What if we told you that you didn’t need to? There are lots of simple and easy ways to create a little breathing room without impinging on your quality of life – you just need some help working out what they are! Here are a few handy ideas to get you started.

Sell the stuff you’re not using

We’ve all looked around at some point and realised that we need a clear out, and whether it’s your wardrobe that’s bursting at the seams or your old TV gathering dust in the attic, it’s possible that there’s some money to be made. While we’re all for supporting charitable causes and donating to your nearest thrift store, take a long, hard look at what you’re throwing out before it finds its way into a plastic bag. Maybe those jeans don’t fit you anymore, but would somebody buy them if you uploaded them to Depop? Your television is missing a remote, but might somebody want it if you priced it cheaply and advertised it on Facebook Marketplace? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and no matter how little it’s worth, anything you move on equates to extra money in your pocket.

Make your home more energy efficient

Next up, it’s time to think about making your home more eco-friendly. Going green has many benefits, primarily for the environment, but it makes sense from a financial as well as an altruistic perspective. Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to make it happen. One of the simplest is to replace your lightbulbs with LEDs, which could purportedly save you around £240 per year on your energy bills. Air sealing your home will help too, decreasing your energy outlay by roughly 20 percent per month, as will turning the temperature on your water heater down a fraction. These might be small steps, but they could add up to some pretty significant savings. Remember, the less energy you use, the lower your bills will be.

Switch to pay-as-you-go or a SIM-only plan

Most of us spend a significant amount on our monthly phone bill, but is this really necessary? While you probably took out a contract to get the most up-to-date phone, lots of us stick with the same deal even when we have a perfectly useable handset and the option to terminate the original agreement. While it’s true that you could upgrade, ask yourself whether you really need to do so in the instant. If not, take our advice and contact your provider to end your contract. Once this is done, opt for pay-as-you-go or a sim-only plan instead, and you’ll find that you could save a tidy sum each month. There are so many good deals out there that you won’t even have to settle for fewer minutes or a less attractive overall plan.

Buy in bulk

We said that this article would help you to spend less, so asking you to shell out more than you normally would perhaps seem counterproductive. However, although a lot of people are deterred by the thought of a higher initial outlay, buying in bulk can save you a vast amount of money, and it requires no real sacrifice at all. If you’re wondering where you can do it, wholesalers like Costco are an obvious option, but there are also plenty of places online, from Amazon to British Cornershop. This article is particularly handy, and offers some great tips for getting to grips with it all.

Cancel your gym membership and take up jogging

The reality is that most people who have a gym membership are not getting their money’s worth. While you might go once or even twice a week as a rule, there are also periods where you’re too busy to visit at all, so perhaps it’s time to find a more cost-efficient alternative. Our advice is to cancel your membership and take up a free outdoor activity instead. Jogging is an obvious choice, but if it’s not to your taste, there are plenty of other free ways to exercise, from extending your daily dog walk to taking advantage of your local tennis courts or following yoga tutorials on YouTube. All of the above are free, fun, and will keep you fit to boot.

Keep an eye out for special offers and discounts

We promised that every method included on this list would give you the chance to save money without making your life miserable, and here is a perfect case in point. Instead of telling you not to spend at all, we simply suggest that you look for special offers and discount options before you buy. Imagine, for an instant, that you want to indulge in a little online gambling. Rather than going to the first provider you stumble upon, we’d recommend using an online directory site like Oddschecker to see what offers are out there. Similarly, if you want to purchase a new pair of jeans, we’d urge you to see what sales are on before paying full price for something you could get significantly cheaper.

Unplug your electrics when you’re not using them

We told you these solutions would be simple and straightforward, and it doesn’t come much easier than this one: make sure that you’re unplugging each of your devices when you’re not using them. Although most will consume only a small amount of energy when they’re in standby mode, this still drives up your monthly bill, and you simply don’t need to be paying the excess. An Xbox 360, for example, would add roughly 15 kilowatt-hours to your total if you were to leave it plugged in on standby for a month, so a small step like this really can make a difference. From your coffee machine to your phone charger and laptop, don’t have them plugged in unless it’s absolutely necessary.

When it comes to saving money, there are so many ways to do it, and lots of them require little to no effort to accomplish. Far from impinging on your life or forcing you to stay indoors and be miserable, they can even come with their own unique benefits, from helping to make your home more eco-friendly through to encouraging you to declutter. Isn’t it worth giving them a go to see how much you could save?