13 Ways to Make Your Money Go Further in 2017
Contributed by: @ImAdeAkins
There's an abundance of things I could talk about when it comes to saving and making money. However, I feel obliged to share 13 ways you can make your money go further in 2017. In case you're thinking, no, this isn't a dodgy advertisement for a pyramid scheme. Rather, I feel especially as I'm writing this in December, aka De-most-expensive-month of the year, you'd be missing a trick not to heed my words of ADZVICE.
1. Cashback Websites
We're all consumers and every second of every day we make purchases online. ONS, the Office for National Statistics estimated that £8.5 billion was spent weekly in November 2016 alone. That's great for the companies benefiting off our pounds but cash-back sites such as TopCashback and Quidco allow us to claw a few of these pounds back. You sign up, search for your desired retailer, (there's thousands) and the cashback sites track your visit. When you make a purchase, a % of the total value is paid back to you directly in your bank account (or via vouchers).
I personally recommend using TopCashback as they tend to pay back quicker and offer higher %. Sign up using my referral link HERE.
The speed at which you get the cash back depends on the retailer in question. I've made about £40 worth of cash back in a year (with very infrequent use). It's a no brainer if you ask me but if you want an independent analysis of cashback sites, click HERE.
2. Cashback Credit Cards
Cashback credit cards pay back in the form of a reward generated each time you use your card. Wherever you can make a payment via credit card; from paying for your bus fare to buying a package holiday, cashback credit cards will give you money back. Well, this 'money' is usually in the form of points that you're able to exchange for products and services ranging from discounted flights to spa days and activities but we'll cover that later on in this post.
But Ade, aren't credit cards bad? They're basically a trap right?
Wrong! Credit cards are very useful and a good way of building up, wait for it... credit! This is vital for applying for mortgages so starting sooner than later is always a good thing. As discussed in episode 2 of the ADZVICE podcast featuring Yemi, if you stay on top of your cards and set them to be paid off in full each month via direct debit, credit cards are fine. My 2 recommended cards are as follows:
Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card Account
This is my current credit card. What I love most about it is you have 2 cards; an American Express and a MasterCard but linked to 1 account. The benefit of this is that you can gain valuable Avios points on ANY purchase you can make using a credit card. The American Express offers a nice 1.25 Avios points for every £1 spent on your card (this is doubled to 2.50 Avios points for your first 6 months) whilst the MasterCard offers 1.25 Avios points for every £5 spent. You'll see it's much more advantageous to use your Amex however, it is not as widely accepted as MasterCard (and other credit cards).
The key benefits of the Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card Account include are below in this snapshot. As an avid traveller, the fact I can use my credit cards abroad with £0 fees is the major plus.
If you sign up before the 31st December 2016, there's 4500 Avios points FREE. This is the equivalent of a 1-way European break! If you would like to sign up to this deal, drop me an email to Ade@ADZVICE.com with 'Avios Card' in the subject and I'll refer you personally :)
For more info on this credit card click HERE, but remember, the free 4500 points offer is only available via my referral so don't apply direct!
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card
Something to point out though is a lot of places won't accept Amex and you can't use it abroad for free. For these reasons alone, I suggest the Lloyds Bank card.
This was my first ever credit, and I definitely enjoyed when i was able to use it. Technically, the American Express card isn't a credit card but rather a charge card and as such, you need to pay it off in full each month.
My ADZVICE is to treat it as a debit card and only charge to your card what you can actually afford to pay off by the due date. Some benefits include:Extra 20,000 Avios points if you spend over £2k in your first three months of having the card (easy if you know you've got big purchases coming prior to opening an account). This is enough to travel from London to over 100 destinations.
For more info and to see if you're eligible to apply click HERE.
How rude of me. I've mentioned Avios a few times and just remembered that you may not even know what this is. Well, as the official site states:
"Avios are travel reward points that allow you to turn your everyday spending into flights, hotel stays, upgrades, days out and more. You can collect Avios through the Avios Travel Reward Programme at Tesco, Shell, Avis, British Airways, Lloyds Bank, and over 1,000 other partners."
Avios is probably the most widely used and known programme that gives you points for spending on your credit card. Not every credit card works like this so do your research. That being said, the 2 previous cards recommended above both do and have been personally tried and tested for over 2 years. Apart from these, there is a magnitude of ways to collect Avios. If you're not currently doing so, I highly suggest you start as it has personally helped me loads when it comes to flying across Europe for cheap (I usually just pay £35 towards taxes). How else do you think I'm able to travel as much as I do? Click HERE for more information.
4. Voucher Sites
You have the option to subscribe to their mailing lists to get the latest and greatest offers direct to your inbox. I personally prefer searching for whatever retailer it is I need a code for and putting the word 'voucher code' after it in the search engine.
5. Groupon / Wowcher
I love using websites like Groupon and Wowcher to find great offers and deals from local merchants near me. Everything from meals, activity days, holidays and much more are on these sites. So much in fact that it can be a tough process identifying the best deal for you.
