Budgeting for your IVA
Reduce your outgoings
When money is tight, the logical thing to do is to make cutbacks.
It might seem impossible to reduce a budget that has already been cut, but you’d be surprised how some of the smallest lifestyle changes can lead to rewarding savings.
We’ve put together this guide to give you an idea of how you may be able to shave a little bit more off your monthly outgoings…
Organise your finances
Getting to grips with exactly what you have coming in and going out each month is a great way to start organising your finances.
Put together a plan, so you can clearly see what income and expenditure you have.
It’s so easy to waste electricity, and many of us don’t even realise we’re doing it.
From leaving the fridge door open while we make a cup of tea, to leaving the landing light on when we go out – it’s the little things that all add up and can put extra pounds on our electricity bills.
How often do you leave the TV on standby instead of turning it off completely? And how often do you leave the light on in the living room while you go off to make dinner in the kitchen?
It’s probably more than you realise, and it is things like this that can add up and make a noticeable difference to your energy bills.
Just be a bit more vigilant with the light switch, and you’ll be surprised how much of a saving the littlest of changes can make.
Also, why not consider shopping around to see if you could save money by switching to another tariff, or a different electricity supplier altogether?
Save on your utility bills
Comparing energy suppliers is a great way to find the best deals.
Rather than having to call around all the available suppliers and get quotes from them all individually, online price comparison sites take away all the hassle – so you can get quick and easy results.
There are lots of online price comparison sites out there – try Energy Helpline, Compare The Market, Go Compare or USwitch.
Save on your broadband billsThe internet has become such an important part of our lives, but so many of us pay over the odds for broadband speeds that our households may not even be capable of getting!
There are two ways to save money on your internet:
– Firstly, do a speed test to check your internet speed. If it’s lower than what you are paying for, contact your broadband provider and try to arrange a better deal.
– Secondly, use an online broadband comparison site to find out all the different internet packages available. You could find yourself a more suitable broadband package that will save you money.
There are lost of comparison sites available that offer broadband comparisons – including Broadband Choices, Compare The Market, Go Compare and USwitch.
Save on your fuel costs
Petrol and diesel can be a major expense, and this can be a difficult area to reduce your expenditure on because the prices at the pump are always changing.
However the good news is that there is a way to reduce fuel costs – without having to park the car on the driveway and make all your journeys by foot!
Planning your journey in advance means you can use websites like petrolprices.com to find the cheapest petrol stations within your area and along the way.
Also, by planning your fuel stops carefully – and making sure you have a full tank – you can reduce the chances of having to stop at motorway service stations where it can cost a lot more to fill up.
Plan in advance, reduce your fuel costs, and use these savings towards paying your other bills.
Reduce your water usage
Water usage is an everyday necessity, but just like with electricity – and other utilities – most of us waste lots of water without even realising it.
There are a few simple steps you can take, that will not only shrink your water usage, but also reduce your water bill if you’re on a water meter.
Here a few handy water saving tips:
- Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth. This might not seem much – but if everyone in the house brushes their teeth for a couple of minutes, twice a day, it soon adds up!
- Shower rather than taking a bath. You don’t have to give up bathing completely but ask yourself if a full bathtub of water is really worth it for a quick 5 minute splash before work in the morning. Switching to showers could help you shave a bit off your water bill
- Fix your taps. If your taps are dripping, get someone to come and fix them. The sooner you sort this out, the less water you’ll be wasting
- Bottle some tap water and keep it in the fridge. Most cold taps won’t give you very cold water immediately, and you might have to leave the tap running for a while until it runs cold enough for a nice refreshing drink. Why not fill up several bottles with tap water in advance, and keep them in the fridge? Not only do you have refreshing cold water at hand straightaway, but you’ll be saving water too.
Renewing your car insurance
Money Supermarket report that auto-renewing car insurance – without shopping around – wastes Brits a massive £1.3 billion every year.
According to their research, 23% of drivers didn’t want the ‘hassle’ of searching for a new provider, so they simply renewed with their existing car insurance provider.
This can be costly, and you can often find much better deals simply by using a comparison website like Go Compare, Confused.com or Direct Line. It pays to do your research and any money saved on your car insurance can be put towards paying other bills.
Dining out, even just buying a basic lunch, can be a costly activity. Meal deals might seem like a convenient, cheap alternative – but a meal deal at £3.50 per day works out at £17.50 a week, or around £70 a month. So, over a year, this could set you back a massive £800 or more!
Making your own lunch could save you a substantial amount over a year. A loaf of bread costs anything from 30p to £1.20 depending on the brand, and a loaf could last for a weeks’ worth of lunches. And a packet of ham in a supermarket can cost as little as £1 for 5 slices.
But you don’t have to be this frugal, and you can still save money compared to buying pre-made lunches. Even if you choose more exotic (and slightly more pricey) alternative fillings for your home-made sandwiches, it’ll nearly always work out cheaper than relying on a trip to the local sandwich bar.
Buy multipacks of crisps and chocolate bars (or even healthier cereal bars or fruit) in bulk at the supermarket, and you’ll be saving all the way.
Why not work out how much you currently spend each week on lunch, drinks and snacks at work? When you’ve recovered from the shock, start preparing tasty pack-ups at home, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can shave your weekly spend.
There are lots of little things you can do to save a bit of money each month. Whilst turning off the tap while brushing your teeth – or buying a pack of chocolate bars in advance – may not seem like a big deal, costs do accumulate and you could be pleasantly surprised at the savings you can make.
If, after following these hints, you’re still struggling to pay your bills – and no amount of cutbacks are working for you – don’t hesitate to get in touch with our debt advisers. They have a lot of experience helping people in similar situations to yours, and their advice is completely FREE.
Call us FREE on 0800 280 2816, or complete and submit a callback request.