So the clocks are going back this weekend. Cue obligatory panic about whether that means we’ll get an hour less in bed or not! Thankfully, this Sunday you’ll have a whole extra hour in your day. Or your Saturday night, if you’re the energetic type.
Rather than getting 60 minutes more sleep, here are eight ways you could use your extra hour to boost your bank balance this weekend!
1. Check if you could save on your energy
This is a great time of year to find out if you could be saving money on your energy bills, as lots of tariffs with major energy companies are coming to an end. Why not use your extra hour to see whether you’re getting the best deal on the Which website?
2. Do a cupboard stock-take
If your kitchen cupboard is so full of tins it looks like you’re preparing to head into an underground bunker for six months, you might want to use your additional hour to have a clear out. I did this when I moved house recently, and found a tin of tuna which had a best before date of June 2007. No thanks. (Although James in the MoneyAware team says he would’ve eaten it!).
As well as being a good way of clearing out any out of date food, it’s also a way for you to check what you’ve got so you don’t end up buying twice. When you put everything back in the cupboard, put the stuff that runs out of date soonest at the front of the cupboard, so you can see at a glance what you’ve got to use up.
3. Plant some vegetables
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a back garden the size of a football pitch or a sunny window sill, there’s plenty of veg you can grow yourself. The BBC’s Dig In guide is packed with information about growing your own, from making the most of your space to when to plant things. They also have a gardener’s calendar, which tells you what you can start sowing now!
4. Plan your meals
This sounds so simple, but it’s such an effective way to save money. Having an idea of what you’ll eat each day means you’ll be less tempted to overspend at the tills.
Love Food Hate Waste is a great place to look for lots of top tips to help you plan your meals, reduce your food waste, and save you money.
5. Check your Direct Debits
Whether it’s for free movies or music, the ‘free trial’ is something most of us have signed up to at some point. Unfortunately ‘free’ often turns into a monthly drain from our bank accounts after the trial has ended.
Spending some time (an hour, for example…) looking through your bank statements will reveal if there are any pesky Direct Debits still coming out of your account.
6. Fix stuff yourself
If you’re like me, you’d walk over hot coals before getting on with those odd-jobs that need doing around the house. Having a whole extra hour in the day means we have no excuse.
If you’re puzzled by plumbing or dazed by decorating, there’s loads of information online to help you on your way to becoming a DIY whizz. I love the Handyman Know How website, which is full of handy hints and tips on everything from putting up a shelf to tiling your bathroom.
7. Put together a budget
Having an accurate budget is another simple but effective way to take control of your finances. If you want to find out more, take a look at our beginner’s guide to budgeting.
You can put together your own budget using our online Debt Remedy tool. It should only take you around 20 minutes, so you’ll still have plenty of time left for a cup of tea after!
8. Read Paul’s story
If you find yourself wide awake and worrying about your finances rather than enjoying your extra hour in bed this weekend, you’re not alone.
7.4 million people across the UK have problems sleeping at night because they’re worried about money. Read Paul’s story and find out what support is out there.