If you have too much month at the end of your money, then your budget is in trouble! Evaluating your monthly household bills is a good starting point for gaining control over your budget and cash flow. With the cost of living increasing across the UK, more and more people are looking for ways to tweak their household budgets and cut back on costs - thus yielding a beneficial budget boost.
What the stats say about household bills in the UK
The Guardian recently released an article stating that household spending in the UK is the highest it has ever been in 14 years, since 2005! The statistics mentioned in this article show that average household spending rose by a fair amount of £18.40 per week from March 2017 to March 2018. In fact, the Office for National Statistics also noted that while monthly spending is increasing in the average UK household, people are spending less on luxury items such as clothing and eating out. The increase is being seen in everyday living expenses - the things that we consider “essential” daily spends.
NimbleFins has also featured statistics on the average UK household budget which was recently updated in January 2019. If you feel that your household spending is getting a bit out of control then why not take a look at the budget mentioned and see how it compares to your current budget. This should be able to give you an idea of what areas of your budget you should be adjusting your spending in.
Reduce the cost of your monthly expenses
If you feel that you are definitely a part of the statistic that has a high monthly household expenditure and you feel that you need help and advice on household savings, then you have come to the right place. Here are a few ways that you can save money on household bills:
Say no to paper - go digital
Some companies will reward their customers financially if they opt for a paperless bill. By simply managing your own accounts online, you help others save money on printing costs and you get to do something good for the environment too! Here in the UK, some energy providers such as Npower offer a discount to customers who handle their accounts online. So why not switch from paper to digital statements and you could save a few hundred pounds per year!
Stop calling - Skype or WhatsApp call instead
Most people nowadays have broadband internet at home and let’s face it, simply cannot live without it. But how many times have you sat at home, connected to your Wi-Fi and yet still picked up your mobile phone to make a phone call that costs you? Now, that can change and you can drastically reduce your mobile phone bill by opting to use apps such as Skype or WhatsApp. Skype can be downloaded to your mobile phone as an app or installed on your laptop or PC. Your biggest task is getting others to install it too. That being said, WhatsApp (which almost everyone with a smartphone has) also offers Wi-Fi calling - which can help you to drastically reduce the overall call costs when you are connected to your home Wi-Fi.
Avoid duplicate cover costs
When you buy a smartphone, laptop, microwave, or any other household appliance, insurance cover is typically offered to you. In most cases when you opt for the cover you end up having to pay extra costs that are completely unnecessary. If you do have household insurance in place, then all of these items should already be covered, making the additional insurance a pure waste of your money. Take the time to scrutinise all the insurance packages you have in place, working out what is covered and what isn’t and start cancelling those that aren’t actually unnecessary or that are just simply doubling up.
Shop smarter - avoid brands
Unfortunately, big name brands often cost a bit more and most of the time you aren’t paying a higher cost for more product or better quality, just the name. Take a realistic look at your monthly grocery bill and see if you could possibly shop somewhere cheaper or buy an alternative or supermarket brand to save a few pounds here and there. You’ll be surprised at the savings you make, as it really does add up over the month and even the year!
Change your hygiene routine
No, we aren’t suggesting you stop washing all-together, but if you make a small change and switch from simply bathing to showering, you will notice a difference in your water consumption and overall water bill. You can also reduce your water use by around 35% per year, if you have a water meter installed.
Turn down the heat
During the bleak winter months, heating costs are what affect the average UK households’ outgoings the most. By sacrificing just 1°C on your heating settings, you can save up to 10% a year on your heating costs. This is a great reason to turn down that thermostat right now!
Make sure you are paying the right council tax
As it turns out, over 4,000 households in the UK are registered in the wrong Council Tax band. And if you are in the wrong band, you could be paying out too much Council Tax. If you believe that your paying the wrong band of Council Tax or simply just want to make sure that you’re in the right band, then you can read this article from the Money Advice Service to find out more on Council Tax and how you can check if you’re paying too much.
Consider refinancing your car
Cash flow is important and if you are struggling to make ends meet with your monthly financial obligations, then you might think that you have to sell your trusty car and start using public transport to do so. You don’t though! You can approach your credit provider and refinance your car. This will extend the length of your vehicle loan and reduce your monthly premium but will provide you with more money every month and you get to keep your car! That’s a win!
Get a head start on savings
Even if you aren’t already struggling under the financial burden of your monthly expenses, you should still take a close look at your budget and find innovative ways to save on your household costs. If you start figuring out savings and reducing your monthly household bills now, you won’t have to spend time and effort on it in the future and risk getting yourself into debt. Check back to our blog soon for more tips and advice on saving money!
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