Most people have had to tighten their belts in recent years. However, are you doing everything you can to save money around the house? Here are some top tips to do just that.
Switch to energy-saving light bulbs. These will not only cut your electricity bills, but they are also better for the environment as they last considerably longer and require significantly less energy than conventional bulbs.
Do not leave electrical appliances on standby. The Energy Saving Trust determined that between £50 and £86 was spent by UK households last year running gadgets on standby.
Consider installing a smart meter. These can help cut down on overcharging and will also allow users to monitor their electricity consumption more easily.
Use a comparison site to ensure you are getting the best deal. Switching suppliers could reduce your annual bills by up to £300 (Telegraph.co.uk).
Invest in some energy-saving gadgets. For example, replacing an ordinary shower head with an eco one will reduce the amount of water you use and also the amount of energy required to heat it. Buying a radiator booster could cut bills by up to 10% (Telegraph.co.uk).
Install loft insulation and double glazing to reduce the amount of heat lost. You can also hire or borrow a thermal imaging camera to identify other areas of heat loss and address these. It is possible to get a home improvement loan or homeowner loans to do this. A secured homeowner loan can also be used to install solar panels, which as well as reducing electricity bills can also provide additional income.
Ensure your boiler is operating efficiently. Older models may need replacing.
Food and Drink
Switch to less expensive own-brand products at the supermarket and bulk-buy long-life foods where possible, especially if they are on special offer.
Grow your own. Not only will doing so save you money, but it is also fun and extremely satisfying. It’s even better if you have children, as they will love learning to grow and cook their own food.
Buy a slow cooker. Slow cooking is both significantly cheaper and easier than using a conventional oven. You can also use the cooker to make tasty stew from leftovers rather than waste them.
Avoid using bottled water. Instead, buy a refillable bottle and use tap water. Not only will this save you money, but it is also much better for the environment. Tapwater.org estimates that UK consumers spend an average of £25,000 on bottled water in a lifetime.
Make an effort to cut down on food wastage. Lovefoodhatewaste.com claims UK households waste about £60 worth of food every month, which is equivalent to £720 in a year.
Cut down on takeaways and save a fortune. Instead, make your own or buy cheaper alternatives from the supermarket. A medium pizza from a high street pizzeria will set you back about £12, while you can pick up a regular pizza from the supermarket for under £3.
Increase Your Disposable Income
Cut out all unnecessary expenses. Do you pay for gym membership but don’t go? Cancel it. Do you only watch catch-up TV? Then you are not legally required to own a TV licence. Take some time to go through your accounts and identify where you can save money. It all adds up.
Create a spreadsheet outlining all your income and expenditure. Not only will this ensure you do not overspend, but it may also help you to save too. No more guessing what is in your bank account or splashing out on treats without first checking you can afford to.
Phone, Internet and TV
Are you getting the best deal for your landline and internet package? Visit a price-comparison site to see if you can save money. Or better still, look into combining all of your media services to reduce the overall monthly costs.
Check you mobile phone tariff to ensure you are on the right one for your needs. There is no point in paying a premium for extra free minutes when you only ever send texts. Similarly, are you going over your data allowance every month? Tailor your package to suit your requirements and reduce your monthly bills — and if your provider doesn’t help you with this, go somewhere else.
Whenever possible, try to avoid calling premium rate phone lines from your mobile. For 0871, 0872 and 0873 numbers, use a landline as it tends to be three or four times less expensive than on a mobile.