Charity Begins at Home: Simple Ways To Save Money as a Homeowner
Our homes can hemorrhage money if we’re not careful, and if you’re the person who pays the bills then you’ll know how expensive running a household can be. There’s always something that needs to be paid, needs to be repaired or a cost of some kind to cover. While paying to live is always going to be unavoidable, there are things you can do to bring the costs right down. Some will save you money instantly and others will add up to save serious cash over the course of the year. Either way, better you keep as much of your hard earned money as you can instead of lining the pockets of big corporations. Here are a few things to consider.
Re-evaluate Your Utilities
When was the last time you checked the prices of your gas and electricity tariff? How about your internet provider, or phone bill? Providing you’re not still in the contract period, there’s nothing to stop you from switching to a cheaper company so run some quotes through comparison sites. You could save a significant amount just for the sake of a few phone calls or emails making the switch. The new company will be eager for you to move over to them, so generally take on the hassle of the switch for you. If you’re out of contract with your mobile phone and/ or internet, don’t just keep paying. The company will be keen to keep you as a customer, and so may offer you all kinds of deals if you let them know you’re thinking of looking elsewhere.
Use Less Energy
As well as making sure you’re using the cheapest energy supplier, you should also work on using less gas and electricity overall. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs, and turning appliances off instead of leaving them on standby can add up. Having the heating on a timer instead of constantly turning it up every time there’s the slightest chill will play its part when you get your next gas bill too. Turn it down a notch, and cosy up in warm pyjamas and blankets. You don’t have to sit around shivering, but be mindful of the heart that you’re using. Draw curtains and shut doors to keep the rooms warm. If you have the budget for it, cavity wall and loft insulation can be very effective in trapping heat. There are often government schemes in place to save you money on these things too, so it’s worth looking into what’s available in your area.
Reduce Your Food Bill
Food is the place where most families overspend. We buy things we don’t need, we waste food and generally just about all of us could reduce our food bill if we really thought about it. First things first is to get organised, the pantry is a good place to start. If you have a stockpile of things like pasta, rice and other grains, tins, jars, tinned fish, vegetables, cereal and other essentials, you have the ingredients on hand to make lots of different dishes. As these kinds of things last a long time, you can buy them when they’re on offer and build your store cupboard over time. Each week, write a list of the meals you plan on cooking and then write a list based on this. That way, when you go into the store you’re not being tempted by unnecessary items and spending too much money. If you’re guilty of being loyal to brands then now is the time to make a change. Experiment with less expensive versions, you might not be able to switch everything you enjoy to a budget brand but many products are very similar. This slight adjustment could save you thousands on your food bill over the course of the year.
Tackle Some of Your Own Repairs
It goes without saying that some jobs should always be left to the professionals. Dealing with electricity and gas can both lead to serious injuries if they’re not done properly- and in some cases DYing could mean you’re breaking the law. However there are lots of jobs that you really can tackle yourself that can save you a small fortune. Concrete floors can be repaired with industrial sealants, so no need to call in the professionals if your basement or driveway is looking worse for wear. Cracks in plaster and wood can easily be filled, and even things like leaky taps and blocked toilets can be sorted yourself with a little research from Google. Pest control is another option, while in extreme cases you’ll need a professional- if you catch the problem early you might be able to save yourself some cash. Buying the products yourself and dealing with the issue will always be less expensive than calling in a company. Use common sense, work out if the repair at hand is something you could realistically do to a good, safe standard. If you’re confident then give it a go and save yourself some money.
Start a Change Jar
Most of us end up with loose coins here and there, even if we’re careful with money. Because they’re not worth much on their own they can easily get lost and end up all over the place. Start a change jar, and ask all members of the family to throw in their loose change at the end of the day. In such small amounts it won’t be missed, but over time this can really add up. Take the full jar to the bank and you could have a nice chunk of money that could be used however you like. Another option would be to try a spending challenge. One is every time a five dollar bill comes into your possession, put it into a box and then forget about it. Over the course of the year you’ll save a significant amount, because five dollars is a small amount you won’t miss it too much but will benefit massively from the saved money.