Categories
Budgeting

How to Reduce Your Household Expenses

We all have things that we have to pay out for in the household that we live in and it can feel rather tiresome having to pay out so much money all of the time. However, there may be some things that we can reduce and it is worth thinking about whether we are prepared to take any steps to change some of the ways that we do things so that we can see if we can save money. It is worth tackling it in sections.

Insurance

We will probably have insurance of some sort when we own a home. This might be for the building if you own the house or are buying it on a mortgage, for the contents and you will also have life insurance if you have a mortgage as well. These insurance policies may have been sold to you when you got the mortgage, perhaps by the mortgage company or a financial advisor. It is worth knowing that you do not have to stay with the same companies that you took them out with. This means that you can look around at other insurers to see whether you can get your insurance for a lower price. It is well worth doing this on a yearly basis. Insurance is competitive but new customers get the best deals, so if you renew with a company, they are likely to put the price up. Therefore, it is wise to compare prices and see whether it is worth switching to a cheaper one. Alternatively get some quotes and then negotiate with your current provider to see whether they can lower the price they are charging you.

Utilities

You can do a similar thing with your utility providers as well. Do a price comparison and see whether you can swap to a cheaper one. They will have to estimate how much you might pay based on your previous years energy usage but that should still allow you to compare different companies and see whether you are paying more than necessary. It is a good idea to compare them regularly as prices will change. It is easy enough to switch over too, there will be no loss of supply and the companies will deal with it all between them, you will just have to read your meters. It is worth comparing often as the prices change a lot.

Decoration and Homewares

We may also pay out a lot to keep our house looking good. It is worth thinking about whether this is justified. It is a good idea to compare prices when buying thing for this sort of work and to also consider having more classic styles and they will not go out of date so quickly and you will be able to keep them for longer, rather than having to replace them when they are no longer on trend. Even if you do not spend much on things, the costs can add up when you keep replacing them.

Garden

If you have a garden then it is easy to spend a lot of money on that as well. However, if you buy carefully you can save money. As well as comparing prices on the things that you are buying to make sure that you are not overspending you can also be careful with what you buy. For example, you can buy plants that last for years rather than seasonal ones and you can grow your own things form seeds which is cheaper than buying plants. You could even have a go at growing your own fruit and vegetables to reduce the cost of buying them but make sure that the cost of the compost, fertiliser and water is not greater than buying the items from the supermarket.

Categories
Travel

How to Afford the Holiday of Your Dreams

Most of us like the idea of going on holiday and we may even have a specific holiday or destination in mind when we are planning a dream holiday. We may think that it will never happen though, but there are ways that we may be able to afford even the most expensive dream holiday.

Keep Focused on the Goal

The most important thing is to keep focussing on the goal that you have. It is a good idea to make sure that you are always thinking about the fact that you want this holiday. This will help you to make sure that you do what you need to do in order to get it. If you forget whey, then you may lose your motivation. You may want to write the goal particularly if you have a date in mind as to when you want to achieve it. Be specific about it as that will help you to imagine it. If you need to write it on pieces of paper and put them around the house in places that you at regularly, stick on to your credit card and things like this to keep you constantly thinking about it.

Set Up a Savings Account

It can be a good idea to set up a savings account specifically for saving up for the holiday. Then you will be able to put money in there that you have made towards it. It will allow you to easily see how much the money is growing in there and to be able to monitor it properly. It will also allow you to keep it separate to any other savings that you might have which you could otherwise mix it up with.

Put Money in Regularly

It can be a good idea to start putting money into the savings account regularly. Perhaps when you have just been paid, you could put some money into an account and then you will be able to start building the money up. You will have to calculate how much you think you will be able to afford to put in and it is best to do it when you have just got paid as then you will have more money available to pay in. It could just be a very small amount to start with as you may have very little available, but this is fine. Even if it is a just a few pounds it will be a start that you can build on. Then if you have money free at the end of the month, then you can pop that in as well and start to build up your savings pot.

Find Ways to Add Extra to the Account

Once you have started, you will need to think about how to add money to the account. There are lots of different things that you can try. You might need to be creative, depending on your personal situation. Firstly, think about whether you can earn more money by doing more work and also whether you can reduce your spending by paying less for the things that you buy and buying less. You could also raise money by selling things that you own and no longer need. You might be able to rent out rooms of your house in order to make money as well. You could consider trying to monetise your hobby as well, perhaps by selling things you make or teaching how to do it. You could set up a small business and buy and sell things perhaps. There are lots of things that you could have a go at just do some research to find out.

Categories
Savings

How to Find the Best Instant Access Savings Account

If you have savings, then it is a good idea to put them into a savings account which is earning a decent amount of interest. There are a lot of savings accounts available and they differ in the interest they offer. It is well worth doing some research so that you can find the account which provides the best interest as this means that you will get the best return on your money. When you want instant access to your money it means that you will be limited in the amount of interest that you can get. You will get more interest if you are prepared to put your money into a notice account or tie it up for a year or more. However, we will want to have some money available to use that we can get to quickly so that we are able to use it when we need it. Therefore, looking for an instant access savings account is a good idea. They do vary though and it is good to know the differences between some of the types so that you can choose what is right for you.

Standard Account

A standard savings account will pay interest normally monthly or yearly and add it to the account. This means that you will be able to allow the interest to accumulate and you will get interest on the interest – what is known as compound interest or you will be able to spend it. Most banks and building societies will offer this sort of account and many people will get one with the same company as their current account so that they can more easily transfer the money when they need it.

