Do you sometimes feel your debts are getting out of control? According to the Bank of England, the average household debt in the UK is 123% of household income. And one-fifth of that is consumer credit.
So how can you save money on your monthly expenses? Start by separating your monthly budget into bills you have to pay and those optional nice to haves — whether that’s a gym membership or a daily takeaway coffee. Prioritising your spending can help you take control. To make your money work harder, you should try and save a little every month too. Try the 50/30/20 rule: spend 50% of your budget on needs, 30% on wants and try to save 20%.
Now you can start to tackle your monthly expenses with a few simple life hacks.
How to lower monthly bills
The average monthly spend in the UK on household bills — energy, phone, TV and broadband — is currently £234.43. These are some of the monthly bills you have to cover, but there are plenty of effective ways to reduce them with just a few quick fixes:
Draughtproof your home: Hunt down those draughts and apply sealant or draughtproofing strips. You’ll lower your energy bills and make your home more comfortable.
Say goodbye to standby: Unplug your gadgets when you’re not using them and use timers or power strips to manage your energy use.
Get smart with heating: A smart thermostat can help you control your heating bills while turning down your hot water temperature can also help you save. Adjusting your thermostat by just one degree is a big saver, and it’s better for the environment too.
Update your lightbulbs: In the UK, lighting accounts for 15% of your energy bills. So if you don’t have LED lighting and smart bulbs in your home, now’s the time to switch.
If you travel to work, give these transport hacks a try:
Try carpooling: Sharing car commuting expenses could help you reduce your vehicle’s maintenance and petrol costs.
Keep your tyres inflated: You can usually top up air pressure for free at your local garage. Underinflated tyres cost UK motorists nearly £1 billion in wasted fuel every year.
Get on your bike: With new bike lanes popping up all over, there’s never been a better time to pedal to work. If your commute is under 10km, then an e-bike could be a serious money saver, especially if it means you can get rid of your car.
How to save money on monthly bills
If you're trying to reduce your monthly bills, there’s only one tip you need — compare and switch. According to recent research, UK households can save on average £174 a year by researching the best deals online.
It only takes a few minutes, but you could save on a wide range of bills, including:
- Mobile phones
- Home insurance
- Car insurance
Other ways to save include:
- Find the cheapest way to pay — that could mean taking out a Direct Debit
- Get a free water meter installed
- Negotiate directly with your suppliers for the best price — remember, you’re in control
- Match your contract to your lifestyle, so you don’t end up paying for services you don’t need
How to save on your monthly spending
Household bills are unavoidable, but what about the rest of your budget? First, write down everything you spend in an average month. Now think about all the times you say ‘it only costs £1’ before you hand over your money — you’d be surprised how it all mounts up.
Being mindful about your spending is the number one way you can take control of your monthly budget. Here are some other easy ways you can save:
Get a flask
Those takeaway coffees on the way to work soon mount up. But brewing your own means you can get your coffee just the way you like it for a fraction of the cost.
Whether you’re looking for that killer outfit for pennies or your next upcycling furniture project, shopping second-hand makes a lot of sense. It’s also more sustainable as well as being kinder to your pocket. And with some vintage shopping apps, you can sell your unwanted clothing to boost your budget.
Reduce your food bill
We’ve all got to eat, but batch cooking at home and taking a homemade lunch to work are great ways to save on your food bills.
Setting aside a few hours at the weekend to stock up the freezer means you’ll always have something ready to heat up at the end of a tiring day. And that means you won’t be tempted to reach for the phone and order a budget-busting takeaway.
Another good tip is to buy generic when you can. Items like tinned fruit and vegetables are cheaper and just as tasty. And buy your staples like rice and flour in bulk, using reusable containers. It’s a sustainable way to make savings.
Keep a change jar
It might be a dish or jar or even an old purse — just somewhere to store any loose change at the end of the day or week. You might be surprised how much it all adds up to every month!
Simplify your health and wellbeing routine
If you haven’t taken up cycling to work, why not try out the local Parkrun or just get out for a long walk. You could also cancel the gym membership, check out free online fitness classes, or buy basic equipment like a pair of dumbbells or a gym ball.
When it comes to your beauty routine, changing your diet for one low in processed food and staying well hydrated can be more effective than expensive creams. And affordable coconut oil is a great all-rounder for hair and skin.
Take control of your debts
Ditch the payday loans, and take control of your credit cards and overdraft. Get some free debt advice and stop paying more than you need to service your debts.