Accommodation: 5 Ways to Reduce Your Largest Monthly Expense

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Image credit: https://www.ukuni.net/

For most people, accommodation remains their largest monthly expense. In earlier posts, I have mentioned this point. If you haven’t read, How to Create a Budget That you can Stick to, please read it today. It naturally follows that if you can reduce your largest monthly expense you will have more freedom within your budget to save more and to invest. These are two activities that will move you closer to financial freedom. The focus of this post is to explore 5 ways that you will be able to achieve this reduction in accommodation costs.

Cutting Accommodation Costs

I have spilt this list of five ways to reduce your accommodation costs into two mini lists. The first is for homeowners and the second is for tenants / lodgers who rent accommodation.  The resources that I have linked to are for the United Kingdom because that is where I live. If you are reading this post outside of the United Kingdom, there may be comparable opportunities and resources in your country too.

Homeowners

Take in a Lodger

If you have enough room, take in a lodger to live with you at your main residence. Following a UK government initiative first introduced in 1992, homeowners are permitted to earn up to £7,500 tax free as part of the rent-a-room scheme. Technically this does not reduce your accommodation cost but it does reduce your financial burden because of the additional income that the lodger provides. Click here to read more about the rent-a-room scheme.

Move to a Cheaper Area

If you are living in a desirable area, more than likely that desirability comes with fairly high accommodation costs. One possible solution that most homeowners do not think about is this one; rent out your home and move to a cheaper area.

Let me explain with some sample numbers. You are currently living in area A and your home could be rented out for £2000 per month. This is more than you are paying for your mortgage which is £1500 . If you move out of your home and rent in a cheaper area (area B) for a cost of £1400 per month, you will be reducing your accommodation cost plus receiving £2000 in rent for the house that you still own.

An added bonus is the increase in equity associated with your property during the period it is being rented out. Please note, you will need to take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of your mortgage and to ensure that your property is in suitable condition to be rented.

Tenants/  Lodgers

House Shares

Renting a self contained flat or apartment can prove expensive, particularly in desirable areas. One surefire way to reduce your accommodation cost is to move into a house share.  Sharing amenities brings the costs down. This website, spareroom.co.uk caters exactly for the house share market. Once settled into a house share, you can look forward to the positive impact that it will have on your finances.

Team up and Rent

Team up with a friend also looking for accommodation and rent a place that caters to both of your needs. This opportunity is not only available for twenty-somethings, an increasing amount of people find themselves heading one parent households and this is a good opportunity for them to reduce costs too. This website provides a forum for potential flatmates  to meet each other with a view to finding a place together.

Move Back Home

This is not an option that is available for everyone for a number of reasons. It could a good temporary solution for some millennials. Moving back in with your parents could allow you time to reduce your accommodation cost and to recover financially. It should not be considered as a permanent solution.

Have you managed to reduce your accommodation costs recently? Which method did you use? Let me know in the comments section below.

DSX The Professional Crypto Exchange

If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

How to Create a Budget You Can Stick to

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways 

Can You Live off a Cash Budget For a Week?

4 Credit Cards to Repair Your Credit Score

Take This Free Financial Literacy Course Today

Cryptocurrency Exchange: This is Why I Recommend DSX

What to do if you are Made Redundant: 5 Steps

How to Control Your Cashflow With a Bill Payment Schedule

How to Boost Your Income With a Temporary Christmas Job – 4 Examples 

Credit Cards: How to Make Balance Transfers Work For You

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

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Personal Finance: How Should You Prepare for Brexit?

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

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For those of you not living in the UK, Brexit is a word coined to mark the Great Britain’s intention to leave the European Union. This decision was the result of a national referendum in July 2016 in which the electorate voted to ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain.’  The United Kingdom was very divided; 52% voted in favour of leaving and 48% voted to remain. Those who voted to leave did so without any real understanding of the repercussions of such a decision; they were encouraged by politicians who were economical with the truth. Now in December 2018, UK inhabitants find themselves heading towards Brexit and what looks like a self-inflicted recession.

