Saturday 25 September 2021

The Saturday List #323 - Ten simple ways to save money on your household bills

Over the coming year, we are looking at huge hikes in our household costs. The price of electricity, gas, petrol, food and drinks. As inflation ramps up, we are also likely to see our mortgages starting to increase in price. As we start to think about Christmas, we may find that this Christmas we have a lot less money in our wallets than for many a year. As we find our bills starting to bite, we start to look for savings. We are not financial advisors, but we like to watch the pennies and there are many things we can do to claw back a few savings. I thought I'd make a list of a few things, all of which can be done quite easily and will save you a fair few pennies. You can check the average cost of running your household appliances here.

1. Fridges. Fill up your fridge and freezer. Fridges and Freezers use a fair amount of electricty just keeping the air in the fridge cold. The less air, the more efficient they are. If your fridge is full, it can use up to 30% less energy. If you put a few woolly jumpers in the freezer (in bags)  when it is not full, this will make the fridge far more efficient. The average fridge freezer costs about £75 a year to run, so this will save you £25. 

2. Kettles. Only boil the water you need in a kettle. When we make a tea or coffee, we generally boil at least 25% more water than we need. If you are making two cups of coffee, fill the kettle by filling 2 cups of water from the tap and tipping them into the kettle. Your kettle uses around £50 worth of electricty a year, so that will save you £12.50

3. Credit Cards. Are you paying interest on your credit card balance? You don't need to. There are always great 0% credit card deals. If you have a balance of £1,000 and you pay 10% that's £100 a year you could save. We are big fans of Martins Moneysaving Tips. Here are his pick of the best credit card deals. We would recommend that if you need to pay something, buying on a zero percent card deal is far better than taking out a bank loan or having an overdraft. 

4. Insurance. It is a very unfortunate but true fact that insurance companies reward customer loyalty by ripping you off. Whenever our car or household insurance ends, we shop around. Invariably, we find that we can save up to a couple of hundred pounds a year by simply shopping around. 

5. Vegetables. So how can you cut your food bills? We pay a huge premium in supermarkets for the privelige of having the supermarkets chop our mushrooms and other veg up. Next time you are in a supermarket and you are tempted to buy the pre chopped ones, check the price per kilo compared to the unchopped ones. You will also find that the unchopped ones last longer, as they do not dry out so quickly and are rot less quickly. Virtually all food loses flavour as it dries out, so you'll find the food tastes better. I estimate that you will save at least £100 a year if you buy the unchopped veg. 

6.  Satellite TV. If like me you love football and subscribe to satellite packages to watch it, and you've not had your tariff changed recently, ring up, say you want to cancel your subscription and they will invariably cut your costs and offer you a better deal. I reckon this saves me around £300 a year. 

7. Shop locally. I was speaking to a friend who had nipped down to TESCO's in Mill Hill to buy a pint of milk and a loaf. He'd driven down from his house near Apex corner. Apparently TESCO's is cheaper than the garage. I did wonder if he'd factored in the cost of petrol to his equation. Short journeys, with constant stop starts are hugely inefficient for cars. His car does around 20 miles to the gallon and a gallon of petrol costs around £5.50. His journey is a two mile round trip, so the petrol cost 55p. I check the prices and the net costs (without wear and tear and servicing etc) and I estimate that he actually paid 10p more, taking this into account. It would have also been good for him to walk five minutes to the garage and back! If he does this five times a week, that's £25 a year he's spent. 

8. Food. Just buy the food you need. It is estimated that people in the UK throw away approximately 30% of the food they buy. How can you stop wasting food? It is quite easy, just plan what you are going to eat. If your household food bill is £100 a week, then you could save £1,500 a year if you cut out the waste. Aonther hint is that I always buy loose items, as I plan my weekly cooking. If I go to Boucherie Gerard, he sells me four slices of bacon and four sausages, which does me for my Sunday fry up with my son. If I bought pre packed meat from Tesco I wouldn't eat half of it. It would also be nowhere near as tasty. 

9. Eating out. If you are planning to eat out and you are looking to try somewhere new, check to see if they are doing any deals. Often you find they do 2 for 1 deals and the like. When I used to work in the City, I had a friend and every Thursday, we'd meet for lunch. The rule was one of us would pay one week and the next week, the other would pay. We'd see which restaurants were doing the best deals that week. As a result in two years, we visited just about every decent restuarant in the City and paid well under the going rate and had a damn good time to boot. 

10. Hotels. I think we have all reached the point where we need a break! Many of us are planning 'staycations'. This minds finding hotels etc.  I much prefer staying in hotels that are not part of large chains. I find that the food is better and the service more friendly. If I am going away, I will try and find an independent. I always check the reviews. I don't mind the odd bad review, so long as the majority are positive. I find that if I ring up and say a friend stayed recently and recommended it and said if I rang them directly, they'd give me a discount, they usually do. Try it

Have a great weekend. 

No comments: