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Want to have more money but don’t know where to start? The best way to improve your finances is by consistently improving with 1%.
These changes may seem smal,l but the accumulation of marginal gains is the process of conquering seemingly unachievable goals by making many small, simple, or marginal changes. They then compounds and becomes something much greater.
We explored this process in detail in the post How to Accomplish Your Life Goals by Improving 1% but the theory will remain just that, a theory, unless you actually take action. And to help with that, here is a list of 100 easy ways to improve your personal finances with 1%.
1. Bookmark This Page and Come Back to It
Pick just one thing that you can do. Then pick another, and sooner than you think you will start seeing real results in your bank account!
(And I promise, stop buying lattes is not on the list – if you do this you can buy however many lattes you like!!)
2. Credit Card Reward Points
3. By Quality
It may be more expensive in the short term, but quality items will last you a lot longer and make you happier in the long run.
4. Maintain Your Possessions
Take care of your shoes, mend your clothes, and clean your couch. Quality items lend themselves to be taken care of and you can significantly extend their life with proper maintenance.
5. Find Deals
Don’t spend time going to 5 supermarkets to save pennies, but if you identify that you are spending a significant amount of money on something, see if there are ways of getting the same quality in another way.
My latest hack is to by wine online rather than at the supermarket!
6. Return Items
If you are not satisfied, make the effort to return an item even if it didn’t cost a lot. You can even return digital items like audiobooks and e-books if you are not happy!
7. Sign Up for Free Loyalty Cards
Some loyalty cards are really worth it. In the UK Boots advantage card is my favourite, using points for things you would buy anyway will ensure you have more money left!
8. By Used
Good for the environment and the wallet!
9. Take Fewer Shopping Trips
If you usually go shopping twice a week, try to reduce it to once and you will end up spending less.
10. Buy Generic
Brand names are not automatically better. Try the generic version and you may be surprised.
11. Share Bigger Items
Tools, machines and even lawn mowers are rarely used that often. Can you share with a neighbour, friend or relative?
12. Pay Off Your High Interest Debt
Read more about paying off your debt in the post Is Personal Debt Good or Bad? – Learn what Debt to Pay Off Imediately.
13. Improve Your Credit Score
You will get better conditions and cheaper interest rates with a good credit score.
14. Automate Your Savings
Set up automated transfers to your savings accounts as soon as you get paid and you will soon have more money saved than when you save manually.
15. Automate Your Investments
Set up automated transfers for your investments.
16. Set Up Direct Debits
For all your regular expenses so you never miss a payment.
17. Save or Invest Extra Money
Got a bonus or a gift? Save or invest it! Or at least most of it if you really need a treat….
18. Save or Invest the Difference of Every Raise
Instead of inflating your lifestyle, save the difference!
19. Track Your Expenses
Track your expenses for one month to see what you are spending on.
20. Use Apps for Banking
This way it’s easy to regularly check what’s happening with your money.
Increase Your Income
21. Negotiate a Salary Increase
Check your salary on Linked In or Glassdoor to see if you are underpaid. Show your value to the company and prepare an argument based on your value, not why you need a raise. If you’re prepared to change jobs, get another offer and see if your current employer will match it.
22. Company Benefits
Most people don’t take full advantage of their company benefits. Request a full list from your HR team and see if there is anything you have missed. I recently found out my company pays for the renewal of my passport – I’ll definitely expense it next time!!
23. Change Jobs
Sometimes you do have to change jobs to get paid what you are worth. Strongly consider this if you are underpaid.
Invest in property, low cost index fund or some other asset that will make your money work for you.
25. Get a Side Gig
Get your exercise by cycling for Deliveroo or spend the odd evening working in a bar. And when you have more money coming in – invest it!
26. Start a Side Hustle
Prefer to work for yourself? Want to make extra money from home? Online? Brainstorm what you are good at and start a small side hustle. You can proofread, record audiobooks, build websites, start a dog walking business or whatever else floats your boat.
