Coupons are a great way to help cut your spending on just about everything. If you’re planning a trip somewhere, you’ll find discounts on your car hire and hotel bookings, while if you want to ensure your beloved pet is in safe hands when they’re sick, you can use coupons to take out affordable pet insurance.
But coupons aren’t the only way to save money. They are an important weapon in a much wider arsenal that can help you win the war against high prices. When you combine coupons with bulk buying, cashback, rewards, credit cards, loyalty schemes, and some careful planning, you can slash your spending significantly, leaving you with more cash at the end of the month.
Another great way to spend less is to look for cheaper and free alternatives to the products and services you were going to spend money on. With a bit of leg work, you can find alternatives for almost anything, but here are some quick wins that can make a big difference.
Alternatives to the Gym
Gyms are one of the few types of business that hope you don’t use their services. If all of the members that are on their books visited regularly, there’d be no room to accommodate them all. Instead, they know a good chunk of their clientele will forget to cancel a membership or find excuses not to go and work out.
Even with this business model, gyms can still be incredibly expensive, costing hundreds every year. Thankfully, there are plenty of exercises you can do to build muscles at home or outside that don’t require you to pay for a membership each month.
Nowadays coaches and instructors also offer their resources online. For example, Lauren Gasser, a London-based yoga instructor, provides a routine of five simple yoga stretches used by professional gamers or anyone who spends too long sitting down. For those who are into more outdoor activities, there are running groups, walking, or cycling and it feels great during the spring and summer when it’s warmer and lighter for longer.
You don’t need expensive machines for resistive exercises either. You can get a full-body workout by using your body weight with exercises like planking, push-ups, and squats.
Alternatives to Restaurants
Breaking bread with friends, colleagues, and loved ones is something that transcends almost every culture. No matter where you are in the world, it’s a great honour to be invited to dine with someone.
Often you’ll be heading to restaurants for catch-ups with friends, but this can quickly add up if you’re doing it too frequently.
Thankfully, there are ways in which you can retain the social element without breaking the bank. Of course, you can find coupons and other discounts upon restaurants and cafes offer, but you can also find other ways to dine with others.
The first is to order takeaway. While this can still cost quite a bit, it’s usually cheaper than dining in a restaurant because the owners can pass on the savings that come from not having to do the washing up and providing waiting staff.
If you want to save even more, you can host your own dinner party and do the cooking yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to earn a Michelin Star or rustle up something fancy – even a simple recipe will be more than enough.
If you really struggle with cooking, then why not order a meal box from companies like Gousto? These boxes give you everything you need, plus some simple instructions for as little as £2.98 per serving.
Alternatives to Cable or Satellite TV
Before the 1990s, the only way to watch TV was through the aerial on the roof of your house. It delivered 4 channels (until Channel 5 launched in 1997) in standard definition, with an often grainy analogue signal.
Watching movies required you to watch the occasional screenings shown by the terrestrial channels or to buy (or rent) a VHS tape from a local shop like Woolworths or Blockbuster.
Then came Sky, NTL and Telewest (now Virgin Media), offering hundreds of new channels, including many dedicated to movies or a single genre of TV show. This meant Brits had much more choice when it came to what they could watch, but it came at a price.
If you don’t shop around and remain loyal after your contract ends, you could easily end up paying £1,000 a year for a TV and internet package.
Thankfully, there’s a way to keep most of that money for yourself and still watch great content. A simple fibre broadband contract can be found for around £240 a year, while a subscription to Amazon Prime Video or Netflix can be bagged for less than £80.
While you won’t get the same live sport as you would with a traditional satellite or cable provider, you will get most of the rest and with services like NowTV, you can still watch the games you want to without breaking the bank.
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