Avoid Budgeting Blunders and Save Money on Your Bills! | Pip Milburn
Constantly find yourself with too much month at the end of your money? Do you struggle to make ends meet, even if in theory you earn enough to cover your outgoings? Do you find yourself looking back each month and thinking where exactly did all my money go? All of these things can happen when your budget isn’t being managed effectively, it’s frustrating but easy to solve if you put your mind to it. Here are some of the ways you can regain control, and save money on your bills.
Get your household bills down
When it comes to your household bills, you might be of the opinion that there’s not much you can do about them. We all have to pay bills, right? Well, while that might be true, the last thing you want is to be paying over the odds, and if you’ve not switched companies in a while or checked your tariffs then you probably are. Run quotes through price comparison sites and check where the deals are, if you’re out of contract then you’re in a position to take advantage of new customer deals. Make sure the tariff your gas and electricity is the cheapest, and that you’re taking advantage of savings you can make by paying through direct debit. Switching from a water bill to a water meter can often save you money too, as you’re only paying for what you use rather than a fixed amount. If you do a lot of gardening and like to maintain your lawn and plants you might be put off the idea, but you can always use poly water tanks to store rainwater and use this during drier times. Lets face it, we get plenty of rain here in the UK so it will quickly fill back up again, and you’re not restricted on using it during hosepipe bans either. All of the savings you can make will add up, rather any extra cash stay in your pocket than go to a big company if it doesn’t have to!
Stop overspending on food
Food is one area that most of us overspend. From buying lunches when we’re out and about to ordering takeaways, to buying too much and throwing it away. It’s bad for the environment and it’s bad for our budget too, but there’s plenty we can do to resolve the situation.
First things first, get organised with your meals. Each week, write up a ‘menu’ of meals you’re going to cook each day, and then you can build a shopping list for just these items. That way when you go grocery shopping, you’re armed with a list and aren’t being distracted by offers and discounts for things you don’t need and are designed to make you spend more. Having a well stocked store cupboard can also save you money, fill it with jars, tins, dried grains like pasta and rice and herbs and spices. That way, you already have staple ingredients and don’t need to buy them for every recipe. And if you do end up running out of fresh food between shopping trips, you can cook something from the store cupboard and don’t have to resort to an expensive takeaway. Saving money on food will always involve cooking more at home and eating out less, but this doesn’t have to be boring or feel like some kind of punishment. Learn some tasty new recipes, scour Pinterest and cookbooks. Come up with inexpensive yet delicious work lunch ideas that make hitting the local sandwich shop less appealing. From colourful salads to pasta, even last night’s dinner leftovers can be tasty the next day at work. If you’re going on a day out, take a picnic and your own drinks rather than spending over the odds when you get there. Over the course of a year, you could save hundreds- even thousands of pounds just by being more careful with food. And you most definitely don’t need to feel deprived if you go about it the right way.
Save costs on your car
Having a car is often essential for family life. It makes getting the kids to school much easier, ferrying them to their friends and after school clubs, running errands, going on days out and much more. But owning and running a car is expensive, and it’s more than likely one of the biggests expenses in your budget. Be sure to keep costs down by shopping around for your insurance, and invest in breakdown cover. It only costs a few pounds each month but could save you hundreds in recovery costs if you need it. Selling your car and purchasing one that’s cheaper to insure, tax and run could also be an option- you might see it as a ‘downgrade’ style wise but if it costs you less then it’s never a bad thing. As a motorist, it always helps to have a separate savings account just for car costs, as you never know what might happen. If you break down or a part needs replacing, you have cash on hand to get it fixed rather than having to lend money and potentially even get into debt for it.
Reign in the luxuries
We all have our little luxuries that we enjoy, and it’s these things that can make going to work all feel worth it. Being able to afford the things we want is important, however, every now and again you should check if you’re getting as much out of them as you think. You might be spending each month on digital subscriptions– Amazon Prime, Spotify, Netflix and Youtube Premium for example. But are you really using them much? Are there some you could get rid of, or free services you could switch to that would do you just as well? If you’re a fan of buying branded homewares like candles and cleaning products, keeping an eye out for cheaper versions will often do the job just as well but keep your shopping bill down.
This is a collaboration post.