5 ways to lower the household monthly budget

Almost everyone is having to make their money go further these days. The cost of living is going up, and for most wages have remained flat. Only those who were putting significant amounts of their income aside in savings have been unaffected over the last few years. But while our disposable incomes have gone down, it doesn’t necessarily mean our standard of living has to too. By being clever with our money we can make it go further than ever before. Here’s just a few tips on how to cut down your household expenditure so you’ve got a little more leftover for life’s little luxuries.

The Supermarket Challenge

Next time you go grocery shopping buy two of each product – the one you normally buy, and a cheaper version such as the supermarket’s own label or the value range option. Eat them at the same time, ideally as part of a family meal, so you and your family can see if they can notice the difference. You’ll find that many of the cheaper products taste the same as or in some cases better than the premium version, allowing you to switch to them and reduce your grocery spend. It’s not unrealistic to cut 20% or more off your food bill by doing this.

Don’t automatically renew anything

When it comes to renewals, you’ll almost always get a bad deal unless you compare or haggle. Whether for your phone, home insurance, or energy supply it’s usually possible to save at least 10% by haggling or switching provider each year. Be warned though that when comparing options it’s important to have accurate data about your usage or you could end up paying more than you expect.

Generate your own electricity

Green energy is becoming increasingly mainstream with solar panels and even wind turbines appearing on homes across the world. Generous government subsidies, grants and subsidised loans can make installing solar panels a real cash cow. You can offset the cost of your own electricity bill and even make money selling any excess power you generate to the power company. The panels generally last decades without needing maintenance. Many solar panel companies, such as AGL Solar Energy, will provide you with free estimates of the cost of fitting these so you can see if it will be worthwhile for you.

Don’t upgrade your phone

Smartphones might not seem expensive when your phone company offers you a free upgrade, but you’ll pay for the device through increased network charges over the length of the contract. High end smartphones such as iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S series can cost over £500/$600 to buy without contract, and on contract you’ll pay the same but monthly over the course of the contract. This generally adds on another £20/$25 to your contract each month. If there’s nothing wrong with your current phone and it’s contract has expired simply switch to a SIM only contract instead to cut your phone bill.

Make your own coffee

Do you find yourself going to Starbucks or another coffee shop every morning just to perk up before work? It might not seem like much money each time, but over the course of a year it can really add up. Consider investing in an espresso machine instead, you’ll pay about the price of 30 coffees for a decent machine, but it will cut the cost of each coffee to about 10% of what the shop charges. It might take a few minutes to prepare your latte, cappuccino or Americano, but you’d often spend that waiting in line anyway. If you like your coffee to go you can always purchase disposable cups or a flask. An added benefit is the ability to have your favourite seasonal syrups year round, so no more waiting until Christmas for your peppermint latte or gingerbread mocha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *