The global cost of living has been steadily becoming higher as inflation continues to climb. Data shows that the price growth rates have been at their highest since 2008. Goods shortages are a big part of the problem, as numerous manufacturers faced shutdowns as a result of the Covid restrictions and lockdowns. Many weren’t able to recover, leading to plastic, steel and concrete scarcity, materials that are widely used for various products. Major retailers had to increase prices as a result of the higher supply chain costs.
Shipping companies have seen overwhelming surges in demand after the pandemic, with some containers being ten times more expensive than they were before. Energy and petrol prices have also been steep, hitting a seven-year high in 2022. Many households have found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the expenses, leading families to look into what they can do to cut costs.
If you’ve been thinking about developing a budget for your family’s monthly expenses, all you need is a careful, well-thought-out plan in order to avoid wasting money or ending up with eye-watering bills.
When it comes to saving money in your home, you’ll most likely instantly think of your utility bills. There are several things you can do to reduce costs in this area. It can be as simple as turning down the thermostats a little. If your home is regularly too hot, you or a family member could become ill. Other existing health issues, such as respiratory problems, might be exacerbated by the temperature. As a general rule, your home should be around 20 degrees Celsius during the daytime and approximately 18 degrees at night time.
Turning off devices when they’re not in use means saving energy, but installing a power strip that lets you shut off electricity completely is even more efficient since gadgets can consume energy just by plugging in. If you plan to do some remodelling, you can also look into options that help reduce expenses. Adding secondary window glazing is one of them. This extra window is installed on an existing one, ensuring better insulation. Using this method, you get to save roughly 12% on your energy bills, which amounts to anything between 83 to 493 pounds per year just on utilities.
Switching older model appliances for the newer varieties helps, too, since the new ones are generally equipped with energy-saving technology. LED light bulbs are also the better option, as they can potentially reduce consumption by up to 80% yearly. Moreover, when you choose these options, you don’t just help your finances but the environment as well since reducing your energy usage results in fewer emissions, helping combat the adverse effects of climate change.
TV, mobile and broadband
If you feel like you can’t live without these three, you’re not alone. You don’t have to give them up to stay within a budget, but you should be mindful of a few things. For instance, you can regularly check to make sure that you remain within the best deals. Not paying attention to the tariffs could mean that your supplier changes the agreement, and you give your permission for it. If you’re approaching a deadline and would like to explore other options, start doing so in advance to discover the best option for you.
There are several other things you can do to reduce costs, such as:
- Checking the alternatives for streaming services. Some networks include free films, and free trials are available for most of them. This way, you can take your time to decide if you really want to pay for a subscription or if you should look elsewhere.
- Determine if it would be cheaper to get all the services from the same provider or if it is more cost-effective to choose different suppliers.
- Ask providers for better prices or deals. They might have special offers that are only available on request.
- Match your lifestyle with the contract you choose. For instance, if you know you use a lot of mobile data, choosing a deal that offers this functionality will be cheaper.
Saving on your water bill can be a little more complicated since you might not even realise how much you’re consuming. Installing a low-flow shower head is simple, and you can do it yourself, similar to how you can DIY secondary glazing. These appliances are specifically designed to use less water than the standard ones through the use of mini-turbines and different nozzle shapes.
Make sure to check for any leaks. Although it might seem like nothing more than a few stray drops and, therefore, inconsequential, you can lose several litres of water during a single day. Don’t use the toilet as a waste-paper basket. Not only is it dangerous for the pipes and can cause clogging, which means you’ll have to pay extra for repairs, but it also means that you flush away more water than you need to.
Choosing to have more showers than baths also reduces the overall amount of water you use. Remember to turn off the water when you brush your teeth or shampoo your hair. When doing laundry, make sure to get a full load ready and wash at a lower temperature and for shorter cycles to cut back on the bills.
Cutting food costs without impacting the nutritional value of your meals. For starters, you should focus more on making home-cooked meals instead of relying on takeout or dining at a restaurant. Make a list when you go grocery shopping, and make sure you stick with it. This will allow you to bypass overspending. Using coupons will allow you to save up even more.
Look for generic brands or labels, as they are typically more likely to be cheaper, even if you do your shopping at stores that are a little pricey. When dining out, you can take advantage of day specials or happy hour deals that are typically more cost-effective.
Cutting back costs and having a budget can seem difficult initially, but when you start noticing the benefits, you’ll realise that the effort was more than worth it.