With the sorry state of the economy over recent years, most home-owners are looking at ways to cut down on monthly spends without being frugal. These are ten simple steps to save your household £100s without missing out on home comforts;
- Invest in ISAs. Taxes are becoming a bigger pain than ever before, the only way to avoid the sting in the governments tail is to invest in ISAs. Although there are standard cash ISAs, Stocks and Shares ISAs offer the opportunity to invest for less. This can be risky so only invest what you could afford to lose in the worst case scenario, however if you invest wisely you could potentially bring in a handy amount of cash at the end of your ISA investment term. [Ed. For my American readers, ISAs are tax-sheltered savings or investment accounts.]
- Do the weekly shop online. A site like mysupermarket.co.uk offers up all your regular shopping goods but compares the price from all major supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Ocado and Sainsburys) to make sure you pay the best price for your weekly shop. It saves you the time and effort of battling through supermarket crowds and paying over the odds for your weekly shop. Sites such as Topcashback offer money back on your total bill (up for 10%), giving you something for nothing, which these days can’t be ignored!
- Homemade not Homepride! It might be the easy option, but ready meals come with a large mark up. By ditching the meals in favour of freshly prepared food you can save yourself a packet and learn a new skill to capitalise on in the future perhaps. Visit local markets for your produce at a far lower price than the local supermarket. So overall, you’re saving money and benefiting from the best, freshest local produce.
- Satellite vs. Freeview. When it comes to your TV package you must choose wisely. Packages range from around £50 a month for those who demand all the sports and movie channels, to £13 one off cost for Freeview, dependant on what box you chose. Weigh up if you really need most, hundreds of channels you never watch or an extra £50 a month. [Ed. My basic currency conversion is £1 = $2. It's not perfect, but it is close enough.]
- Household insurance shouldn’t cost the earth. Although this is a safety net, not a legal necessity, most households prefer the security of knowing that if disaster strikes, it won’t strike your bank balance. With sites like moneysupermarket.com it is simple to find the cheapest policy for you, only taking a few minutes but potentially saving hundreds.
- Ditch the DIY bodging. With the majority of households carrying out regular DIY, hardware stores are raking in the profits when it all goes wrong. We can’t all be natural born handymen and women but with the help of local courses you can be trained in the art of household maintenance for around £100, a bargain when you compare the costs of getting in the professionals to fix DIY disasters. [Ed. Youtube is also a great resource to learn DIY repairs.]
- Auction your clutter. If we’re being honest, we all have that cupboard at home filled with things we really don’t need and will never use! It’s time to be cutthroat and unemotional, get the laptop out and auction everything that hasn’t been used for a year. Don’t use the excuse of ‘it might come back into fashion’ or ‘that’ll come in handy one day’, it won’t and by getting rid you benefit from extra cash and extra space – win/win.
- Swap top brands for own brand. I’m not saying settle for foods you dislike, but often you can benefit from supermarket own brands without your taste buds suffering. Items like tinned fruit and veg, bread and butter all taste extremely similar, weather you penny pinch or splash the cash. So trade in your £1.25 loaf of bread in favour for one costing 20p and see if you notice the difference.
- Stick to a shopping list. By shopping for a list and sticking to it, it cuts out impulse buys that are responsible for the shock you receive when you get to the tills. Plan your weekly meals and simply buy what you need, cutting waste and potentially cutting your waistline! Also try to avoid 3 for the price of 2 deals on products with a shelf life, as often this results in a bin full of gone off food!
- Invest in Skype. To cut down on costly phone bills, use Skype where necessary. An internet let service, it allows you to call and video call people with Skype for free, or phone normal phone lines for a fraction of the cost of using your usual phone line. With free to download software, you would be silly to throw away money on costly phone bills.
Article written by Moneysupermarket.com.