Retirement should be something we can all look forward to, but to help fund the lifestyle you want when you’re older it’s sensible to save up some money now.
Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension is a way of making this easy for you, as your employer takes care of everything on your behalf.
If you’re wondering if you can afford it, take a look at your current spending. You can probably make some small changes that make all the difference to your finances in the long run.
Here are some tips to help you cut down on your spending now - which is money you could be putting into your pension for later.
1. Your mortgage
Shop around and think about switching provider for a better deal, because loyalty to your bank benefits your bank and not you. There are lots of tools available online to help you compare options.
2. Your fuel and energy bills
Check the price of gas and electricity using comparison websites – you could pay less with a new supplier, and they’ll take care of the switch-over with minimal fuss. Some everyday things you could try at home are using energy saving bulbs, turning off lights when everyone leaves the room and not leaving electrical goods on standby.
3. Your insurance and warranties
Compare deals on your buildings and contents insurance and check you’re not paying for cover on items you don’t need. Think twice about taking up extended warranties on some household electrical goods as they can be very poor value for money.
4. Your shopping
Try buying own-label goods instead of expensive brands, using alternative low-cost grocery stores or your local market, and writing a list to help you stay focussed during the weekly shop. You can also collect money-off vouchers, try online shops offering discounts or free deliveries, and ditch expensive ready meals. For presents and cards, grab bargains in the sales and store them until they’re needed.
5. Your car
Compare petrol and diesel prices locally at www.petrolprices.com. Get more mileage for your money by turning off air conditioning, removing the roof rack, making sure tyres are correctly inflated and decreasing the load as lighter cars use less fuel. And for car insurance make sure you shop around, since it really can differ wildly.
6. Your TV and satellite
Try Freeview instead of a satellite TV package – the clue’s in the name! You’ll still get loads of choice, but without the inflated price tag every month.
7. Your holidays
Price-compare brochure packages with how much it would cost to arrange trips yourself. Sometimes low-cost flights or transport and hotels booked directly can be cheaper. Booking early can often save you money, too. And finally, don’t just automatically renew annual travel insurance policies if you don’t have a trip booked – wait to restart the cover from the time you next go away.
8. Your mobile phone
Rethink your mobile phone contract. Many people pay for inclusive minutes and texts they never use, so pay-as-you-go deals can sometimes offer a cheaper alternative option.
9. Your home phone and internet connection
There’s a massive amount of competition out there, which means deals are frequently changing. Many companies now offer combined packages for better value on your telephone, TV and even broadband internet.
10. How you exercise
The great outdoors is free and a good way to catch up with people. Bargain exercise DVDs also offer a fab workout time and time again or you could try a low-cost gym in your area.
For more advice, deals and saving ideas, visit our Money section.