Here are ten ways to reduce your household spending and ensure you continue to keep your costs down and get the best “bang for your buck.”
Buy bulk when possible
Keep an eye out for products that you buy on a regular basis. If they are on sale it can be worth stocking up. Also keep an eye out for bigger packaging; sometimes you can save money by buying bigger packages. Not always though – sometimes the shop knows you will make such an assumption, and actually upcharges for bigger packages.
Always check the per-unit price, and if it’s not listed, whip out your phone and divide the total price by the number of units. Check out the discount shops. They are generally great for household products and bulk sizing. Chat with your butcher about a discount when you buy your meat in bulk.
Evaluate your insurance policies
Check all your insurance policies. Are you getting the best rates? Shopping around on insurance can save bundles.
Make sure that you are not over-insured. This can greatly increase your premiums. Has your car decreased in value? Then update your policy to reflect this. Remember, they will only pay out the market value at the time of an accident, so it’s not worth paying extra for something you won’t get. The same goes for contents insurance : it’s worth making a list of what you own and its replacement cost.
Look into increasing your excesses. Do you have an emergency fund or money set aside and available? If so, it’s worth considering an excess increase: this can drastically reduce your premiums. If you have a thousand dollars or more available at any given time, increase your excess to that amount and watch the savings come in on your premiums.
Do you need all your insurance policies? Many people are finding that their health insurance might not be worth it. Is payment protection insurance really necessary? It’s worth evaluating these things for your family and situation to help reduce your household spending.
Monitor your utility spending
Have you shopped around for the best plans on utilities? Do you really need a land line? Most people use their mobile for just about everything these days, and with many providers offering competitive packages to suit various individual needs, it’s definitely worth considering dropping the land line altogether.
If you make international calls, check options like Skype. Look into the various TV/internet packages as well, as these can work out a lot cheaper than having a land line connection. It’s also worth keeping an eye on your electricity usage. Many libraries will lend out a monitor for two weeks, so you can see exactly where you are wasting energy.
Plan your meals
This is a huge one. Once a week, sit down and plan out your meals for the coming week. Look in your fridge, freezer, and store cupboard and plan a few meals around what you already have on hand.
Then check the sales at your preferred supermarkets and butcher and plan the rest of your meals around the best deals. Write up a very specific shopping list and stick to it.
We’ve all heard the adage Never shop when you’re hungry – this is true. I will add a few to that. Shop when you’re in a hurry! You’re less likely to be distracted and buy unnecessary items or ones not on your list. If at all possible, don’t take children with you, so you are less likely to be tempted by small people’s choices or buying something for them just to stop the chaos. Shop at the discount stores first to reduce your household spending.
Yes, this means Aldi and others – did you know that may of their products are the same branded products you buy at the mainstream supermarkets? For example, the plain flour at Aldi is made by Odlums. The EXACT SAME flour branded at a normal supermarket will set you back double. The same is true of many of their products, and when you do 90% of your shop at Aldi or Lidl, I dare you to spend over $200, when a similarly filled trolley at a normal supermarket would easily be double that. Look at the various shop websites each week and check the weekly deals. Sometimes this means going to more than one shop, however the money saved can be substantial.
Check your bank fees
It’s no secret in this country that the banks are racketeers when it comes to fees, however there’s generally room to get around these. For instance, some banks won’t charge fees if you have a certain amount of online transactions in a quarter. Some are offering no-fee accounts and, as banks are losing customers left, right, and centre, many of them are offering competitive switching packages.
Check out credit unions! There are no fees, they still care about customer service, they still have tellers, they open on Saturdays and late one night a week and they are much more generous with loans. Most of them offer budget accounts and free financial advice as well.
Consider your travel expenses
Try to cut travel expenses as much as possible. Do you really need two cars? Can you cut down on daily commuting? Compare the cost of the school bus with the cost of petrol and wear and tear. You might be surprised to find out that the bus works out much cheaper in the long run. Schedule errands to go around times you will already be out.
If you have to drop a child to football practice, schedule your grocery trips around this so you’re not running out more than once. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated, don’t carry any excess weight in the car, keep windows closed and stay in as high a gear as possible to make sure you get the best mileage you can. Carpool whenever you can. Check around for the best petrol prices and look into loyalty schemes at the petrol stations.
Cook from scratch
This may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to reduce your household spending, however for many people it can also seem like a non-option. Two-income families are often very busy and finding the time to cook can be hard indeed. It’s definitely worth looking into options like once-a-month cooking and freezer cooking.
Also look at packing lunches rather than eating out. That coffee habit? Invest in a coffee grinder (about 10 dollars), buy some beans, and grind your own each morning for a cup of brew that will be better than any cafe.
Check your beauty regime
Another simple money saving tip is in your bathroom. Professional colours, manicures, and waxing can all add up really quickly. If cutting them out entirely is not an option, look at stretching the time between them or substituting every second appointment with a home alternative.
Consider homemade spa treatments and look into replacing some of your regime with natural alternatives such as coconut oil. Pinterest is a great place to start!
Cut down your reading costs
Do you read the newspaper daily? How much is this costing? Consider getting a digital subscription or a paid app for your smartphone. Have you considered an e-reader? You will still be able to buy books, however at a substantial discount. You will also have them with you at all times, it helps reduce your household spending and the environmental impact is much less.
You can also subscribe to magazines and newspapers on the e-reader for a very good price. The library is an often-overlooked option as well. It’s free and often has a great selection of movies and music to boot. If you can’t find the books you need, you can always get them ordered in or borrow from other libraries.