friends and family can also be a great source of inspiration.
Charlotte, 44, says, "My grandmother had lots of tips on how to save money. These ranged from making your own household cleaners from vinegar rather than buying expensive brands to learning basic sewing skills to mend your own clothes and babysitting for friends who will then return the favour."
Use local services: they’re free
It’s easy to order a book or film online, but you can often borrow these for free or at a reduced cost at your local library. Just make sure you put an alert in your calendar for the due date – otherwise you could get fined, often by the day. You can also read newspapers for free and find out about local facilities and activities in your area. This could include cheap off-peak deals at your local leisure centre, as well as discounts or free access for older or unwaged people.
Exercise programmes to try at home
Many of us struggle to fit in exercise, with one in three people blaming this on a lack of time, says Public Health England. The authority points out that just 10 minutes a day of brisk walking can help improve your general health and wellbeing.
Swapping your gym membership for a more rigorous walking and at-home exercise regime could save you considerably. The wall Pilates trend, for example, is proving a very cost- and time-effective way to work out and serves as an alternative for those people who can’t afford reformer Pilates classes, which need large and expensive equipment and a certified instructor. The cost of a single reformer class can be as much as £35.
Have a think before you click and opt in
If you’ve ever opted in for alerts on discounts when you sign up for an online shop you will likely get bombarded with weekly if not daily emails and social media ads. Unsubscribe if it is too tempting.
If you do see something you’d like to buy, it’s often worth checking whether you could get it cheaper elsewhere. If you’re shopping late at night, you may want to put the item in your basket and review it in the morning to check if you still think it is worth buying and wasn’t an impulse buy waiting to happen.
It makes perfect sense: if you can spend money to save time, conversely you can spend time to save money.
Whatever you do, remember that mindfulness and a bit of research can make all the difference.
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