Whilst I recommend these websites, make sure to look at the T's and C's before purchasing. There are often strict criteria on when you can and can't redeem the offer. Also, be sure to compare the price offered direct from the retailer's site to make up your own mind on how great a deal it actually is.
6. Switch your bank account / open a new bank account
Banks are always fighting each other for new customers and to do this they regularly offer decent cash incentives to switch to them. About 18 months or so ago, I switched from Lloyds Bank over to First Direct & got a cool £100 for relatively no work. As long as the bank displays the Current Account Switch Guarantee logo (which pretty much all do), switching banks is a doddle. An application form and a phone call later and all of your direct debits and payees are transferred over to your new bank.
As long as you follow the rules set out by the bank in terms of qualifying, there's no limit to how often you can switch. However, with this being true, if you are planning on taking out a mortgage in the next year, you should probably avoid as it has a short-term effect on your credit rating.
To choose the right bank for you, check out this article on MSE HERE. I personally vouch for First Direct, good customer service and I prefer having a matte black debit card to the more colourful options. I know it makes no difference but it's the little things!
If like me, you have no clue where to start when it comes to investing, I strongly recommend using Nutmeg. Essentially, you get the benefits of professional wealth managers who invest, on your behalf, in globally diversified stock. To get started, you set your risk level on a scale of 1-10, deposit a minimum of £1k (with monthly contributions of at least £50) and Nutmeg does the rest.
As an illustration, I have had a Nutmeg open for 8 months and the current value of my portfolio has yielded returns of around £180 after fees. If you'd like to join (and get £50 free once you invest, drop me an email with 'Nutmeg' in the subject to Ade@ADZVICE.com
8. Happy Hours
I don't know many people who are obsessed with cocktails as much as I am. The only thing better than a scumpt-diddly-uptious cocktail is a scumpt-diddly-uptious cocktail during Happy Hour.
Happy Hours vary between establishments and not every bar/restaurant even runs one. Where available, Happy Hours offer customers the chance to discounted or freebies during a set period of time on specified days (usually a set time where the business would otherwise be quiet). What this means for you is that if you're not specifically bound by a certain day of the week, you can have a great drinking or dining experience (or CHEAP DATE!!!) and save up to 50% off your total bill! Mondays and Sundays tend to be the most popular days for extended happy hours at bars, with some running all-day promotions.
A great app of a similar name is Happiour. This app and website tells you some featured offers at restaurants and bars near you so it might be worth downloading, next time you're in the App Store.
9. London Cheap Eats
London Cheap Eats was designed for people like me. Foodies who live in London and love our way through the city but don't love London food prices! The team at London Cheap Eats recommend places to eat in or take away for £8 or less. What's best about it is you can filter based on location to find some tasty eating spots near you.
10. Loyalty/membership cards
In exchange for your guaranteed service through a monthly or annual fee, many companies reward loyal customers with savings not available to the wider public.
Cineworld Unlimited Card
Cineworld’s Unlimited card allows members to watch as many film’s as they’d like across over 200 branches for £17.40. You also get money off your extortionate food & drinks prices (up to 25% off), making it slightly less of a rip off.
A normal ticket for a 2D showing at the Cineworld in London’s O2 is £11.50.
My cineworld membership currently costs me £16.90.
Thus, going to the Cineworld as an Unlimited card holder more at least twice a month is already cheaper than going the once as a non card holder. For me, it’s an easy decision.
Time Out Black
Apart from cinemas, there are also other ways to save money on things we all love doing. Time Out Black is a new member’s club for Londoners with a wealth of offers such as 50% off selected restaurants, invites to special events and much more.
At £59 for an annual membership (or the equivalent of £4.92 a month), this is another way for cost-conscious Londoners to live more but spend less.
11. Money Saving Expert
The fact this post has included several MSE links should speak volumes for how highly I place this website. Get great tips and tricks on how to save money on utilities, shopping, banking and much more.
There's a weekly email that goes out which summarises the top tips, latest deals, guides and loopholes to help stretch those pounds. Check out MSE by clicking HERE.
12. Holiday Pirates
Another secret weapon in my travel arsenal is Holiday Pirates. This site hunts out the best travel and hotel deals across the world and shares them with its audience. I personally find the mailing list the most useful aspect of the site and the easiest way to get the best deals right at your fingertips.
13. Listen to Episode 2 of the ADZVICE podcast
Shameless plug but there were so many nuggets of good info in the second podcast episode, 'Managing Money'. Yemi shares his tips and thoughts on much of what's covered above and much more.
As I said at the start of this post, there's so much Adzvice I could give on simple ways we can save money but they wouldn't fit all in 1 blog post. Hopefully, these 13 suggestions will be a great start to help make your money go further in 2017.
Do comment your own thoughts and, share this with friends and seek out new ways to save money. Just be sure to let us know!
Until next time chaps!
Ade Akins (@ImAdeAkins)