Maintaining a home is no easy feat. From keeping the fridge stocked to paying the bills and ensuring the rooms are clean; home life can be massively expensive. There are, however, plenty of really simple ways in which you can change your spending habits from day to day in order to take control of your money once and for all.
Food and Drink
Lists and Receipts
We all find ourselves overspending on food and drink more often than we realize. One reason for this is that we are tend to buy our groceries in an ad-hoc manner, allowing us to go way over-budget without even realising it.
When shopping, always come armed with a list to keep yourself on task. If you didn’t come to the supermarket for more house-plants, you don’t need to be in that aisle. Further, it is best practice to keep your receipts and go through them every month to compare spending and decipher which items may be sending your finances through the roof.
Food items are much more expensive to buy when they’re not in season. Know your fruit and veg and when they’re in their prime (for example, broccoli is best in the summer months; apples in the winter). Click here for a printable seasonality table.
Make savings on repeat purchases of staples such as dry pasta, rice and tinned goods by buying in bulk. Ensure you are only stocking up on items with very distant (or non-existent) expiry dates to avoid food wastage. This will also save you time on foot or money in fuel from constantly popping over to the shops when the cupboards are empty.
Cook in Batches
Cooking more than you need for one-sitting is a really cost-effective way of using your ingredients. Go for easy mass-catering options such as vegetable chilli or curry, and place in the freezer to defrost for a later meal. If you are in the habit of buying lunch at work or over the weekends, you may also use leftovers to create a more nutritious and cost-effective lunch to get you through the day!
Utility Bills and Odd Jobs
All of us dread having to pay our monthly utility bills, especially in those bitter winter months where we might have indulged in hiking up the heating instead of layering up. You don’t have to sit by a fire in four jumpers and a coat in order to save money on your bills, though. Putting your heating on a timer (a short blast in the morning and in the evening, for example) is a good way of limiting your energy expenditure. Blocking any drafts will also do wonders for your home-temperature, as well as your winter finances.
Where possible, do your own fixer-upper jobs. Obviously don’t go fiddling with the pipes if you aren’t a skilled plumber, but when it comes to tasks such as a quick re-paint or putting up picture-frames, avoid getting in paid help and try out some DIY!
Time your Showers
Use a timer or set an alarm to prevent you from going overboard with the water usage whilst you shower. If timed showers seem too stressful an idea, operate on a ‘one-to-two-song system’ if you like to listen to music whilst you wash and the duration of your shower session exceeds two songs, you are using too much water and thus spending too much money. Whilst this might not seem like a big saving over one or two showers, the impact of a full household over the course of a year could certainly save you money.
Sell Old Items
Doing a clothes and items cull is a great way of de-cluttering your home and making some extra cash on the side. Using a mobile marketplace such as depop is a popular and easy way of advertising your unwanted goods at a price of your choice.
Kick the Online Shopping Habit
Online clothes shopping may offer tantalizingly cheap deals, but the easiness can make us get ahead of ourselves when surfing the web. Apply the same food shopping list principle whenever you go online to find something specific to keep you on task, and don’t take the risk of going digital ‘window shopping’ or you’ll be destined to big-spending.
Learn to Sew
Instead of lugging worn and torn items to the tailor’s or even throwing them out, hone your skills in sewing by hand. Sewing-kits are super cheap, or invest in a sewing machine if mending becomes a regular habit. You might even make a hobby out of it!
Gradually adjust your lifestyle according to these suggestions and you will see a lot more of your money for much longer. Getting smart with your home habits can vastly improve your financial situation, saving you from the stresses of dreadful monthly payments and unruly bank statements, and reap the rewards of getting savvier at home.
Uncle Buck is a payday lender which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We have a passion for helping our customers save money and learn more about managing their finance. Read our blog for regular posts and useful information.