5 simple ways to spend less around the home

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:

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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.

3. Negotiate

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.

 

What to read next:

Cost-effective investments for energy efficiency

5 ways to cut costs on moving day itself

The best ways to save money in life and around the house

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Photos from Canva

 

4 comments

  1. I’ve managed to cut household bills in all sorts of ways. I switched energy provider 3 times last year, plus you make cashback if you use the right sites to do it. I’ve cut my water bill in half because I have a water metre and I am extra careful with water. The same with gas and electric, only use what you really need. I’ve also changed car insurance this year saving me £100 (loyalty to a company gets you nowhere) and I’ve found a new breakdown recovery company that’s half what I’m paying now. I’ve got really good with my food bills too. I’ve learned what I really need and what I don’t and this year I am going to grow lots of my own veg which will cut back on that bill for sure. I’ve also taken advantage of banks offering money to switch and opened lots of accounts with small interest rates. By my calculation I’ll have made over £3000 outside of my earnings.

    As for the no spend, January was going to be mine too, but it hasn’t quite panned out that way so February will be my extra frugal month too. Not that I can get much more frugal than I already am, but my ‘extra spending’ needs to go down. Investing in my veg growing plan has been an overspend but sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate!

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    • Wow, three energy switches, that’s great if you’ve saved money each time and got cashback! I’m looking forward to a no-spend Feb. We have been more careful than usual in January and it’s been great to top our savings up.
      I’m also doing a zero spend on clothes for the entire year. I don’t usually spend much on clothing anyway and have a very minimal wardrobe, but I think it will stop me making any random purchases at all if I set myself the actual challenge. I do sometimes buy a couple of items of clothing every couple of months and I really think I don’t always need to.
      I’ve not yet switched bank accounts, but I have seen some very tempting offers, some offering £100 to switch to a current account and they transfer all the direct debits, etc, so it does look quite hassle free. I should definitely look into this more.
      I saw a money blogger write about something similar once. They had lots of accounts with different banks and they had it all set up very cleverly to switch money between them each month to take advantage of cashback, rewards and interest from each one. It would take some planning!
      Growing your own veg is great! We grow some every year, but only a small amount. I’d love to grow more and plan to in the future. I hope your growing goes well 🙂

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      • Natwest’s swtich is £150. I’ll be completing mine tomorrow. RBS have matched the offer so if you can find two accounts to switch, you’ve made £300 and yes they do all the move for you.

        Well the 3 switches were from BG when I moved in here last April and they wanted £70 a month for a single person in a small flat, the second was from Economy Energy who went bust last month. I moved in November though. They were incredibly incomptetent. So here I am with Bulb.

        I’ve opened 7 accounts since last September and I have do money switches every month to keep them earning the max. I keep everything on spreadsheets otherwise I’ll lose track but I’m probably making about £800 a year. It’s not a huge amount but I can’t afford to lock money away for a long time so I get lots of accounts with high interest on small amounts and then just keep bouncing the money back and forth. It does the job.

        I’ve been doing the ‘no buy’ on clothing for about 4 years now. I’m very much make do and mend because I’m a fashion designer so it’s easy for me to repairs and alterations. I also never get rid of clothes so I rotate summer and winter wardrobes. I used to buy a lot of clothes so I have more than enough. 🙂

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