Hello friends, welcome back.
Everything is fine here and I'm lucky to not have any big bills lately. The cost of living crisis seems to be hitting hard in suburbia and everyone I know is trying to cut back. If you've never had to cut back before you might not be aware of the many ways to save money so I thought it might be a good idea to go over a few of them. Before I continue, I want to tell you that I find it fairly easy to save money on a wide variety of household expenses. The reason for that is I live alone so I only have to adjust my own behaviour. I'm sure you know how difficult it is to get everyone in the family onboard to reduce their spending. But the main focus at this time should be to pay all the regular bills, put food on the table and buy fuel. After those things have been paid for, hopefully you have money left over to pay all your bills, save or put towards something special like birthday or Christmas presents.
Remember that almost all the savings you make will be small ones. Adding up all the savings over the space of a month will show what they are: the difference between being in debt or remaining debt-free. So it doesn't matter if you save $2, $50 or $200, it all goes into the pot to keep you out of trouble. I hope you aren't under too much pressure with your mortgage repayments. Gone are the days when you could knuckle down like Hanno and I did and pay off our mortgage in eight years; repayments on many loans have doubled in the past few years. If you're having trouble with your mortgage, or think you'll have trouble in the near future, please go to your mortgage broker or bank loan officer and talk to them about it. Don't ignore it. I'm going to leave the mortgage info there because I'm not qualified to give advice and if you're struggling, you need the right advice immediately.
Chicken and vegetables.
Steak and salad.
Spinach and cheese pie.
All the other areas of household economy are a bit easier to work with because the stakes aren't as high and when it comes to things like food, fuel, phone, internet and insurances, usually you can cut back or move your account to another provider. When I'm working on reducing costs and you may remember that I recently reduced my electricity usage to see how low I could get it (two posts back) - work out what you want to focus on and one by one, make an action plan to reduce your costs. For instance, if it's insurance, internet or phone costs, do some research and then ring your prover to see what deal they can do for you but make sure you've done research online beforehand so you know what the competition is offering for the same product.
HINTS AND TIPS
- If you make your own plain bar soap, that is an excellent shampoo. It will be a money saver and cut down on the endless supply of plastic bottles coming into your home. If you have a nearby bulk goods store, take a recycled bottle along to fill it with Castile soap. It's also a very good shampoo.
- I started putting together my Woolworth's shopping list this morning which I'll get delivered on Friday. I usually go to the roadside stall near me that sells local produce for my fruit and vegies. I can get everything I want there and usually spend between $10 and $15, the quality is better and it's much lower in food miles. I added everything that I'll buy there onto the Woolworths list too and it came to $33.70 so it clearly shows me that travelling a little bit further will save me money and give me local, fresh food. Think about buying generic brands too. I have found most of the Woolworths generic brands I've tried have been pretty good and better value than the big brands.
- Try to shop with a menu plan already worked out so you only buy what you need.
- Make sure you store food properly as soon as you bring it home from the shops. Divide up, refrigerate, freeze, vacuum pack and store staples in your pantry or stockpile. I store staples I'm using in the pantry along with onions, sweet potatoes and potatoes; foods for future use are stored in the stockpile cupboard.
Make your own relishes, sauces and pickles. They are so much tastier, cheaper and you know what you're eating.
EXTRA POSTS OF MINE YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
My rotating list of favourite family meals. Make up a list of the meals your family love, try to get about 20 meals on the list and choose future meals from your list. It will stop that worrying about to eat every night.
I hope some of this information will help you reduce the cost of living in your home. It's a stressful time but remember, it won't last forever and if you learn how to cut back, you'll increase your skill levels and lead your family towards better days.