Image taken by Alan Cleaver on Flickr
In the current economic circumstances everyone is looking to make their monthly allowances stretch just a little further. Nobody wants to live as if under siege, but there are a few easy ways to cut the household bills and give yourself a little more wiggle room with your obligations.
Review your existing arrangements
Loyalty is admirable, but it makes good financial sense to regularly assess your outgoings and borrowings and move to the best deal. There are a number of cards that offer a 12 month interest free option for balance transfers; upgrading your phone contract with a plan that better accommodates your habits and usage can save you a huge amount annually, and bundling your landline, broadband and TV services can offer a healthy cut in costs. Insurance options, service guarantees and any other potentially duplicated coverage – such as mobile phones being on the household insurance as well as having a separate agreement with the phone company – should also be weeded out and rectified.
Pay on time
Many energy providers offer incentives to organise automatic payment for their services. Late payments will often come with a fine so setting up a direct debit inevitably makes it cheaper. Although a fixed monthly payment schedule may be easier to maintain, some suppliers have a habit of over-estimating the charges and building up a hard-to-access credit on your account. In order to make sure that you only pay for what you’ve used, organise a quarterly standing order to clear the account and make it a habit to call in the meter readings to ensure an accurate bill.
If rent is the biggest monthly obligation, the grocery bill runs a close second. There are a myriad of loyalty cards available from the supermarkets that allow you to accrue points that translate into cash savings on the next bill. But being able to take advantage of worthwhile BOGOF deals is also one of the best ways to make a food budget stretch further. Rather than getting sucked into shelling out for products whose only attraction is price, make it a rule to stock your freezer with only your preferred staples. Remember, it’s not a saving if it’s not a product that your household would normally use, so buying it cheaply is simply a waste of money.
Time it right
Rather than spending money on unnecessarily high utility bills, make sure that nothing wasted. Use a timer to turn the central heating on twenty minutes before the household gets up, and set it to turn off twenty minutes before you all leave; only turn lights on in a room if it is in use and use energy saving bulbs in every socket; turn down the temperature on the radiators and water heater; never run half loads of laundry and try to avoid using a tumble drier if at all possible.
Most budget overspending come from panic buying and ill-thought out household maintenance. By pre-planning your standard daily activities – from making the dinner to heating the water for a bath – you can be sure to have spent only as much as you need to without wasting any of your monthly allowance.
Although regimenting your laundry days and pre-planning every meal can seem like a drag, the extra you save through such forethought means that you can now afford the little luxuries that make life worth living. For more ideas on how to cut your household expenditure, this site has a wide range of resources on how to budget your money to make the most of every penny.
There are a lot of websites that have a wide range of information and advice on how to cut down household bills this site has a wide range of resources on how to budget.
Jordan is a keen blogger who enjoys writing about money and finance topics.
Image taken by Alan Cleaver on Flickr