Given the current economic climate, incremental savings can have a huge impact on a monthly household budget. Fixed energy prices are a boon to calculating and reducing potential utilities costs, but there are a number of other tricks and tips that will help you to make your money go further.
Automate your bills
Many companies offer discounts for payment by direct debit. By paying all fixed costs directly not only will your phone, utilities and rent be covered automatically every month, you will also benefit from any reductions offered.
Control your utility usage
Energy prices in the UK seem to be constantly rising, but by getting into the habit of controlling usage you can stay within budget and reduce wastage. Turn lights off when you leave the room; don’t leave equipment on standby; set heating to come on for half an hour at a time, just long enough to warm the rooms.
Plan meals in advance
Out with your rent, groceries are likely to be your largest expenditure. By planning menus a week in advance and only buying what you need you can be sure to stick to a budget. Don’t forget to add snacks and nibbles to the shopping list – panic buying will always lead to you spending more than you intended.
Invest in a large freezer
Although BOGOF deals are infamous for tricking you into buying items that you wouldn’t normally consider, being able to take advantage of reductions on freezable foods that regularly appear on your shopping list is a good way to make your budget stretch.
Have set shopping days
Toilet paper, detergent and shampoo will always be needed and buying in bulk every quarter can help you to control your budget and benefit from multi-purchase savings. By planning your shopping days in advance (every Sunday for perishables, for example, and once every three months for everything else) it will be easier to only buy what you need.
Take a tip from the catering trades
Bars, restaurants and cafes have ‘holding’ stocks. Documented lists of everything that is used between each purchase period, this makes restocking easier and more efficient. By doing the same in your home you can quickly count what you have left of each item and then calculate what you need to buy to bring your pantry back to a ‘holding’ level without overspending.
Use a pin board
By having a dedicated place to pin up weekly menus and monthly shopping lists your whole household can add to them, ensuring that nothing is missed out. This also allows you to calculate holding stocks by comparing previous lists.
Set yourself a treat allowance
Budgets are all well and good, but everyone needs to have a treat to look forward to. If a monthly trip to the cinema, weekly glossy magazine or latte every morning on your way to work is an absolute must-have, calculate it into your budget.
Where possible, keep it to cash
Shopping with plastic makes it far too easy to overspend. If you only carry as much as you have allotted for specific treats and expenditures, you will be unable to make the impulse purchases that will take you over budget.
Physically separate expenditures
Once all of the automated payments have been made, you will have a better idea of what you have left for the rest of the month. Take out your treat allowance, shopping budget and any other regular payment amount and put them into separate envelopes. This means that you can see exactly what you have left as the month progresses, making it much easier to control your budget.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a sponsored post and I received monetary compensation in return for publishing.