Businesses and consumers have been heavily impacted; consumers are not spending as much as they used to and business people lack of confidence about the future. Businesses are currently less likely to invest in new equipment or staff and according to the GFK consumer confidence Index the current score for the UK is – 13. To give that some context, in December 2015 the confidence index score was +2. Significantly 2015 was the first time the index had remained positive for an entire calendar year since records began in 1974.

Prepare For Brexit

From a personal finance perspective, how can you better prepare yourself for the reality of Brexit? Below I have listed 4 practical steps you can take that will help.

Revisit Your Budget

Take a look at your current monthly budget and re-evaluate all of your expenditure. If there are opportunities to cut back – take them. For example, a lot of people have unmetered water bills even though in many cases a metered water bill will work out cheaper; read this post for information, Water Bills: Are you Pouring Money Down the Plughole?  There may be other opportunities for you to cutback.

Assess Your Employer & Job Stability

In financially challenging circumstances many companies suffer and some go into administration. In the UK, we have seen this with the demise of Maplin and Toy R Us.  

The task for you is to dispassionately assess how well your employer is doing and how likely/unlikely it is that you be made redundant. Do not rely on any  assurances from the management team at your company; do your own independent research. If you think that you could be made redundant save more money into your emergency fund.

Reduce Discretionary Expenditure

In personal finance circles, there is a lot of discussion around how much impact cutting out daily Lattes will have on the path toward better financial health. That’s a choice that you are best placed to make. However, what is sensible is to rein the dining out occasions and perhaps replace them with entertaining friends at home. Beyond entertaining, holidays are another area that you should review. Choosing a more cost effective destination or changing an international holiday to a UK based ‘staycation’ will give you greater financial comfort. Also, do not go overboard at Christmas.

Review All of Your Financial Products

Review all of your financial products including savings, mortgages, investments and pensions. Assess the impact on Brexit in each case and evaluate whether you should continue with your current provider. If appropriate, change to better performing products with other providers to maximise your returns.

How are you preparing financially for Brexit? Let me know in the comments section below.

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What to do if you are Made Redundant: 5 Steps

How to Control Your Cashflow With a Bill Payment Schedule

How to Boost Your Income With a Temporary Christmas Job – 4 Examples 

Credit Cards: How to Make Balance Transfers Work For You

Should you Combine Pensions?

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts?

Save up to £300 per year by Changing Broadband Supplier

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

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Take This Free Financial Literacy Course Today

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: https://vdc.edu.au/

One of the goals I set for myself for this blog was to help people improve their level of financial literacy.

What is Financial Literacy?

‘Financial literacy is the confluence of financial, credit and debt management and the knowledge that is necessary to make financially responsible decisions – decisions that are integral to our everyday lives.’

Kristina Zucchi, a contributor to www.investopedia.com

With each blog post, I have intended to spread financial awareness and increase the knowledge base of my readership. The feedback I have received suggests that this has been appreciated. Thanks to all of you that took the time to feedback. Another way of spreading financial literacy is by sharing details of a free financial literacy course. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have been searching for a free resource that I could share with my readers.  I have now found a suitable course and this course is the focus for today’s blog post.

Free Financial Literacy Course

This financial literacy course provides a good introduction to personal finance and money management. The course is supplied by Alison.com the free online learning platform set up as a For Profit Social Enterprise in 2007 by Mike Feeric. Alison.com was started in Galway, Ireland and now has over 12 million students from 195 countries. The course that I have selected has been studied by sixty nine thousand students and has a rating of 4.1 stars. The course will take approximately 6-10 hours to complete.

Click here to be taken to the course landing page.  

Continual Learning

As we continue on this journey towards financial freedom, I will share other helpful resources with you. I hope that you find this course useful. I believe that it is important for us to continue learning and improving our knowledge base.

Have you taken any financial literacy or money management courses before? Let me know in the comments section below.

DSX The Professional Crypto Exchange

If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Cryptocurrency Exchange: This is Why I Recommend DSX

What to do if you are Made Redundant: 5 Steps

How to Control Your Cashflow With a Bill Payment Schedule

How to Boost Your Income With a Temporary Christmas Job – 4 Examples 

Credit Cards: How to Make Balance Transfers Work For You

Should you Combine Pensions?

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts?

Save up to £300 per year by Changing Broadband Supplier

Investments: Why Saving is Not Enough 

How to Stop Emotional Spending

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

 

Credit Cards: How to Make Balance Transfers Work For You

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: https://www.creditcards.com/

If you have ever had more than credit card and realised that the payments you are making are mostly going to pay off interest only, a balance transfer might be a good solution for you. A balance transfer occurs when you open a new credit card account and transfer the balance from an existing card or cards to the new card. This can work out well for you if the new card offers you a 6 month 0% interest free period. You will then have the opportunity to pay off more of your credit card balance because you have 6 months to make payments without accruing interest.

This is the primary advantage of balance transfers, the interest free period. Before taking out a new balance transfer credit card read the terms and conditions and find out what the interest rate will be after the 6 month period. Financial institutions offer balance transfer credit cards because they know that many people will not be able to clear their balance within 6 months and as a consequence they will then have to pay interest to the financial institution. This is when they are able to make money from you; sometimes there is a fee for balance transfer. Usually financial institutions will also make money if you make any new purchases or cash withdrawals too, so try to avoid any new transactions altogether on the new card.

Make Balance Transfers Work For You

*Use an online comparison tool to find out which are the best balance transfer credit cards for your requirements and check your eligibility. Do not apply for too many cards because your applications will be recorded on your credit record and you do not want to appear desperate.

*Balance transfers are not offered to everyone, if you have a poor credit rating this opportunity might not be open to you. Click on this link to find out more about credit ratings.   If you are can get a new balance transfer card, sign up and use it.

*  If your application is successful, transfer your balance or balances to the new card and continue to make regular payments to reduce the amount that you owe. It will make your financial life simpler and more manageable.

*Calculate your desired repayment amount and set yourself the goal of clearing your new credit card by a specific date. Ideally this will be within the interest free 6 month period.

*Consider this strategy that I have used personally, when one 6 month period is about to finish it will should still be possible to transfer to another new balance transfer card and in doing so gain another 6 months at 0% interest. More time to clear your balance will help you make faster progress clearing your debts. Read this post for more information on clearing debts, What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts?

What Should You do?

If you follow the approach listed above, balance transfers can become an excellent strategy for rapid debt reduction and will move you closer to being debt free

Have you used balance transfer cards to reduce your debts? Would you use them again? Let me know in the comments section below.

DSX The Professional Crypto Exchange

If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Should you Combine Pensions?

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts?

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Investments: Why Saving is Not Enough 

How to Stop Emotional Spending

Water Bills: Are you Pouring Money down the Plughole? 

How to Stick to Your Budget During Summer: 5 Tips 

Does Your Choice of Supermarket Matter? 

Save Money by Switching Energy Supplier Every Year 

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

Have you Found all of Your Dormant Accounts?

Can you live off a Cash Budget for a Week?

Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?

Why you Should Drive and Old Car and Pay of Your Mortgage Early

Make Money By Being Part of a Focus Group

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

Save Up to £300 per year by Changing Broadband Supplier

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: https://www.mfcomm.co.uk/

It is a long time since Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web, access to the internet is commonplace now, even in some of the most remote locations around the world. The supply of WIFI into your home has been commoditised in the same way that the supply of gas and electricity has been. I wrote about that here in this post, Why you Should Change Energy Supplier Every Year. Given the choice and  deals available, it is highly likely that you are paying more than is necessary for your broadband. In this post, I want to encourage you to switch broadband supplier to make a saving of up to £300 per year. The amount you can save will depend on your WIFI needs and usage.

Switching Broadband Supplier

If you are like most people, you will have made a choice of broadband supplier when you moved into your current home or when presented with a deal by an alternative supplier. Typically your deal would have been value for money for the first 12 months but you have probably remained with that supplier ever since. This is normal, there is a technical aspect to the supply of broadband and there is also the potential inconvenience of having your broadband service interrupted if you switch. However, staying put is often a mistake because after your initial deal is over there is the chance  to switch supplier and save money without being penalised.

What Should you do?

