Finding a way to make your hard-earned cash cover the high cost of living can be a tough gig these days.
Groceries, transport, medical, utilities. Bills. Bills. Bills.
No matter how hard you crunch the numbers and scrutinise your budget, it can seem near impossible to increase the margin between your income and expenses.
It’s true. Some costs and commodities you simply cannot do without. But, the good news is there are still some teeny, tiny tweaks you can make to help stretch your pennies even further without compromising your comfort, health, safety — or clean criminal record.
Sometimes, it just takes a little creativity, thriftiness, organisation, perseverance — and a new way of looking at some of your most common bills and expenses.
Let us share some of the ways you can beat the high cost of living and save a little more each month:
Your belongings, your finances, your lifestyle. Commit to stripping things back to basics and assessing your needs and wants.
Break free from the consumer culture and ask yourself, “What’s really important?”
“Do I need that, or do I want it?”
A little resourcefulness or elbow grease goes a long way when it comes to home economics, so take a look at some of the outsourced services and ready-made products you rely on day to day. From mowing your own lawn to making to your own laundry detergent and bread, there are plenty of things you can DIY — if you really make the time.
If the circumstances permit and you can find the right person, why not open up that spare room to let? Having a (suitable) house mate chip in with the rent or mortgage and associate utilities bills can help ease the financial burden of having a roof over your head.
Sharing fuel and parking costs with colleagues (who travel the same route) can help reduce the cost of commuting too and from work. Walking, running or cycling around town can also save on public transport fares — and help boost your fitness!
Fixed monthly costs, like gym memberships and unread magazine subscriptions can be a common money leak, so again, assess your needs versus your wants in this area.
Instead of spending money on group fitness classes, can you take up jogging with a friend, or roll out the yoga mat at home?
Many companies, especially telecoms, utilities and insurance providers, are often open to negotiating a better deal — especially if it’s time to renew your contract or policy or if you’re willing to bundle the services together. Do your research, get quotes, and make comparisons.
Where can you get the best deal? If you need to switch providers, do it.
Speaking of utilities, implanting some basic energy efficiency around the home and doing your best to go green can help mitigate against unnecessarily high power bills in the future. And not only is it good for your wallet, it helps the environment too. Install energy efficient light bulbs. Turn off lights and fans when you leave the room. Switch appliances off at the wall.
When it comes to the household staples (especially non-perishables) you use frequently — everything from toilet paper to brown rice — buying in bulk and sidestepping supermarket mark-ups often helps you save money in the long run. You can also save time, by shopping less often.
Putting a few minutes aside each week to choose some simple meals and write a grocery list that includes only the necessary ingredients (and other household staples) will help you avoid buying what you don’t need, or getting sucked in to impulse buys in the shopping aisles.
Try and make twice as much at meal time and freeze the leftovers. Having something on hand when you’re pressed for time means you won’t have to resort to more expensive takeaways — or buying lunches!
When it comes to clothing and furniture, scour thrift stores or online sites such as Gumtree and eBay for unique and affordable gems. There’s a good chance you’ll find exactly what you need, for a fraction of the price.
How do you beat the high cost of living? What are you go to tips when it comes to being a little more thrifty or frugal? Share with us in the comments below!