You cannot fail to see the word ‘austerity’ wherever you look. Money experts are all advising us to cut back on our spending, to find the best utility deal, and to shop around when it comes to groceries.
But for diehard shopaholics, this is not so easy. The thrill of a new purchase, the unwrapping of a designer bag, the delivery of a brand new product, it’s hard not to see the appeal.
However, a new survey has shown that the average UK household could be in debt by £10,000 by the end of 2016. There is also a worrying trend of people aged between 35 and 44 relying solely on credit to buy essential items.
So how do we stop the splurge and cut back on our bills?
Here are our top tips for cutting back on your household spending:
Only use cash when out spending.
When you have certain items to buy in your household, such as the children’s school uniform or even the weekly food, estimate how much you will need and then take the cash out with you.
If you take a credit card you are more likely to overspend. Taking cash ensures you know exactly how much you are spending and what you have left. It is much easier to keep track of what you are buying and spending with cash purchases.
If you must have credit cards, only have the one, leave it at home when you are out shopping, only use it for dire emergencies and try and pay off the balance every month to avoid interest payments.
Food Shopping – Make a List!
Instead of wandering around the supermarket aimlessly in search of inspiration, make a list of meals for the week before you go and the ingredients you’ll need for them. Then go shopping and stick to the list.
By sticking to the list you will stop buying unnecessary and unwanted food that might end up in the bin.
Choose Unbranded and Value Products
We tend to pick branded and top named products because of their history. We trust them, we identify with them as a higher quality and therefore superior to other brands.
But there are many non-labelled brands that work just as well. Also, when you consider that a lot of the top named brands also make the non-branded products, it doesn’t make sense to buy the more expensive product.
There are certain products that work well when swapped for non-branded, these include baked beans, butter, bread, cakes, biscuits, pasta sauces, rice and pasta.
Products that do not swap well include tuna and other tinned fish, frozen pizzas, sauces and pies.
Don’t buy unnecessary Designer Brands
Where you can avoid it, leave the designer brands on the shelf for another time. For instance, do children really need the latest iPhone6 or iPad when they are 6 or 7 years old?
Kids of this age won’t know the difference between Apple and Tesco unless you tell them, so get them a cheaper alternative like Tesco’s Hudl for a fraction of the cost.
As for parents, you are paying tens of pounds more for a tiny little logo on the front of a shirt, on a bag or on the back of a dress. So long as something looks great on you, who cares where it was made?
Trick the eye by cheating with carefully selected accessories. For instance, Tesco are knocking out some amazing copies of Victoria Beckham’s best handbags. Look for colour contrasting satchels in chic blues and creams and team with your best outfits. No one will know the difference.
Shop Around – For Everything!
Everyone knows you need to shop around when it comes to grocery shopping or gas and electricity, but do you apply this same logic when it comes to furniture or banks or cars?
You can save hundreds of pounds off your household spending by looking at alternative retailers.
Take furniture, many of the main soft furnishing stores will have sales on throughout the year but recent surveys have shown the prices to be not all they appear.
Larger supermarkets, such as Tesco and especially Asda have taken the soft furnishings department to task in the last few years. Producing some pretty authentic and great styles, we love George @ Home for giving us inspiration and continually upping their game, season after season.
Their ranges include pretty cushions, throws, vases and pictures to four-setter settees. And, more importantly, at very reasonable prices.
You should splash out on some products
As in life, there are times when you simply get what you pay for, and there are certain products when you should spend that little bit extra on when it comes to household spending.
It all depends on how much you use them. So, if you are a country girl who is out mucking the stables on a daily basis, those Hunter Wellies will definitely be a great choice. You’ll wear them every day, get a load of use out of them, and they should last for years.
Likewise, if you are a city girl who simply cannot do without her straighteners, buying a set of Garmin hair tongs will ensure your hair is at its best.
The way to judge if an item is worth spending more on is to calculate the cost per wear. Will you wear or use it enough times to warrant the spend? If the answer is yes then go ahead.
Photograph Credit: Dave Ramsey