How to save money using simple lifestyle hacks and psychology

Vintage silk purse with gold buckle and floral pattern, vintage accessory

You don’t have to miss out to save money (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Is your wallet struggling with all this newfound freedom?

Instead of cutting back on the things you love, there are smarter ways to save your money.

From deceiving yourself with mind games that save you money to taking precautions to stop yourself from getting caught, here are some handy tips to help you make smarter choices.

Let’s save.

New parents can save money… and the environment

Nearly a quarter of parents are deterred from using reusable diapers at the initial cost, according to consumer group Yang?.

But even though they have a higher upfront cost than single-use ones, they are cheaper in the long run – especially for those with more than one child.

The government’s Money Advice Service estimates that using reusable diapers can save you over £1,400 over your baby’s first two and a half years.

Check if your local council offers a reusable diaper incentive scheme, which could include a free starter pack or a voucher for your diaper costs.

The amount you save varies depending on where you live. Usually around £30 to £50, but some boards offer up to £100 for the cost of the diaper.

Have fun

If you get a parking ticket and think it was unfairly issued, act fast.

Take as many photos as you can before you even leave the parking lot and email them to yourself so the time and date can be recorded.

If you decide to challenge the fine, you will have all the necessary evidence to support your claim.

Young female character standing next to SUV, transportation, car sharing
Snap a photo of your parking lot so you can fight the fine (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Say goodbye to snails

The green-fingered among us are horrified by the slug attacks in our gardens caused by the weeks of wet weather as they wreak havoc on our herbaceous borders.

But there is a way to stop these pesky mollusks chewing you through plants without using pesticides.

Nicole Laird, host of the gardening podcast Let’s Grow, Girls, says you can reuse the insulating wool found in recipe boxes like Gousto’s to keep slugs from getting into things.

When placed around the base of the plant and mixed into the soil, the thorny wool fibers (like a scratchy wool sweater) will keep slimy pests away from your plants.

Save list 30 days

If you have the urge to buy something you don’t really need, put it on the 30 day list.

For 30 days you can’t buy anything other than necessities — everything else is on the list, with the date added to the list.

When the 30 days are up, you can buy it, but most likely, the strong urge to buy it will wear off, and you can evaluate it more calmly.

Don’t be like Goldilocks

Whether shopping for a great bottle of wine or a flat-screen TV, few of us actually buy the most expensive on offer, or the cheapest.

Many retailers display goods in trios — at three very different prices — as shoppers tend to look for something in the middle of the price range thanks to ‘Goldilocks Syndrome’, which is ‘just right’.

But that doesn’t always mean the best deal, so do your math carefully before you reach the middle option.

Contactless payments with mobile phones, wireless transactions via smartphones, new technologies

If you don’t update your phone, you can become a prime target for hackers (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Outdated technology is an open door for hackers

Cybercrime jumped 72% in the first month of the lockdown, according to City of London Police.

If you use outdated technology, you’re unwittingly making it easier for hackers — so keep all your devices up-to-date as much as possible in terms of software updates and the latest operating applications.

Credit card hacks that will reduce temptation

If you want to limit your credit card spending, you may be tempted to cut it.

But anyone shopping online will know that you don’t need to have a physical card to pay for plastic thanks to retailers storing your account details.

So make sure you can’t buy easily and contact your credit card provider and have your card reissued as if you were going to lose it.

When it arrives, destroy it or keep it for emergency use only, and browse…

A hand holding a designer transparent plastic credit card, wireless transaction
Don’t be tempted to rely on plastic (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Don’t extort money for fancy luxury fuel

You’ve probably noticed what’s called a ‘premium’ fuel when filling up with petrol or diesel. Retailers claim that these fuels offer both performance and economy advantages, while cleaning and protecting your engine.

In reality, unless you drive a performance vehicle, you won’t see any improvement by using a fuel with a higher octane (petrol) or cetane (diesel) rating. You will, however, pay up to 10p per liter more for the privilege.

Research conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that drivers in the United States spend more than $2.1 billion using premium grade gasoline and diesel in vehicles designed to run on standard fuels.

Wait until the end of the week for offers

Online retailers launch some of their best deals Wednesday through Friday according to research, so waiting to shop on the weekends can be a great way to get deals.

If you want more money-saving tips and tricks, as well as chat about cash and alerts about offers and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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