Everyone is feeling it. With Christmas coming up, petrol and food prices rising, and Brexit on the horizon, money just isn’t going as far as it did. I’ve been looking at ways to make my money go further over the last few months. Instead of feeling worse off, here are a few practical and sustainable ideas that will help you reduce your day to day costs without having to miss out on any of the good stuff.
What’s your budget?
Working out how much money you have coming in and what’s going out is a great place to start. I downloaded my bank statements from the last six months and sorted the entries into regular bills and irregular expenses. Some expenditure is the same every month – things like gas, electric, rent or mortgage. But don’t forget to add in irregular expenditure too. For example, I spent £86 at the opticians in the last six months, and £35 at the vets one month and £42 another. I averaged these costs out to help me come up with my monthly expenditure. Just thinking about how much you have available each month can help you make good decisions about what to spend.
Where can you save on bills?
Whenever money is tight, look at the regular outgoings first. I use U Switch but there are plenty of bill comparison sites for everything from gas and electric to home and car insurance. I saved money by transferring my fuel bills, home and pet insurance. I couldn’t find a better deal for car insurance but at least the few minutes I spent checking ensured I know I’m not paying more than I need. All Small Businesses Should Consider Getting Fuel Cards In 2020, as they can not just help the employees save a ton of money but also get great offers for the overall expenditure. Check your phone and broad band bills in this way too: many switching sites will send you a reminder to switch if you are under a contract.
What’s going out?
I also went through all my direct debits and standing orders. It’s easy to let direct debits run without really needing the product or service you are paying for. My biggest saving was cancelling Sky, and a protection policy I had for the Sky box. I realised I could get most of the channels I watched for a fraction of the cost with Now TV. And actually, most of my watching is available through iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime already so I haven’t even subscribed to Now and I’m around £50 a month better off.
Where can you save on food?
Switching from Tesco to Aldi has been my other big saving in the last few months, and I can honestly say it has halved my food bills. On the downside, Aldi doesn’t deliver so it takes more time. The range is generally fine.My daughter is enjoying going to a different supermarket and she and my partner share the shopping which helps. And, feeding a family of five, this has saved us between £150 and £200 a month.
If you look at all these savings, once you have made the switch you should be getting more for your money without feeling any real pain of cutting back. If you can pay lower fuel and communications bills, cut some direct debits you had forgotten about, and get the same or similar food for less, you can really make your money go further each month. And if you want some more ideas, Sunlife have some more simple tips to help you tackle rising living costs here.