The cost of living seems to rise and rise, especially when you are raising children. There are costs here, there, and everywhere, that can come and go, from food, new clothes, school trips, and so on. Of course, there are cheaper ways to do things and some switches that you can make (think Primark for the new clothes rather than Boden, for example). But thinking of some other switches that can help your finances long term, can be a really good idea. There are many ways that you can cut your expenses and then leave more of your monthly income left, so that you can save for the things you need to get your finances back on track, or treat yourself to something.
Write down your expenses
How many times do you give a pound or so over (at school or nursery, for example), and just think that it is no big deal as it is only a pound. But then do you repeat that process over time and end up doing it more often? You need to be more mindful of where your money is going. So one good way to stay on top of it all is to write down everything that you spend for a month. Then you can really see the areas that you splurge on, so you know where to cut back in the future.
If you have far to travel for work, then it can be unlikely that you are able to do much else with your commute. But if you don’t have too far to travel, then have you thought about making the commute a little healthier? It can be good for you, as well as good for your wallet. You could easily cycle a number of miles or be able to walk a couple of miles. It can be such a good thing too, as it could mean cancelling a gym membership as you wouldn’t need to go there if you cycle to work. Ditching the train or even the car for a bike, or your own two feet, can be a serious money saver; plus, you’re going to get fitter at the same time!
Browse Charity shops
There are certain things that we all need to get. For example, new school shoes or a winter coat if our old one is broken or doesn’t fit. But the good news is that you can get some designer items for literally pennies if you look in the right places. Charity shops is a great place to start, and you can find a few one-off pieces of clothing that you won’t find on the high street. So next time you need to go shopping to get something for the kids or get something for the home, then it is a good idea to look for some cheaper alternatives first in charity shops.
There are plenty of ‘smart’ switches that you can make that can help you to save money on your monthly budget. So it is a good idea to think about the switches that you could make. So here are some of the things that you could look to swap:
- Choosing supermarket own brand rather than choosing a brand name when it comes to groceries. In fact, you could always switch your supermarket too. If you normally shop somewhere like Sainsbury’s, then could you switch down to somewhere like Aldi or Lidl instead, in order to save money?
- Phone contracts can really add up, and unless you stay on top of it all, you might end up paying more than you need to. Once the phone is paid off, have you ever thought about switching to a pay as you go sim instead of renewing your contract? A contract could be in excess of something like £40 a month, but a pay as you go sim could be something like £10 a month when you’re not having to cover the cost of the phone as well.
- Switching your bank can be a really good idea. It won’t necessarily save you money, but there are deals and offers on when you switch your bank. Sometimes it is an upfront lump sum of cash, but there are other things like insurance or vouchers that you can get too.
- As with your bank loyalty doesn’t get you anywhere. So when it comes to things like your utility bills, it is a good idea to shop around and see what better deals you can get. If you can get some money off your utility bills or insurance, then it can add up. Even if you can get yourself into a fixed contract for a number of years, then it will mean that you’re paying the same price for a set amount of time, which can be a great help for budgeting.
Bulk cook your meals
Planning ahead is a great way to save money, in more ways than one. So how about setting aside some time on a Sunday evening to plan out your meals for the week? Shopping in bulk is a great way to spend less, and when you plan your meals around things that you already have in the house, then it can make a big difference to the cost. Being able to cook things in bulk can also be a good idea; then you save time in the week, or you can put things in the freezer ready for when you need them or have a bit of a week that is tight on money, or for when you’re tempted to splurge on a takeaway.
Cut out the pricey drinks
You might be someone that doesn’t drink much. But for many people, a lot of their social activities will be based around drinking and it can consume a lot of your money if you let it. If this is something that rings true for you, then it could be a good idea to have an alcohol-free month every now and again, or just cutting out the booze on some of your night’s out. Plus, if it means that you can drive, then it means that you don’t spend as much in general, as you wouldn’t need to get a taxi back.
Ditch the large overdrafts
If you have got a large overdraft on your bank account, then the chances are that you will rely on it as it will be easy to just think, ‘oh it doesn’t matter, we’ve got the overdraft.’ Of course, having a backup for emergencies can give you some peace of mind, but that is better to come from savings that you have, rather than money that isn’t actually your own. If you are a bit concerned to just ditch the overdraft completely, at least until you can improve your savings, then how about halving it instead, and see if it makes a difference and help you to be more cautious with your money.
Cut back on expensive cleaning products
There is so much buzz around cleaning at the moment, especially if you are on Instagram or class yourself as a ‘hincher.’ There can be a lot of pricey cleaning products out there, and they can go really quickly. Plus, the plastic and the chemicals can be really bad for the environment. So instead, think about making your own natural cleaning products. Things like white vinegar, lemon, and baking soda can work really well for cleaning a variety of different things, from things like shower screens to sinks. These can all be bought cheaply and can last for a while too.