Do your bills make you cringe? I know mine do. To me, it seems like for every penny I earn there are at least two service providers ready to take it. Yet as I learn to be more financially aware, I’ve come to find that there are a lot of things my family and I could be doing differently to cut back.
With a few lifestyle changes and creative thinking, we could actually have money left over each month to do something we enjoy.
So here’s what we did and you can start today too!
1. Write down all your expenses
Accounting for every penny that leaves your house is essential for cutting costs. When you see where your money is going you have a better idea of what you need to cut back on. Even small little things add up over long periods of time, so it’s worth looking into everything including bank charges, services, extra takeaways etc.
2. Shop for Better Insurance Rates
When it comes to costs like auto insurance, you should continually be on the lookout for a better deal. As car insurance providers look to find new business, they offer incentives that might include lower prices, additional services, and so on. Not to mention the fact that an improved credit score can get you a better quote. It’s a good idea to compare insurance rates at least once per year to get savings. This can apply to things like home and renters insurance as well.
3. Ditch the daily Coffee fix
Okay, so I love my caffeine fix, but when I realized how much my habit was costing me, I had to reconsider. In fact, based on research we spend on average £ 500- 800 per year on coffee alone! This is based on just one coffee takeway a day during week, but most people would have more than one cup. I could think of a ton of things I could do with that kind of money instead. If you need your caffeine fix, invest in a good coffee pot and brew it at home or take advantage of the free stuff from the office.
If you don’t drink coffee, think about other things you buy on regular basis, that you could make at home or stop spending your money on. This could be for example daily sandwiches from a takeway place or snack bars from a corner shop where they are more expensive than from a regular supermarket.
4. Cut the TV subscriptions and Cable TV
On average, most families are spending about £75-100 per month on cable TV, click here for the statistics which is why it’s a good place to start reviewing your contracts to see whether you are getting the best value for your money.
With modern technology, there are other ways you can watch your favourite movies and shows without the traditional cable TV subscription. A more affordable alternative might be to pay for internet service while utilizing streaming services like Netflix or Amazon. There are also TV cable companies that focus on a particular type of movies or TV shows so that you can mix and match the channels and streamings services that you actually want.
5. Compare Electricity & Gass Rates
These days it’s much easier to switch from one provider to another, so there is really no need to be stuck with the same energy provider if you are not happy with your current rates. Do a little search online to find out what’s available in your local area and compare prices to your existing household bills. Because energy companies have to compete for your business, the rates are going to be a lot more affordable.
6. Buy Generic brands or supermarket own brands
Don’t be afraid of generic brand food items as they can save you a lot of money. Most people assume, you get what you pay for, but store or generic brand products can actually be very good. Since they don’t advertise through commercials and other costly avenues, they can afford to offer you products for less. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a few brands that you’re loyal to, but if it’s not on sale or you don’t have a coupon, generic versions are usually just as great.
7. Ask for better rates
This last one really shocked me, but did you know that many companies have deals to offer and all you have to do to get it is ask! Contact your utility, phone, credit card, or car insurance companies and ask them about deals and discounts they have for existing customers. Since they want to keep your business, they’re going to do what they can to get those prices down for you. Whether it’s a one-time deal or an ongoing thing, a penny saved is a penny earned.
If you feel like all you do is work to pay bills, it may be time to give your household budget a once over. When you actually record your spending habits, you get a real understanding of what expenses are draining the most income. From there, it is a matter of coming up with a plan of action to eliminate or reduce the costs. Hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas to get started.