It’s a tough time for people all over the country. The cost of living is skyrocketing, and families are scrimping and saving just to get by. We’re seeing huge price rises in everything from energy bills to fuel to the weekly grocery shop. Unfortunately wages are not rising to meet the current rate of inflation and this is taking its toll on thousands of lower income households.
This trend is in part caused by the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the war in Ukraine and a range of other contributory factors. With luck, things will start to go back to normal soon but in the meantime, those struggling will need to do what they can to protect their finances.
There are so many ways to save money in every area of your life. Chances are, you are already making an effort to spend less, but there may be more you can do to ensure your financial security. Here are four key areas of your life where you can start making a difference today.
Cut down on the cost of your weekly shop by searching for the best discounts and bargains. Switch to a cheaper supermarket if necessary and check the store’s flyers, website, and social media pages for exclusive deals. Shopping in the evening can be a highly cost effective technique as you can pick up reduced perishable goods for a fraction of the price. Plan out your meals for the week and write a thorough shopping list before you leave the house. This way you will spend less money and avoid unnecessary food waste at the same time.
Owning a car is incredibly expensive. As well as the cost of the vehicle, you also have to factor in fuel, insurance, tax, and servicing. You can reduce your expenses by avoiding unnecessary journeys and taking shorter trips by foot or bike. Shop around for the cheapest gas station and avoid filling your tank all the way. Studies show that filling up your car half to three quarters of the way is most fuel-efficient.
If you’re reluctant to give up your annual vacation, consider a cheaper alternative to package resorts and expensive hotels. Consider a camping trip to reduce accommodation costs, spending the night under the stars and cooking meals over a roaring fire. You can find cheap tents or a used caravan dealer online and start planning your nature experience.
Household energy is one of the biggest expenses right now, and although it shows no signs of abating, there are some things you can do to lower your costs. Be extra vigilant with turning your appliances off at the wall when not in use. Electronics can drain a huge amount of electricity in standby mode so you can save a lot of money this way. Consider switching light bulbs, boilers, and other appliances to more energy efficient models and look into changing providers as well. Turn the taps off when brushing your teeth and try to take shorter showers.
Great article Sarah.
Houses and cars are usually one of the biggest monthly costs and where you can make the largest change to your finances.
If you are remortgaging, most people don’t realise that you can actually ask for an interest only mortgage. You don’t have to get a repayment mortgage. It will often be half the monthly cost. Seek advice from an Independent Financial Advisor to see whether or not that is recommended for your situation.
One of the biggest costs of owning a car is depreciation. It is costing you money every month you own it, even if you don’t drive it anywhere. If you have 2 cars in your household, then calculate the cost of annual depreciation, insurance and servicing and see whether it is worthwhile having both cars.
When I did this myself many years ago, I realised that we were only using the second car a couple of times a month and it was costing a lot of money for that convenience. Instead, I decided to sell my second car, and take a taxi for those few trips when my wife and I both needed the car.