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There’s no beating around the bush, we’re all on a mission to have a bit more money in the bank as we look ahead to the coming year.

And with that, more spending power for when the time comes.

To put you on the front foot and help keep your finances up to speed, check out these cost-cutting hacks….

Health and wellbeing

“The New Year is always a popular time to get into fitness, with people setting ‘New Year, New Me’ goals, such as taking up a new sport or getting back to the gym,” says Amy Knight, personal finance writer and expert at NerdWallet.

But while you may find discounts on fitness equipment in the January sales, she advises to prioritise paying off any debts first, so you can start the year with a clean slate.

“Avoid making purchases until you know for certain you will stick with your new exercise regime, and if possible use guest passes and free trials before committing to a monthly membership,” she advises.

Food shopping

Knight says: “Save money on your food shopping with supermarket loyalty schemes, or by downloading supermarket cashback apps.

“Just keep an eye on the offers available by checking the app, and you might find some products are even eligible for 100 per cent cashback. ”Offers can range from food and drink to toiletries and pet supplies.

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“Switching to a cheaper supermarket can also help,” says Knight. “Set a monthly budget for your groceries and keep an eye on your spending to make sure you stay within it, where possible.”

Planning your meals will help you minimise food waste by making the most of your ingredients, notes Knight, and you’ll know exactly what you need in advance. “Then, stick to that shopping list and avoid impulse purchases to keep your spending down.”

Commuting

Consider walking or cycling, suggests Sarah Shea, environmental sustainability officer at Glasgow Kelvin College.

“It’s a free commute, gives you some exercise, and has wellbeing benefits as an added bonus.

“Although a bike can be an initial outlay, many organisations have a ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme to help you purchase a bike (if needed) – it will be cheaper than a car in the long run,” notes Shea.

If travelling by bus or train, she says to buy a monthly or weekly pass if you’re using them regularly.

“It’s a big saving when compared to single fares. Check whether you qualify for discounts, for example First Bus offers organisations who sign up to their ‘Commuter Travel Club’ discounted tickets.

“If you need to use a car, try to carpool with friends or colleagues,” says Shea. “It will cut your commuting costs in half or more if you share the load.”

Going out

“It can be daunting to plan a day out (by yourself, with friends, or family) if you’re trying to save money,” says Sarah-Jane Outten, savings expert from MyVoucherCodes.

“But a good day out doesn’t have to come at a cost, and there are plenty of ways to save cash while doing so.”

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She says the most obvious way to save money is by adapting your plans to be budget-friendly, or better still, free. “There are plenty of activities out there that don’t cost a dime, like going for a nice walk or taking part in community-led events that are open to the public.

“Another way to save money is to spread the costs among a group,” suggests Outten. “Sometimes, inviting a few extra friends can make it cheaper for everyone and open up opportunities for more cost-effective group tickets and offers.”

You can also reduce the price of your day out by utilising deals, special offers, and discounts. “MyVoucherCodes, for example, has an entire category of discounts aimed at days out, ranging from experience days and tours to theme parks, exhibitions, and more,” highlights Outten.

“It’s always worth checking beforehand, and you might even find some inspiration if you’re still stuck for ideas.”

Holidays and travel

Knight says: “Carefully consider additional costs such as airport transfers and take time to compare travel insurance quotes.

“Sometimes a flight might sound like a great deal, but don’t rush to book until you have budgeted for all the aspects of your trip.”

It’s in the airlines’ interests to encourage you to book your journey right now, notes Knight, but a hasty down payment might not be the right thing for your finances.

“I recommend you compare the cost of a staycation and carefully consider what else the price of flights could pay for.

“If you’re determined to go abroad, flying at an off-peak time can save money on your journey – early weekday morning tickets are often cheaper.

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“You can also cut down costs by using loyalty schemes offered by hotel chains or frequent flyer programmes. Some credit cards award you airline loyalty points,” she adds. “So if your trip is still a few months away, you may have time to earn yourself a discount.”

Home and utilities

To be more energy-efficient while using your existing home appliances, Natasha Sweet, product specialist at AEG says to ensure your washing machine cleans clothes efficiently. “You must be able to fit the palm of your hand vertically on top of your clothes, never overloading.”

If you have an induction hob, she says to always match the pot size to the burner. “Using a small pot on a larger ring wastes energy and risks overspill, potentially leading you to waste energy.”

To utilise the power of your oven, Sweet says to batch cook your favourite winter meals. “Batch cooking meals in an energy-efficient oven means you save time and energy using the oven multiple times.”

Furthermore, she says storing similar food products together in the fridge for easy access, and knowing exactly where your food is will save energy – and lead to a consistent temperature.

“Never overcrowd the refrigerator, leaving space between the product and fridge walls means airflow can be regulated and circulated for efficient cooling.”

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