The following contribution is from another author.
Bills are something that we all have to deal with as adults. They’re annoying but inevitable; however, just because you’ll always have bills to pay doesn’t mean you should be overspending on them. If you stay loyal to your utility providers and don’t plan ahead for certain expenses, you’ll always end up paying over the odds. Here are a few ways you can bring costs down if your bills are through the roof.
Your gas and electricity bills will be some of the most expensive that you pay. Keeping the house powered and warm can be really quite pricey, but there are ways you can get the costs down. If you own your property and are looking for long term savings, upgrading your windows to more energy efficient models is one way to go. Having cavity wall and loft insulation also prevents heat escaping, so your home stays warm without having to blast the heating up to maximum. Check to see if you have any issues with your roof; things like missing roof tiles not only cause leaks but draughts, so find reliable roofers who can check this for you and put any problems right if they’re found.
Other ways you can keep your energy bills down is by using thick, lined curtains to keep out draughts, and setting your heating on a timer instead of just cranking it up to full whenever you get cold. Smart home heating systems like Hive enables you to easily set the temperature for different times of day and keep your home at a comfortable level which can work out cheaper. You can set everything from your phone remotely too. So if the family is out for the evening there’s no need to worry about forgetting changing the thermostat, as you can turn it off from anywhere.
More and more homes are being fitted with water meters, and this will be the norm and the only way to have your water billed in future. This is actually good news in a number of ways. If you use less water your bill will be lower, which makes people more careful. Less wasted water means there’s less to be treated at processing plants (which involve burning fossil fuels), so it’s better for the environment. But chances are, you were paying too much for your water anyway. With a meter you only pay for what you use, and you have the option to cut down if you want to reduce your bill. This doesn’t mean you need to wash less or forfeit washing the car! But small changes like getting a shower instead of a bath on occasion, or turning the tap off while you brush your teeth all add up.
One place that most of us overspend is on groceries. We walk into the supermarket without a list, grabbing what looks good. We’re swayed by offers that we don’t really need, and get home with no real meal plans in mind. Within a few days we’re back at the shop getting things we’ve forgotten (plus more- so more money!) and at the end of the week, a load of the fresh items have gone bad and are thrown in the bin. It’s time we started being more sensible in regards to our shopping. Fill up your pantry with store cupboard staples– tins and jars, cereal, bags of pasta and rice, herbs and seasonings. When frozen items (or fresh things that can be frozen such as meat) are on sale, fill your freezer. That way you always have items on hand to make meals even if your fresh ingredients run out between shops. You’re much less likely to resort to an expensive and unhealthy takeaway then!
You could even go a step further and batch cook a number of meals, portion them into tubs and freeze them. This is tasty, healthy fast food- just pop in the microwave. Write up a meal plan for the week, and create a shopping list based on the ingredients you need. When you go into the shop, stick to this and you won’t waste money. A little planning really can save you hundreds, even thousands over the course of the year. When you prepare more food at home, you need to spend less when you’re out. Work lunches, for example, don’t need to be sad looking sandwiches; how about leftovers from dinner, vibrant salads or chilled pasta/ rice dishes? You could prep for the week ahead and have an exciting work lunch without having to spend money on eating out.
The insurance market is highly competitive, and companies want you on board with them. You could run some quotes through price comparison sites, calling up companies and seeing if they can better their offer. You could also call direct companies that aren’t listed in comparisons and see what they’re offering too. When it comes to any kind of insurance, you don’t just want to take the cheapest option by default. Be sure to read the fine print, know exactly what it is you’re protected against, what your excess is if you need to make a claim, and any other details that could affect your policy. Insurances are one of those things that are easy to put off, but that you massively regret not getting if you ever need to use them. From buildings and contents insurance to pet insurance, boiler insurance and much more- for a few dollars a month you can ensure you’re not left out of pocket if a certain situations crop up.
Finally, digital subscriptions can all add up. Things like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime are services you should evaluate to decide whether they’re worth keeping. If you have multiple members of your family using them, setting up a family account can work out cheaper than paying separately so it’s something to look into.