Pay less for your bills?
If only it was that easy. The only way to pay less is to use less. So it's a matter of accepting.. changing.. adapting.. and living differently.
We all have a huge raise in our utility bills. We all have the choice to use less but they are still much more expensive.
Sweeping statement alert!!
Many people in our society in 2022 spend money on non-essential items, buy more than they need, don't save, and use shopping or spending as an activity. Although 'being frugal' is on trend, I believe very few people would change their way of living unless they have to financially.
I am no guru on this subject (although I was once some of the brains behind a popular frugal website) but I have lived at both ends of the (UK) financial spectrum..from 5-bed detached to 1-bed on wheels, as my sister likes to say.
So what did we do when we had no money and were living in a tiny towing caravan for 18 months? What did we learn? Here are ten things we did that helped us spend less on our bills.
1. Don't put the heating on.
Put on layers of clothing. Move around. Use blankets or quilts to cover up when you are still. Have a hot water bottle. Go to bed early.
2. Simplify what you eat.
Write a list of easy but healthy meals with a simple list of ingredients. Double these menus up - eat pasta twice rather than once in a week, for example. Don't buy branded goods when generic is cheaper. Use click and collect or delivery that stops you visiting the shop yourself- this does stop you impulse buying. Make food yourself and don't buy ready meals or takeaways. Don't use food as a treat, use it as essential energy. Eat cheaper, but still healthy, food.
3. Eat less.
Make smaller amounts, eat slowly, don't read or watch TV when you eat, sit at a table if you have one, drink water with your meal, cut out nibbling - eat planned snacks at a set time. Don't buy coffee or cake out - in the background on a BBC news item tonight was a cafe sign saying £3.25 for a slice of cake and £2.50 for a cup of tea. Make your own cake. You can make a whole cake for £3.25!! Take hot drinks with you.
4. Sell what you don't need.
Look around your home. Put what you just.don't.need. in bags for life. Use local selling pages, eBay, Vinted, car boot sales, etc. and sell things. Don't try to make millions - just think: 100 items sold for £1 equals £100. I sell bits and bobs and always sell at a low cost. This means I have cash in my pocket and no bundles of things taking up space in my house.
5. Sort out your direct debits or standing orders.
What are you paying to whom and when? Why? Cancel what you can live without. For things you want such as mobile phones, use a cheaper model, don't upgrade, get a lower monthly tariff.
6. Budget and save.
Set aside any 'spare' money each month to a savings account. You 'need' water, electricity, food, shelter. You don't 'need' takeout coffee, drive-through food, newer trainers, newer headphones, sweets or chocolate. If you are tempted to buy snacks at the petrol station, don't and instead transfer exactly that amount into your savings account. If you can't commit to living like this all the time; do it some of the time. Some savings are better than no savings.
Budget the money each month for what you have to spend out on, and how much you have available to spend. Be strict. You just have to. It's the way we now have to live.
7. Buy second-hand first.
If you need something, try to buy clothes, shoes, household items and books in charity shops or second-hand before you even think about buying it new. Yesterday I saw a pair of Dr Marten's shoes in the local charity shop for £1.50. Size 5. Very, very good condition. Make a list of things you need. Put it in your wallet. Look around for these things where they are cheap.
Needs not wants.
8. Simplify your entertainment.
Apps. Online games. X-Boxes, PlayStation, etc.. How many do you have? How many cost money? How much time do these draw from you each day?
Limit the time electricity is being used. Don't have your TV on all evening. If there isn't something you are watching, switch it off. Read a book. Do a crossword. Talk to someone. Clean, meal prep, tidy up, help a neighbour... yadda, yadda.
9. Turn things off.
This was an eye-opener for me recently. Plugs on cost money. Standbys cost money. Over a year, a large amount.
The only thing I have left on at the plug socket now is my fridge. Everything else is being turned off when it isn't being used.
10. Use what you have.
If you craft; tidy and sort what you have and use it up.
Which tins or packets do you have in your cupboard that you can use? If you are not going to use them, give them to someone who will.
Which clothes do you have that you don't wear? Why? I can understand keeping a suit for funerals, but what is this trend of keeping wedding dresses? Are you going to wear it again? You have a photo of yourself in it so sell it on. Don't have clothes for best you just don't wear, then buy something to wear everyday.
Now one thing I am currently working on is my wardrobe. I have clothes from size 18 to size 14 and I'm shrinking towards a size 12. Much of my bigger clothing is listed on Vinted, and once my size 14s are baggy I'll start charity shop shopping for a couple of pairs of jeans.
Please, ask me anything.
Add your advice too.