Assess your broadband requirements, are you a light, medium or heavy user? Does your current supplier supply fibre optic broadband into your home? If so, you should look for similar deals; trading down to ADSL internet to save money would be a mistake. Compare like with like before switching; you will be able to find a better deal when you use one of the comparison websites, these include uSwitch,  and moneysupermarket.com. It will only take a few minutes to discover the best broadband deals for your postcode.

Most people do not bother to visit comparison websites every year and miss out on potential savings. Do not be like most people; it is definitely worth your time. Have you recently changed broadband supplier after using one of the price comparison websites? Let me know in the comments section below.

DSX The Professional Crypto Exchange

If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Investments: Why Saving is Not Enough 

How to Stop Emotional Spending

Water Bills: Are you Pouring Money down the Plughole? 

How to Stick to Your Budget During Summer: 5 Tips 

Does Your Choice of Supermarket Matter? 

Save Money by Switching Energy Supplier Every Year 

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

Have you Found all of Your Dormant Accounts?

Can you live off a Cash Budget for a Week?

Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?

Why you Should Drive and Old Car and Pay of Your Mortgage Early

Make Money By Being Part of a Focus Group

Save Hundreds on Rent Per Month By Becoming a Property Guardian

4 Obstacles you Will Face on Your Financial Journey

Make Money Now With These Two Referral Apps

Have you got the Right Money Mindset?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

Save Up to £300 per year by Changing Broadband Supplier

Water Bills: Are you Pouring Money Down the Plughole?

 

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: http://www.yourmoney.com/

I am convinced that the water supply companies are no more virtuous than gas and electricity suppliers.  If you have read my post of a couple of weeks ago, entitled Save Money by Switching Energy Supplier Every Year  you will know that my recommendation is to review your energy supplier every year and then visit a comparison website. Your objective is to switch to the best value for money deal available for your post code.

Unfortunately, you cannot do the same with your water supplier. The water supply industry has not been deregulated in the way that gas and electricity has. What does this mean? The water supply companies have localised monopolies and consumers can do nothing about it. For example, I cannot change my water supplier; Thames Water will remain my supplier whether I like it or not.

What can you do?

Install a Meter

If you have been paying water bills as unmetered charges, the chances are that you will save money by switching to a metered bill. Visit the website of your supplier and request that a meter is installed to track your actual water usage.  Water companies should inform you that you would benefit from having a meter installed but in many cases they do not. If a meter cannot be fitted you will get an assessed bill. 

Reduce Your Water Usage

Below are a list of simple steps that you can take to reduce your water usage:

Limit the amount of time everyone takes having a shower. Shorter showers will mean less usage.

Avoid taking baths for the same reason.

If you have a dishwasher, ensure that you only use it with a full load. If you still wash up by hand, do so once a day with a sink full rather than several times a day.

Limit the amount of washing machine loads you wash per day and per week. Ensure that you wash full loads only.

Clean your car with a waterless instant shine cleaning product like this one, instead of using buckets of water and soap. Click on the text in red to be taken to an example.

Collect rain water in a water butt and use that ( and a watering can) to water your plants rather than using a hose pipe.

Avoid using a hosepipe in any scenario.

In the bathroom, avoid running taps when shaving or brushing your teeth.

Store cold tap water in the fridge rather than running a tap until it’s cold enough to drink.

If you have any leaky taps or shower heads, fix them.

Using a combination of these methods will definitely reduce your water usage and bill without you having to make any major changes to your lifestyle. Please take action today and let me know how you get on.

Are you already taking steps to reduce your water usage? Have you discovered any other ways?  Please let me know in the comments section below.

If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

How to Stick to Your Budget During Summer: 5 Tips 

Does Your Choice of Supermarket Matter? 

Save Money by Switching Energy Supplier Every Year 

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

Have you Found all of Your Dormant Accounts?

Can you live off a Cash Budget for a Week?

Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?

