While recent reports suggest that Britain may be out of the recession (for now), most families will still be feeling the effects of the past few years, as purse strings have tightened and budgets have become less manageable. A survey by RatedPeople.com showed that 41 per cent of people were putting off home maintenance as a result of their financial situation, with redundancies and increased mortgage rates appearing to be the primary cause of difficulty. The recession forced many homeowners to dip into savings just to meet basic bills and upkeep costs, meaning that although the economy may be recovering, it’s perhaps not time to breathe a sigh of relief just yet.
So how can homeowners reduce their outgoings while maintaining their standard quality of life? With a reduced income, it can seem impossible to achieve. However, there are millions of people across the UK and the world in the same position, and a number of solutions have arisen to avoid personal financial crisis. Here are some of the most effective:
Take a critical look at your current home and assess whether it’s really the appropriate size for your needs. Selling your house and moving into a smaller property could save you thousands, both in profit from the sale and via lower energy usage and bills. Using the right channels, it can also be the fastest solution to looming money worries, as there are a number of businesses who will make you an offer on the same day such as property buyer. You could also consider taking your property to auction, although there’s no way of knowing what your final price would be.
Cutting down your heating bill
If you’d rather stay where you are, there are still a number of measures you can take to reduce your monthly outgoings. With winter coming, heating bills are likely to increase, so start putting preparations in place now to save money throughout the colder months. Repair any doors and windows that may let cold air through, and ensure outer walls are well-insulated. Also look out for draughty flooring, as this can be easily fixed with a basic sealant. Make some changes to your furnishings as well; thick carpets and rugs will trap in more heat, keeping the house warmer while you’re not in it, while thermal curtains can prevent heat loss through window panes, as well as keeping cold from getting in.
Food shopping budget
The very first thing you should do when trying to manage your food spend is to start planning your meals. Nipping to the shop after work and buying food based on what you feel like may be fun, but it’s certainly not frugal! Do weekly shops, pick up only the ingredients you need for your plan, and then don’t go shopping for the rest of the week. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by buying and cooking in bulk. Try to aim for a more vegetable-based diet, too; it’s not necessary to eat meat every day, and things like rice and beans are often far cheaper.