If you surveyed a group of people and asked them if they’d like to have more disposable income at the end of the month, it’s likely that everyone would say yes. For most of us, paying bills and maintaining our homes takes up a sizeable portion of our salaries, and we’d love to have a little bit more room for manoeuvre. If you’re keen to save money at home, it is possible. Here are some small steps that can make a huge difference.
If your boiler goes in the middle of winter or your air conditioning system is up the spout in the summer, this can be costly. Sometimes, you can’t prevent issues, but often, there are ways to reduce spending in the long-term. Organise regular checks and services throughout the year and report any issues. If you hear unusual noises when the shower is running, or the heating system doesn’t seem to be working normally, it’s best to call in the professionals and book an appointment rather than resorting to making an urgent call when you’ve got no water, your pipes have burst, or your electrical appliances have died. You’ll pay a lot less for routine maintenance checks than you would for a 24 hour electrician, plumber or engineer. If you haven’t had anyone look at the boiler or the air conditioning system for a while, now is the time to get those services booked in. You may have to pay a fee now, but this should save you a significant sum of money in the long-run.
It’s also a good idea to take steps to protect the outside of the house. Clear the gutters, varnish any wooden fencing or cladding and keep an eye out for any potential issues with the roof, such as loose tiles or slates. If there are holes in the roof or the gutters are jammed, this could lead to leaks and increase the risk of damp.
Be honest. When was the last time you checked the going rate for home insurance or took a minute to compare prices on broadband and satellite TV? It’s all too easy to renew policies and plans, especially if you have a very hectic lifestyle, but shopping around could save you a huge amount of money. Using the Internet, you can compare prices on everything from car and health insurance to your phone contract, broadband and energy bills. It takes a few minutes to enter in some details, and then you’ll be presented with a list of fees and providers. You can click on the links you like the look of, check the small print and sign up to a new provider with minimal hassle. It’s particularly beneficial to have a look around if you’ve been with the same companies for a long time. Many businesses treat new clients better than existing customers, and you can get some great deals on new contracts. If you don’t want to switch, it’s worth calling your current providers and asking if they can offer a more competitive package in line with what rivals are offering.
Reducing your energy bills
The average UK household spends around £1,350 per year on gas and electricity. That’s a serious amount of money. The good news is that it is almost always possible to bring these figures down by making some very simple changes at home. Most of us waste energy without even thinking about it. How often do you leave lights on when you’re not even in the room or run the tap while you’re brushing your teeth? One really effective way of tracking your energy usage is using a smart meter. This small device gives you a visible reading, which enables you to see how much you’ve spent and how much energy you’re using at any given time. If the readings are higher than usual, this can alert you if you’ve left appliances running, and you’ll also be more conscious about the amount of energy you use. It’s a really good idea to invest in innovations like energy-efficient appliances and bulbs. The average energy-saving bulb lasts around 10 times longer than a standard bulb, and replacing old bulbs could save you up to £40 per year. It’s also wise to do a quick check before you go to bed every night to make sure you haven’t let anything running on standby. This is an unnecessary use of electricity.
Savvy grocery shopping
The average household spends more than £53 per week on food, and this figure increases significantly in households with children. It’s important to eat well, but there are lots of ways you can save without sacrificing taste and enjoyment. Online grocery shopping is great for keeping an eye on the total, avoiding alluring offers and saving time and effort. When you’ve got a visible tally, this prevents you from overspending, and you won’t end up buying things you don’t need just because they’ve got 20% off that day. It’s useful to compare prices on more expensive items such as baby products and pet food, as you can save a lot of money, especially if you buy in bulk. At least one supermarket is bound to have offers every time you do a shop, so have a quick look online and see if you can make savings on products you would normally buy. Visiting a store near the end of the day often enables you to get good deals on meat, fish and bakery products.
If money is in short supply, it’s hugely beneficial to maximise your income and get more for your money. Making simple changes to the way you run your home, spending a bit of time on the phone or on your laptop comparing prices and being a bit savvier when you shop can all help you save money. Every little helps, and if you manage to cut back in all these areas, you could end up saving a substantial amount of money each month.