Why you Should Drive and Old Car and Pay of Your Mortgage Early

Make Money By Being Part of a Focus Group

Save Hundreds on Rent Per Month By Becoming a Property Guardian

4 Obstacles you Will Face on Your Financial Journey

Make Money Now With These Two Referral Apps

Have you got the Right Money Mindset?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

Water Bills_ Are your Pouring Money Down the Plughole_

How to Stick to Your Budget During Summer: 5 Tips

 

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: https://www.peakretreats.co.uk/

Summertime, and the living is easy...’ are the words of DuBose Heyward, he wrote the lyrics and George Gershwin wrote the music for the famous song from the opera Porgy and Bess in 1935. The song has been performed all around the world by thousands of musicians. Summertime can indeed be a wonderful time; better weather brings more opportunities to have fun, more day trips and other leisure activities either close to home or whilst on holiday (vacation). All of this having fun and leisure time can put household budgets under enormous pressure and it is no surprise that so many budgets fall by the wayside during the summer months. It does not have to be this way, below I have listed 5 budget friendly ways to keep yourself on track financially during the summer months.

Stick to Your Financial Goals During Summer

Forward Planning

Time that you take off work for a holiday and your children’s summer holidays from school are predictable events; you know that they are going to happen so you can plan for them and prepare. Ensure that you save for your cost of your holiday and spending money months in advance. Your holiday savings can form part of the 20 % that I wrote about in this post, How Much Should You Save?  In taking this approach, you will minimise the financial impact of your holiday. Don’t forget to save for the additional day trips and activities that you will also do at home too. The summer is longer than your holiday in most cases.

Booking  in Advance

In nearly all instances, booking in advance will enable you to access discounts and special offers that will enable you to keep costs as low as possible. Contrast that with trying to book hotels, flights and activities at peak time when the costs will be much higher. Make your money go further by booking earlier.

Take Picnics Rather than Relying on Restaurants

Buy yourself a picnic basket like this one, and then get in to the habit of making food for your family the night before day trips. This is a great way of keeping a lid on expenditure; it also means that you will be able to eat exactly when you want rather than having to wait for space to become available at a restaurant or cafe. Queuing for a popular restaurant is not fun, you will be able to avoid that entirely.

Filling up Your Tank

If you are going to visit a major attraction such as a theme park, fill up your car at a local petrol station rather than one on the motorway. Motorway service stations are always much more expensive than filling up at your local supermarket petrol station.

Cash Budgeting at Theme Parks and Funfairs

Theme parks or funfairs often have lots of different rides or attractions for you and your family to choose from, If all rides are included in the admission price feel free to experience as many as you can fit it during the time that you have available. However, some places that you visit will have individual costs for each ride; in this instance its very easy to spend a lot of money very quickly. The best approach is to set a mini budget for your children or yourself, you could allow them to choose 3 or 4 rides for example.

By following these tips, you’ll find that you are aren’t having any less fun than if you hadn’t applied the brakes to your expenditure. The difference is that this time you will not have any guilt as a result of overspending. It just takes a little thought and preparation but is totally achievable.

How do you prepare financially for the summer months? What steps have you taken to stick to your budget during summertime? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Does Your Choice of Supermarket Matter? 

Save Money by Switching Energy Supplier Every Year 

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

Have you Found all of Your Dormant Accounts?

Can you live off a Cash Budget for a Week?

Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?

Why you Should Drive and Old Car and Pay of Your Mortgage Early

Make Money By Being Part of a Focus Group

Save Hundreds on Rent Per Month By Becoming a Property Guardian

4 Obstacles you Will Face on Your Financial Journey

Make Money Now With These Two Referral Apps

Have you got the Right Money Mindset?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

How to Stick to Your Budget During Summer - 5 Tips

Does Your Choice of Supermarket Matter?

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/

Groceries are a necessity for life but it must be remembered that not all supermarkets are created equal in terms of value for money.  Convenience is also an important factor when it comes to selecting a supermarket; you are more likely to shop at a supermarket that is easy for you to get to, particularly if you plan on going there on foot. If you are driving you’ll pick a supermarket with a car park over one that requires you to find an available parking meter.  This is an entirely natural way of choosing a supermarket and is to be expected. However, if you have financial goals to achieve you should recognise that your choice of supermarket is a huge opportunity to make regular savings and achieve your financial goals more quickly.

