Foolproof ways to cut your household bills

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Foolproof ways to cut your household bills
2 years ago
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In these days of recession and cutbacks, everyone is looking for ways to save money and decrease their outgoings. Maybe you have less money to go around? Maybe you want to keep some for a rainy day? Whatever the reason, there's no time like the present to start spending less and keeping money in your pocket rather than giving it to someone else.

Here you'll see some foolproof ways to cut your household bills and outgoings without performing major surgery on your lifestyle. Some of them may seem small and insignificant but used together they can make a real impact on your cost of living but not necessarily on your standard of living.

Lower your satellite or cable TV subscriptions
Think about whether you really need the same level of satellite TV subscription as you have just now. Could you reduce your package and still be able to watch most of the things you like? Television and similar satellite or cable subscriptions are really a luxury and you can save significant amounts of money every month by reducing your subscriptions or cancelling them altogether if you're not using them enough to justify the outlay.

Try car-sharing with colleagues or friends
How many of the people that you work near, also live close to you or use the same route to work? Why not set up a car-sharing arrangement where you each take turns at driving your car to work. If you can do this with just one other person you can half your fuel bill from commuting, not to mention the savings on car maintenance and wear and tear. Even if you don't know the people, why not get to know them? If you work in a large company, use whatever communications channels there may be available to advertise for a car share arrangement. Many progressive companies already have databases where you can register and link up with people from your area who want to car share and save money together.

Cut down on food waste
Most people don't realise that a large proportion of the fresh meat, fruit and vegetables they buy ends up being discarded and wasted. Find out how to store your fresh food in the best possible way to make it last longer. Not everything is best kept in the refrigerator! Are you buying too much? Do you really need the maxi-pack? Try simply buying less or looking for smaller packs to avoid waste.
It doesn't stop with buying the food though. Think about how much food you cook. Do you regularly cook too much and end up putting several portions worth in the bin? Try measuring and weighing the ingredients to ensure you don't waste just food, but also energy cooking it.

Stop buying expensive coffee on the way to work and take your lunch with you.
If you're the type of person that likes a nice strong coffee to get you going, think about how much you spend buying your drinks from coffee shops or vendors. These premium coffees taste great but they're not cheap and the amount you spend can mount up quickly. Try making one or two days a week at most, the days when you buy your coffee. At other times why not switch to a cheaper alternative? Make yourself a coffee (or tea if you're that way inclined) when you get to work, where there are probably facilities and sometimes coffee laid on for free! Alternatively, make a coffee before you leave home. You see a lot of people carrying their thermal mugs on the way to work these days so you don't have to settle for poor coffee, just make it the way you like it at home rather than pay a barista to do it for you.

What about taking your lunch to work as well? Buying meals and sandwiches from caf챕s or shops can be overly expensive, especially if you do it every day. Buying lunches as part of your weekly grocery shopping will prove quite a bit cheaper and you don't have to settle for what's on offer at the shop, you can have whatever you like.

Look for reduced rate credit cards and move your balances
This is an old one but still one of the most cost-effective ways of limiting your interest payments and either paying off your cards more quickly or cutting the amount you pay each month. Truly free balance transfers seem to be a thing of the past though, with most credit card companies applying a percentage fee to all balances transferred. A quick calculation on how much of your existing payment goes on interest versus the cost of the transfer fee should tell you whether it's a good deal for you. Shop around, the balance transfer fee is still a competitive subject and some cards have lower fees than others.

Don't change your car - look after it
It's tempting when your car is giving you trouble, just to go and replace it with one that might seem to have lower running costs or not need as much maintenance. If you don't owe any money on the original purchase of your car, it's actually far better to spend time and a little money maintaining it so that you don't have to trade it in for a newer one. The purchase of a car is widely accepted to be the second largest single value purchase people make, after their home, so replacing your car is a much more expensive proposition than making sure you get your money's worth from your existing car. Remember, in general terms, that a new car depreciates in value much more quickly than a car that is a few years old, so hanging on to your car will cost less in depreciation than buying a new one.

Shop around, control your impulses and check the internet
This is the simplest piece of advice you can get on saving money but you would be amazed how many people just don't shop around. Control your impulse buying and make sure you only purchase the things you need or have specifically gone looking for. If you see what you're looking for, note the product, the price and where you saw it. Keep looking. Once you're happy that you've found the best price, you can make your purchase.

The internet is a great way to save money on one-off purchases. Price comparison sites put the power back in your hands, whether it's electronics or insurance you're looking for. Try challenging your local retailers to match or even beat the internet price. Some large retail chains have price matching policies and will be willing to at least match, if not better another local or internet retailer's price.

Saving money at home is all about common sense. It's all about making sure that you part with money only when you have to or only when you have done your homework to make sure it's the right deal for you. Small changes may seem insignificant but taken together they add up to big savings, especially when you target your recurring costs, the ones you pay every week and every month. Take these tips as your starting point and many more will occur to you as you go along.
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