From time to time, everyone’s household budget needs revisiting. It may be that certain expenses increase seasonally so budgets have to adjust. Or it might be that you have a large planned expense coming up that you need to make allowances for. Certainly, at the moment, the unprecedented global pandemic has pushed a lot of people into financial hardship as jobs are mothballed and working hours cut as businesses struggle to cope. Lots of people are having to make coronavirus emergency budgets to tide them over this time of uncertainty. But whether it’s down to the wider viral situation or not, our finances tend to shift over time, and we have to make changes. Being able to adapt our spending to the circumstances and avoid getting into debt is an extremely valuable life skill at any time, and will certainly make you a lot happier by being able to live within your means and save money for the things that you really want. There are lots of ways to save more money on household costs, and once you get the ball rolling you’ll be amazed at what you can save on.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions
A lot of businesses these days operate on a subscription model. Everything from our contact lenses to our laundry capsules and even our food can be delivered in return for a regular monthly payment. This means there’s a lot of potential wastage – these models make the most profit when we make our payment by default but don’t use the product or service to its fullest extent. You can now find an app that cancels unused subscriptions, or manually list the direct debits out on your account and analyze whether you really need them. Convenience can be an expensive luxury – and if you’re trying to save money, it’s an easy one to do away with. You’ll most likely find that you don’t need or miss many of those subscriptions when they’re gone. There’s even an app that will automatically cancel unused subscriptions for you!
Learn Basic Repairs
When things around the house go wrong, it’s always a costly affair – either paying out for repairs or having to replace a thing at short notice when you aren’t able to save for it or shop around for the best deal. You can save big if you learn to do simple home repairs and servicing yourself. Most things aren’t too complicated, and it’s easy to find video tutorials on servicing your car, re-grouting your bathroom tiles or replacing a heating element in your oven. Things like this can really help you to save on unexpected expenses, although be aware that there are some things you do need a qualified professional for and that you can make worse and more expensive if you mess up – so always know your limits.
Get Smarter On Energy Use
One thing we do have control over is our energy consumption – and we can help save the planet and our bills at the same time! Get a smart meter to keep greater track of just how much your appliance usage is costing you. Here is the area where small savings made often can quickly add up. Little steps are easy to make, such as never leaving your phone or tablet plugged in overnight, always switching appliances off at the plug rather than leaving them on standby, only boiling the water you need in the kettle, turn down the thermostat and washing machine temperature by a few degrees and opt for a washing line or clothes airer rather than using a dryer. Also, ensure that you are getting the best possible deal on your energy rates and replacing appliances with low energy use ones when they need an upgrade. Small changes here and there can really add up!
Look At your Travel
Travel is one area where lots of us can streamline our costs. It may be that you’ve already been able to do so by working from home during the coronavirus lockdown, but if you have to go back to travel after conditions are relaxed, it’s good to revisit these expenses. Do you really need a car? What journeys do you make the most? If you only go a few miles most days, could you cycle instead and get fitter at the same time as being more environmentally-friendly and reducing your monthly spending? You could also consider joining a car rental club if there is one near you. For a low payment, you get the use of a vehicle whenever you need it, and costs such as car insurance and breakdown cover are all included. This can also be really useful if you live somewhere with chargeable parking, as you won’t have to pay to keep your car stationary. Services like Uber have made it far easier to live without a car but get transport when you need it. Even if you choose to keep a personal vehicle, just reducing the number of journeys you take cuts down on fuel cost and wear and tear.
Have A Spend Free Weekend
One great technique is to nominate one weekend each month that is completely spend-free. Make sure you have enough food and essentials in, and then hide your cards or give them to someone you trust and delete stored payment information online to make sure you don’t spend anything. Make it a regular habit, perhaps on the final weekend before you get paid. You could even try a week if you’re feeling brave! You’ll soon realize that you don’t need most of the stuff you buy, so it’s a good exercise in learning what is really essential. The money you save can be put aside into savings or used to pay off extra debt.
Snowball Your Debt
If you’re living with debt, the repayments can consume your disposable income and make day to day living impossible. Often people get into a negative cycle, especially if anything unexpected comes up that they can’t afford to deal with without borrowing further. If you’re in more debt than you can handle, there is help available and you can find advice if you Click here. Smaller levels of debt can be managed with the snowball method. Put simply, that is where you sort all your outstanding amounts in order of the interest rate and focus all your spare cash at paying off the highest one. It’s an intensive technique that allows you to make inroads on the amounts you owe, and pay off debt much quicker to free up more income for other financial goals.