Supermarket Choice

Luckily for us we don’t have to guess which is the cheapest supermarket. Food retailer trade magazine, The Grocer regularly conducts secret shopper research to confirm where you should go to buy the cheapest groceries. According to their data, Aldi is the cheapest supermarket. When you click on the link in red text you will see that they have compared supermarkets for a range of everyday items and Aldi has come out on top because the basket of items wash cheapest there.

What Should you do?

If you have an Aldi near where you live, choose Aldi for your grocery shopping from now on.  If there is not an Aldi near you, choose Asda because Asda was number two on the list.  At the risk of sounding like a grocery shopping geek, when I made this change to my regular choice of  supermarket I was saving 30-40% on my regular items when compared to Tesco, for example. I did have to change my routine to make this change, I had to drive slightly further to visit the nearest Aldi but even when I factored the additional petrol cost, Aldi was still a clear winner. The change I made was not a big deal and amounted to an extra five minutes in the car.

In an earlier post on this blog I asked the question, Do you have the Right Money Mindset? Small behavioural changes like driving a bit further to a cheaper supermarket can create more abundance in your life. It is so simple to do and yet most people do not do it. Instead the continue to shop at the most conveniently located supermarket despite the fact that it costs them more. Which type of consumer do you want to be? A frugal one who is intentional about their purchasing decisions or someone who regularly spends more than they need to on groceries?

Have you changed your choice of supermarket to take advantage of lower prices? If so, what has the money that you saved allowed you to do? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Regal Assets Banner

If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Save Money by Switching Energy Supplier Every Year 

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

Have you Found all of Your Dormant Accounts?

Can you live off a Cash Budget for a Week?

Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?

Why you Should Drive and Old Car and Pay of Your Mortgage Early

Make Money By Being Part of a Focus Group

Save Hundreds on Rent Per Month By Becoming a Property Guardian

4 Obstacles you Will Face on Your Financial Journey

Make Money Now With These Two Referral Apps

Have you got the Right Money Mindset?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

Does Your Choice of Supermarket Matter

 

Save Money By Switching Energy Supplier Every Year

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: https://banglamirrornews.com

For most people, the prospect of assessing the best deals amongst energy suppliers is not exciting. It is necessary for us to choose a supplier for electricity and gas but I imagine most people spend as little time as possible thinking about it. This is exactly what the large energy suppliers want us to do, of course. Their strategy is to capitalise on our inertia or lack of interest to keep us as customers when we would be better off finding a great deal with one of their competitors.

Switching Energy Suppliers

Typically what happens is this, we are attracted by a good 12 month deal advertised online and sign up for it. When the initial 12 months are over, we have become accustomed to logging in to a particular account and receiving communication from one company. As the renewal date approached our existing supplier offers us a chance to renew with their ‘best offer’ for you. In most cases, this best offer is not a good deal and the price will rise if you accept it. Many people do accept it because it seems convenient.

What Should you do?

When you receive your pending renewal communication from your existing supplier, make a note of amount of your current direct debit and energy usage for electricity and/or gas and visit a comparison website. I went through this process yesterday, as I do each year, the website I used for comparison is called uSwitch, you could also try moneysupermarket.com. Allow yourself around 10 minutes to input some details about your existing supplier and contract and then the website will present you with the best choices for your energy supply and you can select one. My selection of new supplier meant that I will save £110 on my energy usage over the next 12 months.

Most people I have spoken to about this are aware of these websites but do not make a habit of visiting them each year. This is exactly what you should do to the best value for money deals. The same also applies for other categories including car insurance and home insurance.

The comparison websites I have highlighted are based in the UK because I live in the UK. If you live in another part of the world please use similar comparison websites to achieve the same results. I would be interested to know some of those websites and which country they relate to, you can let me know in the comments section below. Also, have you recently changed energy supplier? Let me know below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

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Have you got the Right Money Mindset?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

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Save Money By Switching Energy Supplier Every Year

 

 

 

How to Stop Impulse Buying – 10 Ways

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According to research conducted in 2016, 54% of Britons admit to making an impulse purchase every time they go shopping. Impulse buying is a big problem that results in many losing control of their financial affairs and failing to stick to their budget. Consumers impulse buy both in-store and online, with in-store customers being more susceptible to impulse purchases.  Retailers have accumulated their own data and design their stores to encourage buying on impulse; the more this happens, the greater the profits for them.  What can we do to eradicate impulse purchases from our monthly expenditure? I have listed some very effective ways below.

