How To Keep Your Household Costs Down Over The Next Few Months
Wide angle image depicting a senior man's hand holding an energy bill while the other hand checks the numbers on a calculator. The table is strewn with documents and also a laptop. Room for copy space.

Every household is feeling the pinch at the moment. It does not matter what you do or where you live, it is a fact that we are all thinking very carefully about where we are spending our money and how we can keep our costs down as inflation continues to bite.

One of the hardest things about limiting your spending is that it always feels like there are more expenses that come out of nowhere. This is particularly true during the winter months and even into the spring, as the British weather continues to throw a series of challenges at us that we do not need.

The good news is that there are always going to be ways that you can keep your costs down. Even the best of us can lose track of where we are spending too much money, of how we can get repairs and upgrades down without blowing our budget and making sure that we get the best value for money. Here are a few tips to help everyone keep their household costs down over the next few months.

Plan Ahead As Much As You Can

One of the easiest ways for you to feel like you are getting overwhelmed by new expenses is by not making a plan for the months ahead. There are always going to be some costs that you can’t anticipate, such as your computer breaking or your car needing major repairs. But some expenses will be a little easier to see coming.

Sit down and plan for the next few months in terms of the money that will be coming out of your bank account. Start by accounting for those monthly costs like your council tax, your mortgage and debt repayments.

Then, think about costs that could come up in the near future. Is your boiler due to be serviced? When is your next MOT? Do you have any holidays planned that you have not budgeted for yet? The more you can plan for, the easier it will be. It is also a good idea to take a look back at your costs for this time last year.

The winter can be a lot more expensive than the summer, so see if you can identify any patterns beyond the usual spending spike around the holiday period. You may also be able to identify some costs that you can cut, such as streaming subscriptions, gym memberships and more.

Insulate Your Property

One of the main things that people are worried about right now is the price of energy. The costs have been soaring for months now, and even though measures are still being introduced that should hopefully take the sting out of those bills a little, you need to make sure that you are doing everything that you can in order to keep your energy usage down. We will get to some more of those measures that you can take in just a moment, but let’s start with insulation.

If you don’t have good insulation, your home will be bleeding heat at a time when you really can’t afford for that to be happening. One of the most common ways that homes can suffer from poor insulation is by not having double glazing. Now, replacing your windows with double glazing does not have to cost a fortune.

The best way to make sure that you are getting good value for money is to know what you are looking for, and to find a builder that you can trust. If you are wondering how much do replacement windows cost, look at this breakdown from the Federation of Master Builders. They have a wealth of resources to help homeowners and home builders make the best choices possible.

Upgrade To Ensure Better Energy Efficiency

Continuing from the point above, one of the best ways that you can ensure that you are keeping your energy costs down is to look at your appliances that use the most of it. Everyone has at least one major home appliance that does not work as well as it used to. This is an inconvenience, but it also means that you will be spending more money than you need to spend on your energy.

Take your dryer, for example. Dryers are often cited as one of the biggest drains on energy, and if it’s not working as well as it should, then you are going to be putting it on to spin again and again. Paying for a new major appliance like a dryer can be a major expense, but it will save you money in the long run. It may be worth getting quotes on repairs just in case.

Plan Your Meals

This is the time of year when everyone is stressed out and feeling the need for some creature comforts. The days are short, the weather is bad, and that means that we can often find ourselves reaching for the takeaway meals apps when we get home. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but things like takeaways can get very expensive, especially if they start to become a habit. The most cost-effective thing that you can do for your meal budget is to plan at the start of every week.

Make a list of what you are going to have and try to think about recipes that you can batch cook, and which will freeze or otherwise keep well through the week. Make a detailed shopping list before you go to the supermarket and do your best to keep to it. Try to resist the temptation to impulse buy, and make sure that special offers are actually good discounts.

It is also a good idea to sign up to supermarket loyalty schemes, as we see more and more discounts on club cards and apps. With the cost of basic foods like pasta, cheese and milk going up and up, finding ways to keep your food costs down is really important.

Make Sure You Have Insurance

No one ever wants to think about worst-case scenarios. But if we are talking about ways that you can keep your household costs down, it is important to remember that some of the biggest expenses come from those events that are out of the blue. Things like a boiler breakdown, a car accident, or damage to your home are the kind of things that no one ever wants to plan for, but which will be a huge expense if you are not prepared for.

When you are looking for costs to cut, it is absolutely vital that you do not touch your insurance payments. Make sure that you are covered for car insurance, home insurance, pet insurance (pet healthcare costs can be very expensive and there have been a lot of stories about people giving their animals up because they can’t afford to look after them), and so on.

If you are self-employed, you should also think about getting business insurance. You don’t want to be losing out on money if you are unable to work due to illness or injury, and with the right insurance, you could be covered for a large amount of your usual earnings.