“Don’t let one bad day stop you!”
I think it’s fair to say that April Fool’s Day is no joke in the UK. In fact the media has already dubbed it April Cruel’s Day due to the fact that the cost of living is rising at an alarming rate, and fuel costs increasing on the daily; and of course we see a hike in energy costs of 54% which came in today in the UK. Unfortunately, the UK is not always blessed with the warmest of weather and not all of us has solar panels nailed to our roofs to help mitigate these additional costs somewhat.
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom; and whilst I’m not going to suggest that you layer up or cuddle a pet, I do have ideas of things you can do to make those valuable pounds go that little bit further? Here are some of my suggestions to make those ends meet in the middle.
Get a smart meter…
You’d be surprised how many people still don’t have a smart meter, meaning that you’d be surprised how many people can’t really check how much energy they’re using. Speak to your energy provider about getting a smart meter and locate this in a prominent place in your home so that you can see what you’re using and when you go out of the green and into the amber or even RED!
Your energy supplier may have an app that you can download that will work like a smart meter and tell you how much energy you’re using. The likes of E.ON and Ultilia have great apps that do this.
Turn down the thermostat…
You don’t have to go bonkers turning it all the way down. If you were to turn it down just one degree from 20 to 19 degrees you could potentially save £105 per year! A drop in the bucket of a potential soaring energy bill, but a saving nonetheless.
One less wash…
I’m not suggesting you go stinky, but what I am suggesting is that you ditch one of your baths a week for a short shower and you could be looking at saving £35 per person a year.
Not only that, but if you got out the Marigolds (rubber gloves to the uninitiated) and did the washing up by hand, or washed your smalls by hand in the sink, just once a week, could save £14 on your annual electricity bill!
Plan meals ahead…
I know that sounds like a no brainer, but we in the UK eat way more takeaways than ever before. It’s so easy when you get in from work and can’t be arsed to slave over the hob. Thankfully you don’t have to because there’s a dude on a moped that will bring you your favourite chow… at a cost naturally.
Even if you don’t go down the moped delivery dude route and go yourself, there’s the cost of petrol on top of what you’re ordering – and you’ll defo order more if you’re hungry when you place the order. So, why not plan meals ahead. This is something that I started doing in autumn last year and it has made the world of difference to my pocket/ bank balance.
My tips for meal planning are;
- Decide on a budget before you plan the meals
- Stick to the budget
- Build in some treats
- Don’t be supermarket loyal – go where the best value is
- Batch cook – cook and freeze meals so you have your fave ready to go when you don’t fancy cooking
- Consider pick and pack online from your supermarket. That way you aren’t tempted to go off-list when you’re in the shop. Then all you have to do is go and collect your groceries.
Go old skool and hang your clothes on the line…
This might sound like another no brainer, but you would be surprised how much your tumble dryer eats away at your energy bill even the energy efficient ones. The initial outlay for a clothes line isn’t mega bucks, in fact you can get the cord and pegs for a £1 each in Poundland. If you don’t have a garden, you can still consider getting a clothes horse to dry your clothes on, on a balcony or in-house. You can use the radiators or airing cupboard in your home to dry clothes.
These boots are made for walking…
Well it could be trainers, shoes, flipflops, waders – perhaps not waders – but consider walking to the local shops or to do errands, instead of jumping in the car. That way you’re doing your bit for your pocket by not using unnecessary fuel; the environment by not using your car and your own personal fitness!
Win. Win. Win.
Sell what you don’t want…
There are lots of ways to sell items these days to make some extra cash. Use Music Magpie for your tech, CDs, video games and consoles etc. Try Vinted for your clothes, or even Facebook Marketplace can we be a great way to sell those items you no longer want. Just be mindful of the scammers on Facebook Marketplace especially when you’re selling tech.
You can make coffee at home you know…
It might not be quite the same as having that warming paper cup in your hands from a global brand, but it will be certainly much cheaper. You can get some great instant coffees these days – I know I know I used the ‘I’ word. If you don’t like that then purchase a cheap cafetière and some ground coffee. If you miss your frothy milk accompaniment you can pick a battery powered milk frother for under a fiver online.
Do something about your debt…
One of the simplest ways of getting more for your money is working on your debts. By that I don’t mean paying off more; instead, seriously look at what you spend out on credit cards and loans. If these are getting too much for you and you’re only keeping the wolf from the door by paying the minimum each month, consider speaking to a debt management charity. StepChange.org, for instance, are a brilliant charity which will work with you and your monthly budget to work out what you can afford to pay. By going into a debt management plan, you are not being made bankrupt which is key when it comes to banking and credit in the future. It is however, a very good way of getting back on track, and managing your monthly expenditure.
There are people to help…
I can’t underestimate what a very worrying time this, and whilst all the hacks and suggestions are here to help, for some of you this can be simply overwhelming. If you feel that you’re not sure which way to turn there are lots of organisations that you can speak to, who are more than willing to help.
Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. Asking for help means that you have realised that you can’t do this by yourself. It’s a decision that you have made and it’s own way is very empowering.