A few weeks ago, on the Morrinson Wealth LinkedIn, we ran a short poll to gauge what people are most struggling with in the cost of living crisis. Given the options of Household bills, mortgage or loan repayments, food costs or anything else, a whopping 82% of people answered either household bills or food costs – both taking an even 41% split.
With this in mind, we thought we would come up with an advisory blog as to what to do for those struggling. Of course, this is not going to lower the cost of energy or resolve all your issues, but it may just save you a couple of pounds here and there to spend on some of the things you really want to spend it on.
Saving Money On Your Food
The first step, as always is to create a monthly or weekly budget specifically for groceries. Of course, no one needs a lecture on the benefits of budgeting, but allocating a fixed amount of money for food expenses – even if you need to be flexible here and there – will give you an idea roughly how much you’re spending per month.
Plan your meals in advance and make a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases and wastage. Eventually, you should know exactly how much you should be spending and begin to see the benefits with the rest of your money.
Changing Your Grocery Store
I know, we all have our preferences and we all grow accustomed to certain brands and stores, but if you can save money on the same (or similar) products elsewhere – why not? Visit some supermarket comparison websites to see if you can make savings on your current, regular shop.
You may also find it useful to visit local farmers’ markets or even join a community-supported agriculture programme. Often, you can find potentially fresher and tastier produce whilst also making a saving.
Loyalty Programs & Coupons
Does your supermarket offer loyalty programs or coupons? Things such as club cards or nectar cards can go a long way in increasing your savings and potentially providing you with discounts and rewards down the line. Additionally, use coupons and cashback apps to save money on your purchases. Every little bit adds up.
Buying In Bulk
For non-perishable items that you are in frequent use in your household, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run. Items such as rice, pasta, canned goods and toiletries are prime examples of this, although you should always be aware of use-by dates and any limitations on buying within the store.
You’ll find that buying large bags of rice, for example, will be far more cost-effective than buying the smaller, cheaper ones on a weekly or monthly basis.
Preparing Food At Home
Preparing meals at home is generally more cost-effective than eating out. Embrace home cooking and explore budget-friendly recipes – you can even attempt to make your favourite takeaway from home – although, I must stress, results may vary! Cooking from scratch allows you to control the quality of ingredients and portion sizes, reducing waste without stretching your budget. It may also improve your skills and confidence in the kitchen, as well as creating your own, cost-effective and tasty recipes that you can come back to in future.
Minimize Food Waste
Be conscious of food waste and take steps to minimize it. Going hand-in-hand with the previous point, plan your meals around ingredients you already have. Storing food properly to extend its shelf life and repurpose leftovers sounds obvious, but you would be surprised just how many people don’t do this.
In households with two children, families are wasting roughly 8 meals a week – averaging out to around £60 per month. I’m sure most will agree that an extra £60 per month is extremely valuable, especially amid rising energy prices. By reducing waste, you’ll not only save money but also contribute to environmental sustainability.
Saving Money On Your Utilities
Dealing with rising utility bills can be challenging, no matter where you are financially. Everybody needs gas and electricity, and although we are entering the summer months, this will become a lot more crucial in the winter. There are several strategies you can employ to mitigate the impact on your finances. Here are some tips to help you manage the rising prices of gas and electric bills in the UK:
Improve Your Energy Efficiency
Focus on improving the energy efficiency of your home. Insulate your property properly, seal any drafts, and consider using energy-saving appliances and LED bulbs.
This may cost you some money initially but will be offset by the long-term term savings – an LED bulb will cost you £19 over its lifetime, compared to £152 for a filament bulb. These measures can reduce your overall energy consumption – being more friendly to the environment – and lower your bills.
Compare Energy Tariffs
Take the time to compare energy tariffs and providers. Visit price comparison websites or use online tools to find the best deals available in your area. It’s always worth speaking to your current provider to find out if there are any discounts or rewards available to existing customers.
Visit sites such as TrustPilot and find out exactly what people are saying about your provider and providers you might consider moving to. Switching to a more competitive tariff or provider can save you money.
Invest in Smart Heating technology
Keeping track of your gas and electricity usage has become an industry in itself. Consider investing in smart devices such as smart thermostats and smart plugs. These technologies allow you to control and monitor your energy usage more efficiently, optimizing your consumption and reducing costs.
Regularly keeping track of your meters is extremely important. Doing this can ensure accurate billing, it can give you an idea of your monthly consumption patterns and will give you an idea of where you can save energy. This will allow you to adopt energy-saving habits in your daily routine. Turn off lights when not in use, unplug electronics on standby, and be mindful of unnecessary energy consumption. Small changes like these seem obvious, but can add up to significant savings over time.
Pay Electricity & Heating Bills By Direct Debit
Paying your bills through direct debit or online can often lead to discounts or special offers from energy providers. Explore different payment methods and see if any cost-saving options are available to you.
Find Government Assistance Schemes
If you’re still struggling to pay your utility bills, check if you’re eligible for any government schemes or assistance programs aimed at helping individuals or families with energy costs. Look for grants or funding available for energy-saving improvements in your home.
The UK government often provides grants for insulation, renewable energy installations, and other energy efficiency measures. These grants can help offset the costs of upgrades and reduce long-term utility expenses.
Get Further Financial Advice On Paying Bills and Saving For The Future Today
Speak to our financial advisers or fill in the form below to find out more about tips for saving money during this challenging time and discover how to start saving efficiently for the future today.