Making your paycheck go further by reducing your bills

Right now, inflation is a big issue in a lot of countries, including the UK. According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) inflation is running at record levels. They say:

“The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) rose by 9.6% in the 12 months to October 2022, up from 8.8% in September 2022.”

(link to source)

Unsurprisingly, people are really struggling. In this situation, every little bit you can do to reduce your day-to-day living costs makes a dramatic difference. Below are a few ideas to get you started. Followed by links to some of the best resources we have found to help you to reduce your bills.

Broadband

These days a fast and stable internet connection is essential. Shop around rather than stay with your current provider. Doing so will typically save you £100+. Use comparison sites to identify the cheapest UK broadband deals that are available in your area.

TV and entertainment subscriptions

Review what you are paying for TV and things like gaming subscriptions. Often, if you sign up for these services as a new customer you can save around 50%. You will have to wait until your current subscription is up to be able to use another member of the household’s details to get a new contract.

Gas and electricity

This is the household bill that has risen the most and they are set to rise again. Minimising what you use, regularly checking that you are on the best deal and making sure that you get any grants you are entitled to will all help. Do everything you can to stay off prepayment meters. If you are already paying this way, work your way towards getting back onto a regular tariff. Currently, people on this kind of meter pay more per kWh for their electricity.

Rates

This bill is set to rise. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about that, apart from making sure that if you are entitled to a discount, you get it. Paying monthly will spread the cost and make it less likely that you will have to borrow to settle your rates bill.

Debt

If you have debt, do your absolute best to pay it off. In the current climate, this is not easy but doing so really is worth your while. Every pound you pay in interest is wasted money. Cash that you desperately need for other things.

Paying down your debt will stop this waste, as well as create a little extra breathing space should you experience an emergency. For example, if your car breaks down, you will have the capacity to borrow a little to get it back on the road and continue to work. If your credit is already taken up with debts that are years old, you will not have this option.

Use the avalanche method to pay off your debt. List everything out and what the payment is each month. Identify the debt on which you pay the highest rate of interest. If after paying off your existing debts, you have any cash left over, use it to pay off a little extra on the debt that attracts the highest interest. This approach is explained in more detail here.

Do not beat yourself up if you are unable to make extra payments for one month. Just keep at it and do your best not to add to your debts. Over time, you will pay them off and get into the habit of saving up for things.

Food

This is a big expense, which many people struggle to reduce. Again, do not feel overwhelmed. Lots of minor changes add up to substantial savings over the year. For example, if buying a different brand of cereal and giving up sugar saves you £1.11 a week, that is £57.72 per year that you have saved. Based on average consumption, growing their own tomatoes would save a family of 4 £68. That is based on them eating the cheapest supermarket tomatoes. If they normally eat cherry tomatoes and grow their own, the savings are doubled. Slight changes add up, so keep on thinking and trying out different ways to reduce your food bill week after week.

Great sources for other money-saving ideas

As promised, here are a few other resources that you can use to save even more money. Importantly, they are all updated regularly, so as new ways to reduce your day-to-day living costs become available you will be made aware of them.

·  Money Saving Supermarket website

·  Money Magpie

·  Moneywise

Many of these resources are aimed at UK consumers. But quite a few of the suggestions made will work equally as well if you live in other countries. So, it is worth your while to click through and have a look.