Once you have paid all your bills, your budget can seem to look very tight, and finishing the month in the red is never easy. However, it is possible to make daily savings to help you out. It is simply a matter of acquiring a few good habits, like those we will share with you below. But don’t worry, far be it from us to suggest living in a wooden hut, fishing and gathering berries to subsist! These are just a few simple and practical tips to spend a little less every month.
1) Limit your electricity consumption
We use electricity on a daily basis for absolutely everything, although we do need to be vigilant with it to avoid needless over-consumption, and to ensure we are using it intelligently.
- In practice, you can start by buying energy saving light bulbs which lead to savings in the long term. What’s more, they last longer than traditional light bulbs. For your electrical devices, choose devices with an energy efficiency class A label, which cost a little more to buy, but which save money in the long term.
- Put your heating on a timer. This can even be done remotely. Ideally, you should turn off the heating while you are at work, and have it come back on an hour before you get home, so that the house has a chance to heat up. Don’t overheat the bedrooms, because this can affect your sleep. In any case, try to clearly designate when the heating will be on and off in each room.
- Ensure your home is well insulated (doors, windows, etc.). This will help stop the heat from escaping. Make sure to close your blinds for even more insulation.
- Plug out appliances you are not using (telephone chargers, etc.) and switch off devices that are on standby mode, which cost on average €86 per household per year. A television on standby for 20 hours uses the same amount of electricity as one that is switched on for 4 hours. The best approach is to use multi-socket adaptors with switches.
- Defrost your freezer as soon as the layer of ice becomes thicker than 3 mm, to save up to 30% on electricity consumption. Avoid putting the fridge/freezer near a heat source (such as a boiler) to prevent the fridge from consuming more electricity, as a result of having to work harder to counteract the heat.
2) Monitor what you spend on food
You should be eating to live, and not living to eat! Yes, you heard us, you can’t just head to the supermarket and start buying things at random!
- Look for promotions and deals. Certain shops do great offers on the third week of the month. Take advantage and buy your non-perishables while they are on offer.
- Don’t buy just for brands. Own brand produce offered by large supermarkets are often produced in the same factories as the big brand products. The branded products are often only more expensive because of packaging, publicity or just for pure marketing! Try out the cheaper products (especially with your food staples, such as milk, pasta, etc.).
- Never go shopping without a list (and make sure to stick strictly to it). Ideally plan your meals for the coming week, and prepare as many meals as you can at home, so as to avoid having to eat out.
- Never go shopping on an empty stomach, because passing through the ‘dangerous’ aisles is far too risky at such times!
- Set yourself a defined budget that you know you can’t go over. This will help you decide what the essentials really are.
3) Save money on transport
Getting from one place to another can be expensive, especially if you are not lucky enough to live close to your place of work.
- For saving money, the classic solutions are car sharing, public transport and cycling.
- Look after your car. You can do basic servicing tasks yourself or with the help of a friend who knows a little about cars, to avoid having to go to the mechanic for things you could have done yourself.
- Monitor the condition of your tyres to ensure they are well inflated. For example, tyres that are under-inflated by 0.5 of a bar consume 2.4% more fuel, coming to on average €33 per year, and emitting 58 kgs more of CO2. What’s more, it’s dangerous to drive on tyres that are too flat.
- Use less fuel by avoiding driving too fast or accelerating too brusquely. Also try to anticipate braking.
4) Finally, don’t forget to compare everything!
If you want to spend less, you need to identify the offers that suit your budget and your life. Consumers have choice over everything, and you can take advantage of the situation.
- Don’t hesitate to compare prices between different boutiques, supermarkets, petrol stations, etc.
- When comparing similar products, have a look at the price per kilo.
- It could be worth a look at what offers insurance companies are running for your car, home and health insurance. There are plenty of sites out there to help you compare premium costs between various insurance providers.