When was the last time you had a proper overhaul of your utilities? I mean a really good look at it, not just turning your heating down a degree or switching suppliers through a comparison site, just for the free Meerkat.
The average combined family bill in the UK for electricity, gas, water and sewage services, is now over £1,800, which is a hefty chunk of your expenditure every single month. With bills this high though, the good news is that this means there is plenty of scope for savings.
When it comes to utilities, it’s often a combination of lots of little things that work best, rather than one big change, so why not see how many of these you can tick off?
Understand your bills
One of the biggest reasons that we overspend on bills and services is that we simply don’t properly understand what we’re paying for. This video from Home Energy Scotland helps you get to grips with exactly what your bills mean, so you can feel in control of where your money is going. View Post
Today I welcome back Jon from The Money Shed. Jon has written a couple of popular posts for me already – one about earning money from home without having to go near a survey, and another guide to matched betting, and today Jon has a few motivational words for you. I know for a fact that he recently went to America on his earnings from these work-at-home jobs, so he knows what he’s talking about.
I chose this image especially for Jon as I know he’s a big fan of my cheesy stock pictures
Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or you work full time you probably feel that you’re pretty busy. It can be very easy to convince yourself that you have a lot on your plate and no time to take on anything else. Frankly this is untrue.
Watching daytime TV or spending half your work day on your mobile phone is NOT being busy. It may feel important, at the time, as you’re desperate to know what the DNA results are, but you could be putting your time to much better use. View Post
I hope my mum and dad will forgive me for saying that we had what could be described as a ‘financially somewhat turbulent’ childhood. Circumstances did not always work in our favour let’s say. Not that I mind at all. In fact, if anything, lacking financial security as a child has had a lot of positives; it has certainly made me appreciate the value of money, and how important it is to be careful with it
I’m not saying I’m a massive scrooge or anything, I like spending it too, I’m just respectful at the same time. They say that money can’t buy you happiness, and I totally agree with that, but a lack of money certainly isn’t fun, and so it’s important to have a good attitude towards both saving and spending.
As part of my current project with NatWest Money Clip, and with the help of my daughter Bee, who’s now 20, I’ve been thinking about children’s relationships with money, and how this impacts their financial health as adults, to try to come up with some strategies for teaching children about money management. NatWest have some great resources on their Telegraph finance hub too, so do check those out if you’d like more information.
My first question then, to get you thinking – how have your financial experiences as a child shaped your relationship with money as an adult? View Post
How much money have you spent this week?
Chances are, you don’t actually know.
One of my fondest memories of my Gran is the fact that at the end of every day, she’d take out a tiny notebook and pencil from her handbag, (which always smelt of Chanel No 5), and she’d write down every penny she had spent that day. Even when she had plenty of money, she never relaxed that control. She wasn’t tight – she was very generous in fact – but she just liked to know.
We don’t do this so much these days do we? Relatively, we’re so much better off than we were when my Gran was bringing up a young family, and that’s obviously a good thing, but it does seem to mean that we’ve lost that ability to control day-to-day spending quite as efficiently.
It’s time to go retro with your finances, recapture that post-war budgeting spirit and save some pennies. View Post
How much debt do you have at the moment?
I’m not trying to depress you – I know January isn’t really the month you want to look at your credit card statements – I’m just curious. You don’t have to say out loud, just have a think and add it up.
Are you surprised? If it makes you feel better, the average UK household debt in the third quarter of last year was £11,800, its highest in five years. As far as I know, this doesn’t include mortgages.
Does that make you feel better or worse?
My own debt is less than this – more like the £4,000 mark – although that’s me personally rather than the household as a whole. Over the last ten years I’ve made a concerted effort to keep the debt I do have under control. Going through university, living an hour’s drive away, and bringing up a toddler on my own, got me into a lot of trouble financially. It took me a long time to take my head out of the sand and actually face up to the debts, let alone pay them off. Now though I’m clear – no bad debts, no student loans left – it’s a great feeling. View Post
I checked my bank balance this morning, as is my custom when I’m feeling a bit anxious and need a number to grab hold of.
I had £685.18.
Not too bad, considering it’s January, and I normally spend about a million pounds on Christmas. The rent has to come out still, but hey ho, not so bad.
And then I looked at that bit underneath that says ‘pending transactions’ – the things you’ve bought already, but just haven’t come out of your account.
They came to £664. 38.
I did a quick(ish) sum.
I made it £20.80.
Not so cool.