27. Have a Big Clear-Out
Go all Marie Kondo on your home and sell everything you don’t need or use. Make it a habit to sell things as you stop using them, to make room for new things.
28. Rent Out a Spare Room
Rent your spare room to a lodger or on Airbnb.
29. Rent Out Your Parking Space
If you have a spare parking space rent it out!
Additional Resource: Rent out your parking space.
Insurances should be for emergencies that you can’t handle otherwise. It’s critical to be insured if your house burns down, you’re in a car accident or other bad accident.
However, if you have a good amount of savings, you may not need to insure every little gadget – or you could live with a high deductible – to make sure you don’t just through your money at the insurance companies.
30. Car Insurance
Make sure it covers accidents and other items you might not be able to afford. Shop around for a good price.
31. Life Insurance
Do you have dependents? If so, make sure you have life insurance that covers their needs. No more no less.
32. Home and Content Insurance
Make sure you’re covered and that you specifically list any valuable items in accordance with the policy, so you’re sure they are covered. Shop around for the best price considering your circumstances.
33. Unemployment Insurance
This can be a very expensive insurance. Only have it if you get a really good price or you don’t have savings or investments that can last you for a few months while you get another job.
34. Health Insurance
This will depend on your country and the price. If it’s a company benefit it may be worth it in the UK but many times you can get equal treatment on the NHS.
35. Insurance for Gadgets and Stuff
This can be a real money pit. Cover as much as you can under your content insurance and only insure anything that is vital to you and that you can’t afford to replace in an emergency. By not paying for insurances you will have more money for any replacements you need.
Save Money on Utility Bills
36. Shop Around for the Best Price on a Yearly Basis
Set a reminder in your calendar to visit a price comparing site. Would it make sense for you to have a lower electicity tariff at night and run your washing machine overnight?
37. Install a Smart Meter
The first step to reduce your electricity is to know how much you use!
38. Change Old Lightbulbs
Make sure your lighting is energy efficient with LED lights.
39. Have More Money by Identifying Energy Drains
Use your smart meter to find out where you use the bulk of your electricity. Would it make financial sense to replace that or use it in another way?
40. Use the Eco Setting
Many appliances like dishwashers and washing machines have eco setting. Use them. And make sure the machine is full before you run it.
41. Make Sure Your House is Insulated
Add loft insulation, wall insulation , and replace windows and doors if needed to stop drafts. Too much work? Buy rubber lists to put around your doors or use a pillow as a draft excluder.
42. Generate Your Own Energy
If you are in your forever home, it may make financial sense to invest in solar or wind energy. Think about it.
43. Government Schemes
There are often some government schemes running to reduce energy use, take a look to see if there is anything that would make sense for you that could reduce the investment needed.
44. Reduce Your Water Use
Save money by changing your shower head. Use the eco settings on your utilities and be mindful of your showering and how often you water the grass.
45. Lower the Temperature in Your Hot Water Tank
You only need the water to be “warm enough”. The rest of the heat is literally just money down the drain.
Use Tax Advantages
46. Invest in Your Pension
You can invest in your workplace pension or SIPP pre-tax. If you are a higher rate taxpayer this means that you will have 40% more money to invest!
47. Invest in Your ISA (or Roth IRA)
If you need access to the money, invest them in an ISA. You invest post-tax money, but all your gains are tax free forever!
48. Request Your Tax Back
In the UK you will not automatically be re-funded any “extra” tax you might have paid but have to contact the HMRC yourself. Are you a 40% taxpayer? Chances are you have only got a 20% tax benefit on your workplace pension. Check with your employer and request your money back!
If you have you been made to work from home during the pandemic, you may be eligible for a tax break. Request your money back!
There are also tax breaks on charitable contributions and a myriad of other things, check what you can claim back!
49. Capital Gains Tax Harvesting
If you have investments in a taxable account (not in an ISA or Pension) you will be taxed on any gains and for long term investments this can be significant. In the UK you don’t pay tax on the first £12 000 of gains every year so make sure you use them even if it is a long-term investment.