Impulse Buying

Keep a Budget

Once you have identified your financial goals, the best method to move forward towards achieving your goals is to keep a monthly budget. If  you have not already set up a budget, this post will help you, How to Create a Budget That you can Stick To. Budgets make you become more intentional about all of your expenditure and leave little room for impulse buys. Ensure that you look at your budget frequently; be disciplined and you should be able to resist impulse purchases.

Follow a Cash Budget

One step up from a regular monthly budget is a cash budget, following a cash budget will give you further daily reminders of what you intend your cash to be used for. Resist the temptation to take from one of your envelopes to fund an impulse purchase. Stay focused.

Keep a Spending Diary

For a period of a month, write down every purchase you make, there is no need to include bills. Be accurate and include morning coffees and snacks etc. After the month is over analyse your spending to identify any weak areas. Are there regular times when you are more prone to impulse buys? Is it when you are bored? Have you looked around shops during your lunch hour and succumbed to a purchase?

Work out Why you Impulse Buy

What are the circumstances that lead to impulse purchases in your life? Is it when you are feeling a bit low? Or lonely? When you have received some bad news? Or had a particularly tough day at work? Perhaps after you’ve had an argument with your partner? Only you will know the answers to these questions. If you need to talk to someone confidentially about the amount of impulse purchases you are making you can contact The National Debtline  or Citizens Advice.  Click on the words to be taken to their websites.

Make a List Before you Shop

Make a list of items that you intend to buy before shopping online or in-store. Use retailers websites to get a good understanding of where you can buy the items you need and the best prices for those items. If you can purchase cheaply online, do so. For some items, fruit and vegetables are a good example, it may make sense to visit a store and then make you planned purchases. Having a physical list will help keep you on track and avoid impulse buys .

Introduce a 48 Hour Rule

If you spot something that you would like to buy, but it is not a  planned purchase, force yourself to wait 48 hours before purchasing it. This is assuming that you can afford to buy the item and will not have to use money that is already allocated for something else. The self imposed 48 hour ‘cooling off ‘period will allow you time to think about whether you really should make the purchase. Take the time to think about whether you need or only want the purchase. Realistically how much would you use the new item?

Don’t Set up One Click Ordering

Do not set up one click ordering on websites, websites offer this convenience because they know that it will result in more sales for them and increased profits. We have all been in the situation where we are about to leave a website and are then presented with a ‘special offer’ that we can order with one click. This ‘convenience’ can prove very inconvenient when it comes time to reconcile our budget.

Do Not Browse

Do not browse in shopping centres or on retailer websites, only visit if you have something specific to buy. This simple step will cut down the amount of temptation that you face.

Do not Routinely Carry all of Your Credit cards

Carrying all of your credit cards in your wallet or purse every day increases the chance that you will make an impulse buy. This is because the increased access to funds can prove a very strong temptation to many. Leaving them at home in a safe place is much better approach if you are trying to curb impulse purchases.

Convert Your Potential Purchase into Hours of Work

Think about how long it takes to earn enough money to purchase the item, if you earn £30 per hour and you are considering a new pair of shoes for £150 consider whether they are really worth 5 hours of work. How many pairs of shoes have you got already? If your money is limited, also consider the opportunity cost of the shoes. In other words, what will you have to sacrifice in order to be able to buy the shoes.

You don’t have to implement all of these methods to eradicate impulse purchases. Think of this list as a menu and pick those tactics that will be most effective for you.

Monitor your own progress in the weeks ahead. Do you have a problem with impulse buying? Let me know in the comments section below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Have you Found all of Your Dormant Accounts?

Can you live off a Cash Budget for a Week?

Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?

Why you Should Drive and Old Car and Pay of Your Mortgage Early

Make Money By Being Part of a Focus Group

Save Hundreds on Rent Per Month By Becoming a Property Guardian

4 Obstacles you Will Face on Your Financial Journey

Make Money Now With These Two Referral Apps

Have you got the Right Money Mindset?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

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