Take control of your finances


If you’re struggling to make ends meet due to the increased cost-of-living, do not bury your head in the sand. Here are some tips how to plan, budget and take control of your finances, reduce your energy spend and know the top energy guzzlers in your home.

PLAN: It’s essential to detail your income, debt, and spending over the course of at least one month so you have a full overview of where you stand. Make sure you include the following in the inventory; your income, your spending, and list out all your debts. Be honest and make sure to include everything.

BUDGET: Then create a monthly budget. Setting and following a monthly budget can really help keep you on track and regain your sense of control. Remember to include everyday expenses in your budget too, such as food, travel, bills and mortgage. When it comes to the larger bills that you pay annually, such as car insurance or council tax, divide them by 12 so you can set aside money each month. If possible, try to factor in any unexpected expenses too just in case. You may also wish to set up automatic payments to help ensure bills are paid on time and you avoid late payments or interest rate hikes.

WORK TOGETHER: Remember to make sure others in your household are on board with the plan. Enlist support from your spouse, partner or kids and make sure everyone in your household is pulling in the same direction and understands the financial goals you’re working towards.

Try this: Switch up your exercise routine.

Exercise is central to living well, being healthy and indeed reducing any feelings of stress and anxiety. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to stay in shape. Why not consider ending your gym membership and try running outside or exercising at home instead. There are many great workouts to try on online for free. Give it a go and see how much you can save without having to pay for a gym membership.

Everything seems to be going up – including our energy costs. Here are 10 tips to reduce your energy spend

Turn off standby appliances. Turn all appliances that you are not using off at the plug. This could save you an average of £30 a year.

Turn down your thermostat. Almost half the money spent on energy bills is absorbed by heating and hot water costs. You might be surprised to learn that turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £80 a year.

Wash clothes at 30. Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees can help reduce your energy usage.

Wear clothes more than once. Cutting out one wash cycle per week will reduce £5 off your annual energy bill. Try to get out of the habit of washing clothes after just one wear.

Use a washing up bowl in the sink. You can save around £25 a year by washing up in a bowl rather than using a running tap.

Shorten your showers. Try to limit the time you and your family spend in the shower. You could save up to £7 per person each year by cutting just one minute off every shower.

Draught proof your house. Seal cracks in your floors and skirting boards, line your letterbox, block any unused chimneys and put draught excluders in front of your external doorways. This could reduce your heating bills by up to £35 a year.

Turn off the lights. This may sound obvious, but make sure you don’t have lights on unnecessarily or in rooms that you are not using. Porch and outdoor lights don’t need to be on all the time.

Fit energy efficient bulbs. Replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED lights, could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40kg a year and will help you save money too.

Pick your times wisely. Using electricity before 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m., when power on the grid is the cleanest and cheapest, can help reduce your energy bill and cut fossil fuel emissions.

Most people use the most energy between 6pm – 9pm with a peak in energy at 8pm.

Do you know the top energy guzzlers in your home?

Often, it’s the not knowing that makes us feel extra anxious. Find out the top energy guzzling appliances in your house so you can start to control your spending.

Washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers are right up there in terms of the most energy guzzling appliances. Research from Uswitch.com suggests that drying three loads a week in your tumble dryer will cost about £223 a year. As such, avoid unnecessary washes, make sure you wash on 30 and dry your clothes on a line or heated airer instead.

Next on the list are fridges and freezers. These cold appliances account for approximately 13% of the average household’s energy bill. Of course, we can’t switch these appliances off, but there is a benefit to investing in an energy efficient fridge and freezer early on. Often the money spent on investing in a really good cold appliance is worth it in the long run.

Try this: Contact supplier

Try this: Help your children understand how to save money
Don’t forget. If you’ve tried to save energy by limiting your usage, but you are struggling to pay your bill, you should contact your supplier and see if they can help. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan if your energy bills are becoming too much. Reach out to them to see what they say.

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