Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
You know the easy way to save on day-to-day household expenses?
It’s to develop a few, simple, money-saving habits and just keep them going each week, month and year.
It’s just like eating healthily: you learn a few rules (like not eating too many cakes and sweets and making sure you have fruit and veg every day) and put them into your daily routine.
After reading The Money Advice Service’s piece about how to save on household bills, I was inspired to come up with some of my own tips and tricks for saving on household bills and day-to-day expenses.
My biggest tip is to take out the ‘thinking’ part of saving. Setting up healthy saving and spending habits makes it easier to do because you don’t have to think about it…you just do it!
So here are six great habits that I have come up with over the years which will help you save at home day by day.
We have got into a nasty habit of throwing things away and buying new when we could actually re-use things, mend them, upcycle or even swap or sell to make the most of what we have.
This is the thinking behind my Clear Your Clutter campaign – use what you have, get rid of what you don’t need in a positive way (i.e. sell it, swap it, give it to charity), mend and upcycle what isn’t quite good enough and live a leaner, freer, happier life.
Some things you can do to use and re-use are:
Yes just once a year, go through your various bills and see which companies will give you a better deal.
You should be able to save over £1,000 in the year just by switching.
In fact, get some ideas from our article on how to live on half your salary. Much of that is down to switching to cheaper providers each year.
Probably the easiest switch is gas and electricity. You don’t even have to have your bills with you to find the cheapest one. You can just put your postcode in here and see what cheaper deals come up. If you have a recent bill that can make it more accurate but it’s not essential.
It’s REALLY important to switch your car insurance once a year, particularly as premiums are likely to hit an all-time high in 2018.
Never accept the new premium your current provider offers. Go onto a car insurance comparison (at least one) and find a cheaper deal. Even if you don’t go for that one you can use it as a bargaining tool with your current provider to get a better deal
Same with home insurance. Always shop around for a new deal.
Go on a home insurance comparison site (like the MoneyMagpie one here) and get a cheaper deal.
You can save LOADS by getting the best value travel insurance, pet insurance and any other insurance once a year. It really doesn’t take long to fill in the online form and we have lots of info for you on how to do this in our insurance section here.
You probably already know how much you’re being ripped-off by your broadband and phone providers??
It’s worth taking a look NOW at what the deals out there are. They keep changing and it’s highly likely that you could be saving at least £20 a month by switching.
Doing a budget sounds dull but it’s actually quick and easy if you use one of the many budget calculators on the net like the one on the Money Advice Service here.
You can do it on the back of an envelope too.
Once you know your monthly ‘playing’ money you should divide that by four and that will give you a rough idea of how much you can allow yourself to spend each week.
If you have that in mind as you go about your day you will be better at knowing what you can spend on and what you can’t.
You could even take that amount out of the ATM in cash each week and have that only as your spending money – no cards. It’s a really good way of budgeting without knowing you’re doing it!
Why pay if you can get it for free?
There’s loads you can get for free all over the place. If you make it a habit to try and find free versions of everything then that will bring your costs right down.
Every hour of every day someone is trying to get you to part with your money for some reason.
Obviously you can’t spend your life not spending on anything, but the point is that you need to know what you’re spending on is what you really want or actually need.
Keep asking yourself “do I really need this? Do I want it and if so why? Will it really make my life better or am I just being manipulated?”
At least half of the time it’s likely you’re being manipulated so reject it and close your wallet!
Thinking for yourself is one of the best money-saving and money-making tips I have. Get information and make up your own mind – maybe with help from an independent advisor that you pay – and ignore the pressure from friends and adverts to spend, spend, spend!
In many things, cheap is not cheerful. Watch where you spend.
What ideas to you have? Let us know your tips in the comments below.