Tips to reduce monthly outgoings

Like a lot of people, I don’t have a bottomless bank account and there’s not usually much left in it at the end of each month.  However, I have learnt some ways to save a bit of money here and there to reduce monthly outgoings.

The first thing that I did was start an excel spreadsheet with all the monthly outgoings on it and my income.  This really helps to know exactly how much is needed each month and whether there is a shortfall.  But if you are creating an accounts sheet, don’t forget to account for the small things as well as the big things.  So as well as the mortgage/rent, allocate how much is needed for car parking, mother and toddler groups etc.

Water billdownload (4)

After moving in, I found out that we were on a water meter.  Slight panic at the amount of water that 6 of us use each day!  But fortunately, with three children under 19 (or five in my case) and being on tax credits, we could go onto a scheme that would reduce our monthly bill from an estimated £100 a month to £25 a month.  It is a huge saving and makes a big difference.  It is not just for people with small children as certain health conditions qualify.    There is also a range of benefits that are included in the scheme.   To see if you are eligible, take a look at your water company’s website.

My Sky bill includes the broadband, telephone (evening and weekend calls free) and TV package, but not the line rental.  I pay on average £70 a month for this plus BT line rental of £12 so £82 in total.  Then I found out that BT were offering a better, as in cheaper, deal so rang Sky to tell them I couldn’t afford their bills so was moving to BT for the broadband and phone.  Amazingly, within 30 minutes my average £82 total bill was down to £42 a month.   This was due to agreeing to paying Sky the line rental, matching BTs phone and broadband offer and giving us free calls all day (which costs an extra £5 a month but they said I was pending around £16 a month on calls).  So £40 a month saved from a 30 minute phone call.

This no longer applies to me but for many with a short-term financial problem, such as being on maternity leave, re-mortgaging or extending the term up to the new pension age may be an answer.  It can reduce the payments for the immediate future and you can always up them in the future as situations improve.

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If you’re on a low income or on benefits and pay rent, you may be eligible for some help with the payments.  Each council seems to have slightly different rules, so it is worth checking on their website.  You will need evidence of income and all money that you have in your bank accounts.  If you have more than £15000, then you won’t be eligible.  It can take a few weeks overall and involve a pile of paperwork, but worth it if you are struggling to meet your rent payments.

Council Tax

If you are single, you can claim a 25% discount off your council tax bill.  Just contact your local council and tell them that you wish to put in a claim as a single person and they will apply the discount to your annual bill.

If you are on benefits or  a low income, you may also be eligible for some help with your council tax payments.  Again, contact your local council.

Public Transportimages (11)

Do some research.  Two of my children use the bus every day to go to school or college and it saved a lot of money to pay annually compared to daily.  £4 a day versus £500 a year.  It means a large upfront cost but worth it long-term.  I currently put £10 aside each week to pay for next year’s annual bus ticket so that I don’t have to find it in one lump sum.
Electricity and Gas Bills

Try ringing up your supplier and ask for their range of tariffs.  Often they do a reduced tariff for combined electric and gas, especially if you pay by direct debit.  I moved the tariff to save £20 a month.  There are many comparison websites to help you find the cheapest supplier and tariff – such as uswitch – and it helps if you have a recent bill to hand so that you know your current usage.

Foodimages (12)
I am a big fan of Aldi and Approved Food.  I find Aldi the cheapest but know that other people may find an alternative cheaper.  The disadvantage is that they don’t do home delivery.  It would be perfect if they did.  Please Aldi x

I meal plan so that I only buy what I actually need rather than on a whim.   I do not buy anything else on a ‘just in case’ I need it.  You won’t need it as you have your menu in your hand.  If you shop in this way, you will be surprised of how much you will save.  I budget £85 a week for food and cleaning items for the six of us.  Sometimes it is a little bit under and sometimes a little bit over, but I generally manage it.

Martin’s Money Tips
If you are not already a subscriber, please join up.  It is free!  He emails every week with  tips on how to save money and vouchers.  Well worth a quick read as I have saved a lot through him and it won’t cost you a penny.

Freecycledownload (5)
If you have not already signed up, then do it.  It is a place where people post things they want or don’t want for free.  I have got rid of stuff that we haven’t wanted to people that have needed it and equally, I have received some very useful things.  It can save you a lot of money although you sometimes have to wait quite a while for the thing you need to come up and you need to email people back quickly as things are snapped up.

Facebook Selling Groups

More people are using these groups as an alternative to ebay and other selling/buying sites.  There are no fees to pay and no postage as they tend to be local groups.  I have sold and bought a lot on these groups and it is very easy and addictive.   Great for saving money or making money.

That’s it for now but I will post more tips for saving money in the future.

N.B. These are tips from my personal experiences and not meant to be a professional opinion.

9 Comments on Tips to reduce monthly outgoings

  1. Here for Loans
    March 1, 2015 at 10:30 am (4 years ago)

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  2. Lina
    February 26, 2015 at 9:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Great tips, particularly about the bus fare – great idea to save £10 a week for next year’s annual pass. We are quite thrifty though so I’m glad to see we do most of these already!
    Lina recently posted…Little Memories #7My Profile

  3. Jenny
    February 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm (4 years ago)

    Fantastic tips on how to save I am impressed. I am so bad at saving money. I am good if there is a goal like a holiday but saving just for saving is on the hubby’s side as I suck at it. Lovely advice here though. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Share With Me ~ #8My Profile

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    February 16, 2015 at 9:06 pm (4 years ago)

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  5. vicky myers
    January 29, 2015 at 10:19 pm (4 years ago)

    I fully agree re a spreadsheet – my husband sits down every January and pencils in all the additional costs that crop up in a year too. This includes dentist, opticians, car servicing, camping break and presents – so we have our monthly budget and money set aside for these one off items. It really helps – I have work to do on the food budget though:)!
    vicky myers recently posted…January #Remarkable15My Profile

  6. Gina Caro
    January 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm (4 years ago)

    You’ve got some great tips there! In regards to the water section I’d also add that local councils give away free devices to help reduce the amount of water you use which can help save money. Thank you for sharing on #ThriftyThursday

  7. Kathy
    January 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Great article. I’m not very good on the food planning bit, but on the other hand we never throw any food away (well, we have a 15 year old boy – food just vanishes!) I must have a go and see how that works out. The water bill discount, I didn’t know about that. Had a meter for many years, but bill has gone up a lot since children became interested in keeping clean! I’ve heard the same story several times re SKY… they are so naughty really. We have a lot of our bills with Utility Warehouse and the cashback card with them means we get further discount as we purchase things with the card and many online retailers too – you can see how it all works here . I’ve just lost £350 a month income as I previously had a lodger, but with step children we will benefit from the extra space. Got to economise where you can and maximse those extra income streams 🙂 Hope you are all well x

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