The cost of living is going one-way, up. You can see it at the petrol pump, you can see it on the bottom line of your energy bills and you can see it on your supermarket receipts. For now, at least, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of this changing.
In fact, it’s likely to get a lot worse (more expensive…) before it gets any better.
So, what can you do?
Quite a lot actually…
…it’s about making savings in the right places, in the right way, and at the right time.
Start by having a critical look at your outgoings each week. It’s a good idea to separate these into ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’
For example, a mortgage payment or utility bill – these will obviously fall under your ‘need’ list, and unless you can make any changes by contacting your lender or supplier, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make too many cuts to your monthly outgoings down this route.
Saving money on your needs
Think about your food shopping habits for a start. You obviously need to go food shopping, but can you swap your supermarket for a cheaper one? Can you buy in bulk and plan your meals ahead of time?
How about your travel? How do you get into town or to work? Maybe it is time we consider the convenience of the car. Would it be possible to bike to work? Can you get the bus into town? Can you car share? These options aren’t going to work for everyone but thinking about how you get to places could be a way of saving a few pounds each week.
There are real savings to be made here.
Saving money on your wants
The ‘wants’ are the things you want to spend your money on, the things you buy to treat yourself, or to treat your loved ones.
Of course, these could include things like shopping sprees, meals out, tv subscriptions and even holidays, but there are savings to be made in other places too. The devil is in the detail. We are going to take a closer look at shopping and tv subscriptions to highlight some ways you can sell money.
Millions of us are literally throwing money away on subscription services we never use, or that don’t suit our situations and lifestyles.
How many of us pay for Sky TV, but never find the time to watch it? How many of us have Netflix plus Amazon Prime plus BT Sport plus NOW TV plus all kinds of YouTube subscriptions and other pay per view services?
A lot of us, that’s who.
It’s time to look at those subscriptions critically , to work out which ones are worth keeping and which ones are just burning our hard earned (and easily spent) pennies and pounds.
The shopping spree
For some people going shopping for a new wardrobe is their way to relax and some escapism and the important thing with saving money is that it needs to be a long-term habit, so cutting out your shopping spree is only going to last so long before you decide you need to go. So how can you make it more affordable?
Setting a budget
Set a budget before you go, if needs be take out cash and only spend the cash that you have. Let’s face it we all lose track with how much we are spending when we just tap the card, but with cash we can seeing it going down.
Create extra cash
Before you go on a shopping spree, look through your wardrobe are there items that you can sell? There are now a number of groups on Facebook as well as online shopping platforms where you can sell your clothes and make some cash before you then buy the new clothes. This money can then supplement your shopping or reduce the amount that you need to save to go and buy new clothes.
All of this budgeting and differentiation between the ‘needs’ and the ‘wants’ doesn’t have to be a negative process, by the way. It doesn’t have to feel as though you’re depriving yourself of the things you really enjoy.
It’s important to keep some of the ‘wants’, if you can possibly afford to.
Creating a family budget is of course an important thing to do, but it’s much more important to stick to it, or it’s not worth the paper its written on. To encourage everyone to stick to it, why not include them in creating it?
Now, more than ever, it’s vital that children and young people are made aware of the costs that come with living, whatever that looks like for you and yours. Get creative. Get the pads, pens and crafty bits and bobs out.
Identify your ‘wants’ and separate them from your ‘needs.’ Make your family budget and then stick to it.
What if you are already in debt?
16% of the UK’s adult population is facing a debt problem. While find cost savings is important for some people who were already struggling with debt before the cost of living started to go up saving is only going to get them so far. If this is you and you are struggling with debt there are options out there for you. Call our debt specialists today on 0800 254 5112 if you need to speak to someone.