Best proven ways to improve your cost of living
Thanks to several factors, the cost of living has increased a lot globally and in the UK in 2022. A lot of people have started researching the best-proven ways to improve their cost of living.
The cost of living represents money that is required to pay for basic living costs in a location and time, such as housing, food, taxes, and health care.
A recent health and wellbeing survey showed that 1 in 5 people struggle to adapt to the rising cost of living.
This is why we have decided to do our own research and suggest some tips to help you improve your cost of living. These strategies will help you cut costs at home and even save –money.
Even if you are not struggling with the demands of the increased cost of living, you can still read this article.
Track or Pay attention to how you spend
One of the first steps to having a better cost of living is to track your expenses. When you do this, you know where you are leaking money and where to plug it.
Without tracking your income and expenses, you can’t effectively create a budget.
Keeping track of your expenses will help you understand your financial situation i.e. how you spend money, save money and your income.
To track your income, you must be as detailed as possible when tracking your incoming and outgoing.
To do this, you can make use of several budgeting tools or online budget planners.
Once you understand your spending habits, you can then know which of your spending is essential and non-essential.
What you decide to remove might be a streaming service that you don’t really use or a gym membership. It can be anything you deem non-essential and can be cheaply replaced or ignored entirely.
Bargain where necessary
Bargaining helps you get value for money most time. Most people, especially the middle and lower-income earners look for the best deal possible on everyday products and services.
Switching to a less expensive service or product is one way to bargain. Looking for promo deals is another.
Moneysavingexpert has a guide on how to negotiate for the best deals.
Lower-income families can also look for income-based savings programs.
Create a budget system:
Once you have a better knowledge of your income and expenses, you can then create a budget system. It is the second step to improving your finances.
To create an effective budget, write your short, medium and long-term goals. This gives you room to make your money work better for you.
An example of your short-term goal might be paying off your debt. A medium-term goal may be saving for a course. A long-term goal may be going on holiday, saving up for your child’s education or applying for a mortgage.
You can be as flexible as you want with your budget.
Having budget systems ensure you have a strict plan to follow. It is very easy to deviate from a plan but your budget should help put you in check.
Shop for groceries
Eating out can greatly have an impact on your cost of living as it is more expensive than eating in. this is why shopping for groceries is one step to improving your cost of living.
A simple hack to shop well for less is to create a meal plan and shopping list. With this list, your shopping for any given period is streamlined and will reduce spending.
You can also choose to alternate between cheaper and generic brands instead of your favourites.
You can also look for supermarkets offering deals on products that you need whether through coupons or in-store discounts.
Energy prices are at a record high in 2022. This increment has greatly affected the prices of petrol, diesel and gas.
This is why it is now important to be strategic with your refills.
Do you still need to take your personal car around or are you better off taking public transport? You need to ask yourself these questions and do your appropriate calculation.
You can also use online platforms that compare diesel and petrol prices in your area to find the best deal around.
You really don’t need to go everywhere with your car or switch on your air conditioner all the time.
You also don’t have to cook individual meals at home. The advantage of having a meal plan is that you can cook in bulk and refrigerate appropriately.
Appliances using Energy
Energy prices are also ridiculously high at the moment. This is why it is important to invest in power-saving appliances when you can.
For the appliances already in your house, you can limit how much you use them. Dryers and refrigerators are high energy-consuming. You can find energy-saving alternatives and put yours up for sale.
You have to use a tumble dryer when you can your clothes outside.
Looking for appliances with a high energy efficiency rating will save you a lot of money.
Save Fuel For Cars
As mentioned earlier, fuel prices have skyrocketed. For this reason, you must follow some fuel-saving practices.
If you are not a fan of public transport, you do not need to abandon your car entirely.
Firstly, you must define where you have to go with the car. Secondly, you should avoid excessive speeding, especially accelerating aggressively from a standstill. These guzzles fuel a lot.
Also, you can put your car in the “eco” setting if it has. With the settings, your car’s speed is automatically reduced.
You should also, take your car for a thorough health check to ensure essential fuel consumption parts like the fuel pump and nozzle works perfectly.
Practice Financial Diet
Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies you must fight to improve your standard of living. You must be intentional about this.
This is why you must set a financial diet goal for yourself. Just like you set a goal for a nutritional diet.
You can give yourself a target of reducing your expenses by 300 pounds in the next quarter.
A financial diet gives you room to manoeuvre your expenses and plan your fat trimming accordingly. It is quite easy to overwhelm yourself while trying to cut costs.
It helps you make good, clear and intentional financial decisions over time.
Rent a cheaper apartment
Rent or mortgage has a way of adding up. In fact, for most individuals or families, it is their largest monthly expense.
Ideally, your rent or mortgage shouldn’t take up more than 25%-30% of your income. You should consider finding a new space if this is not ye case.
We know moving to a new home isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But if it means it’ll greatly improve your household’s cost of living, then you should consider it.
Also, this tip is great for prospective new home earners and first-time home buyers.
A couple of hundred pounds that you save monthly on these fees will translate to thousands every year. Think about it.
You can find out more on how you can save for a house on a low income.
Avoid being in debt:
Debt has a way of piling up. You may think debt is small or you’d look to borrow from elsewhere to cover the existing debt. But debt is best paid quickly and on time.
Paying off your debts early gives you the chance to focus your finances on other things. It offers a great financial cushion.
The truth is if you can do without getting into debt, you should let it stay that way.
Try boosting your income:
One of the easiest ways to improve your cost of living is to earn more than you spend.
How then do you increase your income?
You can try working for and asking for a raise at work. However, you should have in mind that this can go either way.
Another strategy is to find and master a side hustle. Side hustles are the best way to improve your income as it has a lot of growth potential. Several people’s side hustle has become their main source of income today.
There are several side hustle business ideas out there you can consider.
One of the best things you can do to reach your financial goals as quickly as possible is to lower your cost of living.
Have you ever taken the time to add up how much you spend on necessities such as food, utilities, and housing costs each month? It sometimes adds up to a lot.
But, while these areas of personal finance can be expensive, reducing your spending is often the most difficult. With these tips, you can improve your cost of living in no time.
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