If January is the best time for people to pay off debts and reassess their finances, March is arguably the best time to put new ways of saving money into practice.
We've spoken before about the importance of making a household budget and reviewing your direct debits to ascertain where you could be making savings so, in this article, we'll be sharing some practical advice on how to save and make money in order to help you improve your finances.
Your food shop
With food among the largest expenditures in most households, now is the perfect time to explore how you could spend less at the supermarket.
The simplest way to do so is to start shopping at Lidl or Aldi - the two cheapest supermarkets in the UK. A basket of everyday items in Lidl costs, on average, £5.97 less than at Morrisons; if you did that same shop every week, that's an annual saving of £310.44
It's also worth remembering that all supermarkets reduce the prices on products that are about to reach their sell-by-dates, so try to shop after 6pm and keep your eyes out for items with yellow stickers - they may be reduced by as much as 80%. Monday and Saturday evenings are the best days to find a bargain.
Your mobile phone
96% of the UK's population owns a mobile phone but how many people are overpaying for theirs?
To make sure you're not one of them - and save a significant amount every month - it's worth exploring the possibility of switching from a contract to a SIM-only deal, which are often cheaper in the long run compared to contract agreements because you're not paying back the cost of a new smartphone.
Buying a handset outright - or using one you already own - and opting for SIM-only allows you to choose any provider and pick the minutes, texts and data you need, making it easier to only pay for what you use and reducing your monthly outgoings. Shop the best current SIM-only deals here.
Saving money is obviously very important, especially as the cost of living continues to rise, but if you've got some spare time on your hands, you could also make more money with some of these easy tips.
Sell parking spaces
If your driveway often has no car parked on it, why not rent it out? Websites like justpark.com allow you to do just that, making it a quick and easy way to make extra money without having to lift a finger. Better still, the first £1,000 you earn is tax free.
Get paid to do simple tasks for people in your area
From planting flowers to lifting furniture upstairs or cleaning kitchens, websites like airtasker and taskrabbit connect people who need simple tasks completing with people who are happy to help them, enabling you to make extra money, fast.
After registering, you simply reply to people who want tasks doing with an offer (e.g. you might offer to walk someone's dog for £10) and if they accept your offer, the job - and money - is yours. Working as much or as little as you want, whenever you want, has never been simpler.
Become an extra
It doesn't matter if you've never dreamt of a career in TV or movies, signing up to an extras agency is the first step on your way to earning between £100 and £200 per day.
That's right, film and TV casting agencies, such as Uni-versal Extras, are always on the lookout for extras to take part in crowd scenes. You may not get you your own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but you could quickly make some extra money
Have a clear out
For a quick cash injection, it's never been easier to sell unwanted items online through websites like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Go through your house, loft, garden and garage and if you find anything you no longer want, need or use, sell it.
If you've done everything you can to save and make some extra money but are still struggling to make ends meet, you could borrow between £250 and £20,000 with one of our affordable loans. To find out more, click here.
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