An easy way of doing this is to move your money from one low cost index fund to another similar fund and leave them there for at least a month. Remember that you can also offset any losses from your capital gains tax.
Read More: Capital Gains Tax Allowances
50. Eating Out
Eating out is great! Just be mindful so you do it for the enjoyment and not just for convenience.
Make sure you always have something in your freezer that you can easily re-heat and you’ll have more money for a great takeaway when you really crave a curry!
52. Food Shop
Shop from a list, choose a good value shop, and don’t shop hungry.
53. Cook at Home
Learning how to cook at home will give you tasty, healthy food for a good price!
54. Batch Cook
It’s both cheaper and easier to prepare a few meals at the time. Double win!
Read More: 17 Simple Hacks to be Healthy on a Budget
Save on Fees
55. Bank Account
Don’t pay fees on your bank-account unless the benefits are truly worth it.
Your workplace pension will likely have high fees. Consolidate your pensions into a low-cost SIPP like Vanguard. You can even transfer parts of your current workplace pension on a regular basis to minimise fees!
57. Mutual Funds
Expensive, managed mutual funds will not perform better in the long run. Invest in low cost index funds.
58. Investment Platform
Make sure you have a low-cost platform for your ISA and other investment accounts. Your platform and fund fee should be below 0.5% combined so you have more money to invest instead of paying fees.
59. Review Your Bank Statement
Are there any regular fees or subscriptions you didn’t use for the past 3 months? Cancel them!
60. Streaming Services
Do you need Netflix and Apple and Amazon and Sky and HBO? Prioritise and cancel.
61. Online Services and Apps
Do you really use the pro settings on your apps or that exercise program? Cancel what you are not using right now – you can always subscribe again later!
62. Magazines and Books
Are you reading the magazines? Using your audible credits? Paus or cancel subscriptions you are not currently using,
Have More Money by Reviewing Your Car Ownership
63. Do You Need One Car? Or Two?
Consider how you use your car(s). Would you save money with a car sharing service, renting cars occasionally or taking a taxi? Only own the car(s) you need.
64. Buy a Good Value Car
A car that’s a few years old is often better value than a brand-new car but fuel consumption, second-hand value and cost of maintenance and repairs should also be considered.
65. Own Your Car For a Long Time
Only replace your car when absolutely necessary and you will have more money for the car you really want!
66. Take Care of Your Car
Wash it and have regular services and maintenance, to make it last, and avoid expensive repairs.
67. Drive Efficient
Only drive when you can’t walk or bike, and drive in a fuel-efficient way if driving a petrol car.
68. Gym Membership
Do you go enough for your gym membership to be worth it? If not, find a gym where you can pay as you go.
69. Explore Free/Cheap Ways of Exercise
70. Exercise Kit
Are you truly in need of more exercise clothes? Use what you have until you actually need new ones. At that point you will have more money to buy something you love and will want to use for a long time!
71. Collect Airmiles
If you travel a decent amount for work or privately, use flights within the same group and make sure you always collect the miles. You can also get a credit card that help get you extra miles. (But only if you pay off your card in full every month!)
72. Book Your Hotels Through the Same Site
I use Hotels.com where you get every 10th night free. I also book for other people whenever I can to get extra nights!
73. Be Loyal to a Hotel Chain
If you stay in hotels for work, be loyal to a hotel chain and make sure you join their membership for a lot of perks and free nights.
74. Book a Hotel Room With a Fridge and/or Kitchen
By not having to eat out for all meals and snacks you can save a good amount of money – and it’s more convenient!
Internet and Phone
75. Compare Internet Provider
Check on an annual basis what prices and offers are available in your area.
76. Only Pay for the Broadband You Need
It’s easy to think that more is better, but unless there are seven of you streaming content at the same time, you will likely not use all the data on a good broadband. Monitor your usage and save money by only paying for what you need.
77. Use a Portable Modem with a Sim Card
If you live in an area without great broadband coverage you may save money by getting and extra sim card with enough data for you and your family. Consider this option when you choose mobile phone provide as you can sometimes get an extra sim card for a good price.
