10 Easy Ways to Cut Costs and Save Money

Running a household can be difficult.  With three girls to raise and several cats to keep in the lap of luxury, I know just how tight money troubles can get.  If I’ve learned anything over the years about balancing the books, it’s that every penny counts, and there are a lot of simple ways to cut costs every day.  Here are a few of our top tips for being more efficient with your finances.


Forget Loyalty

Don't stick with your electricity, gas, mobile phone, broadband, home phone, or insurance provider for more than a year.  At least once a year, head over to a comparison site and see how much you could save.

If you are doing this for the first time, you will save probably save hundreds of pounds, even if you are doing it for the fifth time there will be savings to be made.  You may also be able to get a discount for receiving two services from the same provider, so be sure to factor that into your calculations too.

If you don’t want to move suppliers but aren’t happy with your tariff, you can always ring your current provider and tell them you’re thinking of switching due to a recent rate you saw.  Ask them what they can do for a loyal customer like you.


Energy Saving Tips

There are so many ways to lower your energy costs, and also help the environment.  Make sure you always keep an eye out for deals with new providers, and don’t be afraid to switch gas and electricity suppliers if it’s a great deal.

Check whether a water meter would save you money. The rule of thumb is that if there are more bedrooms than people in your household, you will probably save. But there are several sites you can pop the facts and figures into that will calculate your potential savings, then work on saving as much water as you can.

At home, switch to energy saving light bulbs, and use rugs and draught excluders in winter instead of putting the radiators on high.  Look into energy controlling apps too, so you’ll always know which appliances have been left on.

Related posts:
How to Save Money on Energy Bills While You're on Holiday
How to Save Money on Heating this Winter


Go Paperless

Once you have switched to a new provider, make sure you opt for paperless billing on their site, meaning your bills will be sent online rather than through the post; and pay by direct debit each month.  These two simple steps will save you a few pounds with each provider, which will add up across all providers over the year.

Related post: How to Organize Paperwork

Check Your Direct Debits

Check what you're paying out on.  there really is no excuse for not checking your bank statements.  There may be standing orders or direct debits you've long forgotten about, and even gym memberships which have lapsed.  If you don't recognise it, query it.  If you don't need it, cancel it.  My friend recently found she was still paying insurance on a phone she got rid of two years ago!


Pay Less

Use discount vouchers for anything you can.  Sign up to your favourite chain restaurants and clothing shops mailing lists, and you'll be delighted with the number of discount vouchers you get e-mailed or sent through the post.  Make sure you tell them when your birthday is for extra freebies too!  You need never pay full price again.

When you shop online use a cashback site to get money back on your spend.  You could earn back hundreds every year - perfect for Christmas saving!  We love Top Cashback who give you £5 just for signing up!

Related post: Save Money on Days Out, Cinema Trips and Restaurant Meals with Kids Pass


Buy Clothes in the Sales

You can pick up everything from school uniforms to summer dresses in the sales and you’ll get a lot more for your money, but look for sizes that are a little bigger too.

The children might not fit into them now, but come next year they’ll have a brand new wardrobe without you having to spend any more. I always pick things up as and when I see them, so I have a little stock pile of clothes for the future.  (The Boden sale is our favourite for clothes that last and last!)

The same goes for gifts, pick up things as and when you see them and set up a gift cupboard so you save money when birthdays and Christmas come around.

Related post: How to Save Money During Birthday Season


Save at the Supermarket

For most people, the biggest spend is on food and the supermarket shop, so here are our top tips for saving money at the supermarket.

First of all, shop around using a comparison site - especially useful if you are shopping online. Even if you are heading in store, getting an idea of the savings you could make before you go would be useful.

When you get there, try going down one brand level - e.g. if you normally buy Dolmio pasta sauce, try the supermarket's own premium range; or swap the premium range for the standard range; the standard range for the basic one.

Just try it with a couple of items each week, and I guarantee there will be a few things you won't really notice the difference with. Make the permanent leap and you'll save lots!

Related posts:
How to Eat Healthily on a Limited Budget
How to Save Money at the Supermarket
4 Easy Tricks to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill Every Month


Meal Plan & Make a List

Meal plan every week, make a shopping list, and stick to it!!  The only exceptions to that should be for items you use a lot of which are on special offer.  If they will store for long enough, and you have the space to store them, buy in bulk.

For example, if your usual loo roll is half price, it is definitely worth buying several packets, but 'buy one get one free' on huge bags of apples will only work if you are sure your family will get through that many apples before they go funny.

Related post: 3 Easy Was to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money


Save, Save, Save!

If you are serious about cutting costs, you must reconsider all the treats and non-essentials.  New clothes & shoes (unless absolutely essential), take-aways, meals out, coffees on the go, new DVDs, gym memberships, new gadgets, nights out, even apps and iTunes, will all add up to a horrendous total over a year.

Personally, I feel terribly deprived if I cut it all out, so tend to put a bit by out of the weekly budget, which I can then either save up or splurge each week, but we are talking £10-20, not £100!!  Some brave souls just cut it all out, and then reap the benefits of seeing the same cash build up in their account or piggy bank.  A good feeling!

Related posts:
10 Simple Ways to Save Money Fast
How to Afford the Big Summer Holiday You Want this Year


Set a Budget

Once you know what your new monthly bills will be, sit down and work out all your incomings and outgoings.  Only then can you decide what your budget for everything else is.  Then break that up into each individual component of monthly or annual spending, or allow yourself a weekly amount to cover everything.  If things look tight, look for ways to make more money.

Further reading:
10 Easy Ways to Make Money Fast
10 Ways to Make Money as a Stay at Home Parent

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