Cutting back’ is a phrase on many of our lips in these austere times, but what are the best ways to do so? How can we start being more sensible with our money, but still manage to gain some pleasure out of life? If you, like us, are struggling, then read on for 5 brilliant tips for saving money…

1 Shop online

Supermarkets encourage us to buy more than we need – and they are experts at it. Think about the amount of times you have popped in for some kitchen roll and ended up with a full trolley and far lighter in the wallet. By shopping online, you can set up repeat orders to include all your regular shopping items and easily compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deal. The fact is, it’s a lot harder for supermarkets to fool you into thinking you need something when you aren’t inside their psychologically-designed stores and it’s one of the best tips for saving money going.

2 Buy own brand products

It’s possible to slice your weekly shopping budget in half if you buy own-brand value items. Generally, you can expect good quality and although there are times when you really just prefer a big name product in your basket, if you keep these to an absolute minimum you will notice the difference in spare cash very quickly.

3 Cook your own food

We are all busier than ever, but if you can find the time, cooking your own food saves so much more money than buying ready meals – and it’s much healthier for you as well. Try cooking a few meals on a Sunday to see you through the week, or invest in a slow cooker; you can throw in a few ingredients in the morning, leave it on a slow cook all day and it will be piping hot when you get home. It’s dead easy – and will save you money in the long term.

4 Use price comparison websites

If you really need to buy something, use a variety of price comparison websites to make sure you are getting the best deal. Not only will you find the best price, but you will save money from not having to drive from shop to shop and you will save a lot of time, too.

5 Pay off your credit cards regularly

This takes some real dedication, so if you don’t think you will pay off your credit card every month, don’t get one! Many credit cards offer special privileges for using them; this can be anything from supermarket points to air miles. Make sure you are getting your points by using your credit card regularly to see those benefits come into fruition. But, once again – make sure you pay off your monthly bill so you don’t lose out on interest.