78. Cancel Your Fixed Phone Line
You have your mobile. You don’t need another phone. If you use the phoneline for your internet, consider the option above with an extra sim card, this can often be cheaper.
79. By Your Phone Separately
You will always pay more if you pay for your phone as part of your contract. Buy a good phone yourself and use it for as long as possible. Then you will have more money buy a new one.
80. Shop Around for Mobile Phone Contract
Compare providers that provide sim only deals. You should be able to find deals below £10 a month. (I pay less than £7 a month).
81. Reduce Your Data Usage
Make it a habit to download podcasts, videos, and other large content on Wi-Fi. Change your settings so nothing auto-downloads on mobile data. Then save money by reducing how much data you pay for.
Lower Transportation Costs to Have More Money
82. Ticket Purchase
Buy tickets far in advance to take advantage of good prices and early bird deals. If not possible, you can wait for a last-minute deal – don’t try this for big holidays though, or you may be disappointed!
83. Avoid Peak Times
Whenever possible avoid traveling at peak times. This can mean taking an earlier or later train or avoiding the school holidays.
84. Consider Taking the Bus
If you’re not in a hurry, taking the bus can be a cost-efficient way to travel. Especially consider a bus to airports rather than taking an express train to have more money left for your holiday.
85. Negotiate Remote Working
Work from home a day a week and you won’t need to spend any money on transport that day.
Have More Money with Free or Low Cost Entertainment
86. Explore Your Library
Many libraries have tons of free resources including apps for borrowing e-books and audiobooks for free. Many also have great enertainment for children!
87. Listen to Podcasts
There are great podcasts on every topic – explore and expect to get hooked!
88. Free Events
Most cities and towns (and villages) have a ton of free events. Check out your local event calendar and join a group on social media that shares local free events. Your local library can also be a great resource!
89. Read Books You Own
Have a number of books you bought, or got as a gift, that you never read? Make it a priority to read them before buying new books!
90. Learn a Skill You are Paying For
Is there anything you are currently paying for that you would enjoy doing, if only you could? Take a course or explore free resources on the internet and learn!
91. Explore Your Local Area
Walk, hike, explore independent coffee shops and gardens. When you actually get out there you will find a ton of good value that you can enjoy.
92. Prioritise the Main Event
If you are going to the cinema, will it be better because you eat something at a restaurant beforehand, buy a ton of snacks and drinks for the movie and then go to the coffee shop after?
Take a look at your entertainment habits to see which brings you value and which can be modified to save money (bring your own snack?). Don’t stop doing what you love, just make sure you are mindful.
Feel good by doing good and meet likeminded people!
94. Have a Potluck
Instead of you buying everything or just go to the bar or a restaurant, have a potluck with your friends or family. It doesn’t have to be dinner; potlucks work well for wine or bear tastings, or have a cupcake competition!
Reduce Temptation to Save More Money
95. Cancel Email Lists
Getting a lot of ‘great deals’ in your mailbox? Unsubscribe and you won’t be tempted!
96. Remove Shopping Apps from Your Phone
You can still shop online but do it mindfully from your computer rather than while watching telly or having a glass (or bottle!) of wine.
97. Don’t Use Shopping as a Hobby
Only go shopping when you need something, not for something to do on Saturday afternoon. Start trying out other ways of entertaining yourself from this list!
98. Remove Restaurant and Delivery Apps from Your Phone
Again, you can still book a table or order your food, you just need to get out of the chair.
99. Only Buy Your Temptations After You Decide to Consume Them
It doesn’t matter if your go to is sweets, crisps or wine – don’t keep them at home as you will consume them (and then buy more). Only buy them when you have made a mindful decision to consume them. Do you have to have them at home? Out of sight out of mind!
To Have More Money and Improve Your Finances:
100. Take Action!
You will only get there by doing the work, one step at the time.
That’s it! Remember not to do everything at once but focus on one thing, get it done and move on, and it will all build up.
Are there other ways you have improved your personal finances finances with 1%? Share below!