Is your household budget spiraling out of control? Do your outgoings exceed your income? Or are you struggling to keep on top of things? Do you find yourself eagerly awaiting payday every month only to find that once your household bills are paid and you’ve done a big food shop, there is very little left for the next few weeks? Or, do you find yourself unable to cope when an unexpected bill, perhaps a repair, comes in? Well, you aren’t alone!
The cost of living has risen enormously in the last 20 years. Much faster than minimum wage. The average 4-person household is spending up to a third of their income on rent or mortgage repayments, another third on food and the rest on other household bills. A massive amount of us have nothing left to cover other costs, to socialize or to have fun with our families, let alone things like vacations and treats. It’s no way to live. There are some things, like the rate of inflation, that you have absolutely no control over. But, there are other things that you can change. Things that you can do to reduce your household expenses, enabling you to start building a rainy-day fund or just feel more financially stable.
Food might be one of our busiest household expenses, but it’s also one of the best places to save money as well as one of the easiest. You just need to take a little more time to plan, instead of just buying on a whim.
Every week sit down and write a meal plan for the coming days. Think about everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then, take a good look through your cupboards and fridge to see what you need before writing your shopping list so that you are only buying what you need. Then, stick to it. Some people find online shopping helps as it’s not as easy to be tempted by other things.
Meal planning like this gives you a great chance to save money as well as reducing your food waste massively. Other places to save money on food include:
- Buying cheaper ingredients
- Freezing leftovers
- Cooking in bulk and freezing extras
- Eating smaller portions
- Including filling, cheap ingredients like beans and lentils in your cooking
- Not eating out or on the go
Next, there’s utilities. Like food, heating, water and electric is much more expensive than it used to be. But, again there are easy places to save. Enter your details into a comparison site to make sure you are getting the best deal. Don’t waste money by sticking with your supplier out of loyalty. If you are unable to switch, or your current supplier is the best, you could still save money by switching to a tariff that better suits your needs.
Some people find that a smart meter helps them to monitor their usage and save money, speak to your supplier about having one installed. Then, make some simple changes like turning lights off when you leave rooms and lowering your thermostat a few degrees.
Household appliances can be very expensive. Modern smart appliances can save you money in the long-term but can be expensive to replace if they break. So, instead, look after them, get them repaired using an Appliance repair service, keep them clean and make sure you read the manual and use them correctly. So that they last longer and cost you less.
Stop Paying for What You Don’t Use
An awful lot of us are spending a fortune on things that we either don’t use, don’t need or don’t want. This is nothing short of a complete waste of money. Look at those things that you are paying for that you don’t use. Do you go to the gym often enough to make your membership fee worth it? Could you take up running or workout at home instead? Do you need all of the minutes and data on your mobile phone contract or could you cut back? Do you need high speed internet? If you just use it to browse or for the odd download you might not even notice the difference. Write a list of everything that you spend money on and ask yourself if you need it at all, or if you could make some cutbacks?
Consolidate Your Debts
Most of us are in debt. A lot of us have more than one debt in the form of overdrafts, credit cards and store cards. The interest and repayments on these can be crippling. To save yourself money, apply for a consolidation loan to put all your debt in one place. This will mean you pay less interest and give you a chance to clear your debts much faster.