Financially, many people have been struggling recently; the rise in the cost of living coupled by inflation have seen the cost of day to day expenditure creep up alarmingly with many struggling to make ends meet. However, there are clever ways in which you can stay in control even when money is tight. Looking at the expenses which drain your coffers can be hard…it means you’ve got to face up to reality! But the payback is worth it because you will begin to see your savings grow and your security increase.
The 5 most important things to keep an eye on with regards to your household expenditure are as follows!
1: Grocery shopping: For many, this is one of the largest outlays that they make on a weekly basis. Some careful changes to your regular shop can save real money…enough to make a difference to your savings. Top tips for reducing your weekly food bill include making out a list before you hit the shops…this stops you from throwing expensive “treat” foods into your trolley; another good tip is to avoid buying non-essentials during your food shop…clothing for instance and DVDs can often find their way into a trolley and they really rack up your bill.
Keep your food shopping expedition for food only; of course you may need to stock up on cleaning items or beauty products but these can be reduced significantly too. How many cleaning products do you really need? Separate cleaning sprays for kitchen and bathroom are not necessary and it’s far cheaper to use one product for both rooms. Swap your expensive shower gels for large packs of soap and try own-brand shampoos…they’re often just as good as the luxury brands!
2: Watch that electricity bill: We’ve all been guilty of switching on all of the lights in the house and then forgetting to turn them off again but this casual use of power can see your energy bills shoot through the roof. Remember to turn off any electrical items which are not in use and use low wattage bulbs too.
For a lot of older people, the size of their house is unmanageable, too costly and can cause a lot of hassle as regards upkeep. Selling a home and moving to a smaller, more manageable home can often be significantly beneficial.
3: Eating out: A nice meal out is a treat which many of us enjoy from time to time but making a habit of grabbing lunch on the run from cafes and shops can prove a costly practice. A coffee and a sandwich can cost more than £5.00 in a café even to take away…start making your own lunches and save more than £20.00 per week! Even better buy a flask and take your own coffees to work to drink during the day rather than use vending machines.
4: Direct debits: Make sure all of your direct debits and standing orders are up to date; check that you don’t have money going out for old arrangements which should have been cleared by now and keep an eye on those gym memberships! If the gym isn’t your second favourite place…stop paying! It’s easy to lose track of regular payments and wasting money in this way is surprisingly common.
5: Phone bills: Are you getting the most out of your mobile contracts and landline costs? Visit comparison sites to see if you’re missing out on any hot deals. Try to keep your family on one mobile provider’s list…there are often incentives available which can cut your costs quite dramatically.
Learning good money management strategies starts in the home; cull the unnecessary and see your savings grow! You’ll be surprised at how soon you will adjust to the changes and although old habits die hard, you’ll be reaping the benefits immediately if you commit to the changes with real enthusiasm.
Mark O’Riordan is a writer and a journalist and has written about money saving for years now. He is a lover of the great outdoors and dancing.