With gas and electricity prices constantly on the rise, household bills can be a nightmare for anyone on a tight budget. But while we can’t change the cost of utilities, we can take measures to cut down the amount of money we spend on household expenses and make sure there are no nasty surprises at the end of the month.
As well as being good for the environment, being careful with the amount of gas and electricity you use can save you money too. Make sure lights and sockets are switched off when not in use, and only heat your home when you really need to. You might also be entitled to free insulation or a more efficient boiler if you come within a certain income bracket or receive benefits – check with your local council to find out what you can claim. Better boilers and insulation can save you hundreds of pounds on your household bills every year.
Another way to save money is to spend some time checking out coupons and online deals. Sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial offer all sorts of deals on everything from eating out to groceries in your local area and they change regularly, so keep an eye on them to find out what you could save. You can also save money on entertainment and days out, essential items particularly for those with children. Check your local and national newspapers for deals on things like holidays and days out, or take advantage of the free things to do in your area like museums, parks, outdoor concerts and more.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re not paying over the odds for insurance on things like cars, home contents and mobile phones. There are many sites out there like money supermarket.com that allow you to compare providers and get the best rates on your insurance policies. Also, make sure you check again when your insurance comes up for renewal – the company offering the best rate last year might not be the cheapest the next time round. When booking things like travel insurance, think about what you actually need. If the most expensive thing you are taking with you is a cheap digital camera, you probably don’t need extensive cover on personal belongings. Shop around for the cheapest deal that matches your requirements.
Another big expense at the end of the month is often your telephone bill. While more and more people are choosing mobile phones over landlines these days, it can still make sense to have one installed. Many internet providers offer landline deals alongside broadband connections, and you can save money by using them to call other landlines and 0845 numbers, which can be expensive to call on mobile phones. When using your mobile phone, save money by looking closely at how and when you use it. Just want something for calling and texting family and friends? A pay-as-you-go phone may be a better financial decision that an expensive contract if you don’t use your phone that often. You can also save money on international calls by signing up with a specialist provider. These companies offer great deals for those calling Pakistan, India, Africa, Eastern Europe, North and South America and more, with some offering international calls from as little as 1p a minute.
We all know how it feels to struggle to make ends meet, but by following these simple tips and making intelligent choices about your household bills you can take the pressure off and maybe even save enough to splash out on a well earned treat.