I’m pretty sure we’re all feeling the pinch after an expensive festive season and are literally counting down the minutes until the long-awaited January pay day! It’s definitely felt like a long month in our household and we’ve been more sensible than usual with our money this month. I was planning on a no-spend month, but with a family birthday and a few plans already in place, we decided to move our no-spend month to February. In order to make our no-spend month easier, I’ve been saving as much of my own spending allowance as possible so I have some left over!
One thing that has been swallowing up most of our money since we moved into our home almost four years ago, is our home! We bought a house that needed completely redoing from top to bottom and we’re still not even finished. The first year or so was pretty exciting as we knew that we wanted to do-up our home and were willing to throw all our savings at it and then some. However now we are almost five years in, I begrudge having to keep spending money on our house every single month! But if we don’t, then it will take longer to complete. There are constantly rooms we are working on, or furniture Ben is custom making for our home, so something is always happening in regards to our house. I look forward to the day it’s all complete, although many a time people have said to me that’s when we’ll start all over again!
As much as we still have lots to do in our home, the bulk of the work such as flooring, new kitchen, new fireplace and half a bathroom suite is complete. This means we can now be more careful with our expenditure on the house. I’m also feeling kind of satisfied with most of the décor. Some of it’s not exactly what I’d choose, for example we just had to grab a set of sofas that would have to do from an outlet the week we moved, but I’m pretty OK with what we have for now. We also have terrible Artex that needs to go, but it’s a costly job that will have to wait. We were quoted £1600 to get rid of the unsightly stuff! That’s £1600 I’d rather keep in my bank for now.
Whilst it’s easy to constantly change décor and do-up a home, it can become an expensive habit, so I’m learning to love and live with what we’ve got. My goal for 2019 is to save an emergency fund, so this will take priority this year, with a few less costly DIY home improvements along the way. I’m hoping I can get Ben to do some of the cheaper jobs he’s been putting off ever since we moved in, like sanding and repainting door frames!
We’ll definitely be exploring the ways we can save money around the home to keep us on track with our financial goals this year. By making smarter and simpler money decisions we hope to keep our finances in check, even as we continue to improve our home. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are five really simple ways to start saving money around the home:
1. Stay on top of your bills
First of all, you need to have a hold of your bills. It’s essential to make sure that you’re not overpaying on things that you do not need. And ask yourself, when was the last time that you sat down and really started to see where your money went? Sometimes, it’s not even about cutting back, but just making sure that you’re just paying for the things that are important to you.
I recommend using a simple spreadsheet to show your monthly incomings and expenditure, then you can see what is left over to spend and save. It’s also a good way to see how much each bill costs and whether you can do anything to reduce them. Perhaps you could switch energy provider or ask your broadband provider for a better deal if the price seems too steep? Making sure you know exactly where your money is going each month is the first step to taking control of your finances and beginning to see where you can save money around the home.
2. Shop around
Next up, whenever it comes to actually doing shopping and getting the bits and pieces you need, make sure you shop around. Try not to make any impulse purchases as they can cost you. Instead, make sure to do your research. Look at varying costs and find the best value. Always check for cashback before making any household purchases, especially if shopping online. If it’s a big purchase then sleep on it. Think about it for a few days, especially if you don’t feel 100% confident spending so much money.
Another great tip when making a large purchase is being able to negotiate. Quite often the price you see isn’t always the price you have to pay, especially when it comes to antique shops and second-hand furniture shops. More often than not, you’ll find that you can get a better price if you just ask. So ask. You need to make sure that you consider the best tips when negotiating antique prices, or how to get better value on services. Be confident in your approach.
As mentioned, it’s the same with any services you need in the home too. Getting a few quotes can give you a good idea of the sort of price you are expected and want to pay, then simply use this knowledge to your advantage to negotiate the best price with your chosen supplier.
4. Be smart with how you spend
Being smart with what you spend is also important. Consider how much use an item is going to get and also whether it will hold its value. If it’s likely you’ll want to resell a piece of furniture in the future, then ensure it’s something that will hold its value and if not, that its value to you in the meantime is more important. Spend money wisely and as we move into the last point, conscientiously.
5. Be more conscious
And then finally, if you really want to make sure that your money goes the extra mile and you make the most out of how you spend, it’s important to be more conscious. If you are spending money without thinking, it’s going to cost you and start to add up. But the more you spend with intent, and you channel your money into the most important areas of the home, the easier it’s going to be for you to buy things that you’re going to want for the long term and not just on a whim.
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Photos from Canva