Premium Bonds

Premium bonds are offer by NS&I and they are special type of account. You do not accumulate interest but the money you put in is used to buy £1 bonds. Each is entered in a monthly draw and you have a chance of winning a cash prize which will either be put into your bond account, sent to you by cheque or put into a nominated bank account. These can be a great replacement for lottery tickets as you are able to get your money out when you need it and so you do not lose the money that you have entered in the draw. The odds of winning are far higher if you have more money in the account though as you have more bonds to enter into the draw. However, some people do still win with smaller amounts but it is rare. It can be a fun way to save money though and if you like to take a risk or to gamble then it can be ideal for you.

Incomes Bonds

These bonds will pay you interest into a nominated account each month. They are designed for you to put a lump sum of money into and they will then pay you the regular interest which will act as income for you. This Can be really useful if you want to top up your income or are relying on income like this rather than earnings, perhaps because you are retired. If they are instant access the interest is still fairly low, but the interest can still be pretty good compared to other instant access savings accounts, so it is worth having a look and thinking about whether it will suit you.

This is a just a sample of the types of accounts that are available and it is a good idea to find out about what your options are so you can choose the most appropriate one for your specific needs. Also stay open minded and aware of the interest rates as they will vary with time and you may wish to switch accounts from time to time to get more money.

Categories
Budgeting

How to Get Better Value for Money

Whenever we buy anything, we pay money for it and we get something back from the item. This could be enjoyment, nourishment, warmth etc. Whenever we buy something it has a value and we can get better value form a lot of the things that we buy. If we do it means that our money goes further and that has to be a good thing. So, what can we do?

Find Cheaper Items

If we pay less for items then we will get better value for money from them. However, you may feel that you cannot pay less or you do not want to. In some cases, if we pay less then we will get a poorer quality item and so will not get such good value for money. This means that you will need to decide whether it is worth paying less. If you are buying a particular brand, then you will be able to look at different retailers to see whether it is possible to get it cheaper from somewhere other than where you are buying it from. You will find that there are places online where you can compare prices of all sorts of things form insurance and electricity to phones and groceries so you will be able to find out how much things cost from different places and it will allow you to make a decision as to which you think will be the right one for you to buy. It can be worth shopping around like this, particularly when you have a bit of time on your hands or you want to make sure that you are spending your money wisely. It can be annoying if you feel that you are not getting much back for the money that you are spending. It can therefore be worth doing some research and also trying out different items to see whether you might want to swap brands, retailers or suppliers so that you get better value.

Try Different Items

If you try a few different things, you might find that you will be able to save money. For example, if you buy alternatives to the groceries you currently buy. Perhaps try a few different types of foods which are cheaper than what you normally pay or different brands or buy from different shops. With your electricals, try different brands as well to see if you can get better value form those as well as clothing and other things that you buy. We tend to get stuck buying the same things all of the time and we may not be getting the best value for money. It can be tempting to stick to things we know, because we know that they are reasonable but we might be missing out on better things or things that are as good but cheaper so it is good to be open minded and try a few different things from time to time.

Use them for Longer

It can be a good idea as well to make sure you get the full use out of what you buy. With some things you cannot use them more than once, such as food and a telephone call, but with items such as homewares and clothing, we will often replace them before they are completely worn out. If we use them for longer then we will find that we will get better value for money form them. Some things do not last very long though. This might be because we are not buying items that are good enough quality and therefore, we may want to do research into different items to try to identify which brands might last longer.

Categories
Budgeting

Tips on Cutting Down Your Luxury Spending

Many of us spend too much on luxury items. These are items that we can do without, that we do not need to survive or that are not necessities. Although it is really nice to have these items, they do cost money and if we have debts or want to put some money into a savings account, then spending a lot of money on these things can not be wise. However, it is something that many of us do and may need some help in finding ways that we can cut down. There are a few suggestions below.

Avoid Shopping so Often

If you do not go out shopping so often then this can help you to spend less money. You will be able to resist temptation more easily, if you are not walking past shop windows or going into shops. It might seem a bit extreme, but marketing experts are very clever at feeding into our desires and making sure that we buy as much as possible. They will do everything that they can to persuade us that we really need things, that actually, we can do very well without. So, if we go to the shops less often, it means that we will be able to avoid seeing these displays, offers and persuading tactics and so we will not end up buying things, that perhaps we did not really need in the first place.

Unsubscribe from Store Newsletters and Catalogues

We might get regular emails, newsletters, notifications or catalogues from various stores. These can highlight different things that they are selling and make us feel like we want to buy them. However, we can avoid these easily. Stop following them on social media, unsubscribe to their newsletters and emails and cancel catalogues. Then you will not have all of this temptation. If you need something form them, then visit their online or high street shop and you will be able to look at whether they have it. However, if you get these marketing materials you might start to convince yourself that you need certain items which you actually do not need at all. It might be something that you will not even really want but once you have read an email about it and then seen an online advert, you will convinced that you cannot do without it. Ad blockers can be very useful too, you can do this on a PC but you may also be able to use them on your mobile devices as well.

Set a Budget

It can also be useful to set a budget for shopping for luxury items. This means that you will be able to treat yourself to some things, but you will not buy more than you can afford. You will have to examine your household accounts, by looking at your bank statement so that you can work out how much you will be able to afford. You may want to set a weekly or monthly budget depending on how often you buy luxury items. You will be able to not spend a budget one month and carry it over if you need dearer items as well. It can be a convenient system to make sure that you can still buy yourself some fun treats but you will not risk spending more money than you can afford. It might seem a bit boring, but it can really help you to keep a good track of your finances and make sure that you are not paying out more money than you can actually afford. That should give you peace of mind.