If you dream of owning your own home but are struggling to figure out how you’ll ever be able to put enough aside to make up a deposit, a careful review of your household budget can help free up a few pounds here and there to start putting into a savings account.
Here are five tips for cutting down on household costs.
Keep a record
Step one to gaining control of a tight budget is to set up a basic record. Using a computer spread sheet or good old pen and paper, make a column for each month and rows for each type of income and expense such as salary, child benefit, household bills, groceries, clothing and so on.
This will allow you to see clearly what you’re spending on, where you could trim back, and where any extra expenses are coming up.
Don’t forget to allow a little contingency pot each month – there are always unexpected expenses!
Sit down at the weekend and plan your main meals for the week ahead before your head out on your grocery shop. This allows you to save money by only buying what you’ll need. It can also reduce food waste and help you achieve a better nutritional balance in your diet as you’ll be giving yourself a little time each weekend to plan in your fruit and veg.
Grab my basic guide to getting started with meal planning, which also includes a free printable planner with shopping list.
Try discount supermarkets
According to a recent Bloomberg report, the UK’s “Big Four” supermarkets are likely to see declining profits over the next 12-18 months as discounters Aldi and Lidl capture 10% of the UK grocery market.
The larger chains simply can’t match the discount store prices in may cases, so it’s well worth trying the likes of Aldi or Lidl to save money on fresh produce, frozen and tinned goods etc. Both stores also have regular offers on toys, household and gardening items too, so you could make all kinds of savings.
Make your home draught-free
During the winter months, heating bills can make a real dent in household finances. About 35% of heat escapes through our walls and the gaps around doors and windows so invest in draught excluders and a door curtain to help reduce costs. You can also save by drawing your blinds or curtains at dusk.
Join a toy library
If you want to keep your little ones entertained but find their ever changing tastes mean you could spend a small fortune on toys and activities, consider joining a toy library, where you can you can find hundreds of toys that you can borrow for free or for a tiny fraction of the cost of buying new ones.
Many toy libraries are also great places to meet other parents/carers and have a coffee while the children play. Some Toy Libraries also have Sensory Rooms and multi-sensory toys for hire.
And if you’re busy saving up for a home of your own but aren’t sure if it will be cheaper than renting, take a look at TSB’s mortgage repayment calculator to see how much your repayments would be.