I don’t mind admitting that my family’s finances have taken a bit of a beating in recent times. As well as my salary hovering around 2002 levels and the price of everything constantly increasing, we have also been hit hard by some unexpected expenses.
First of all there were the repairs to our old car to deal with. Mechanic’s bills never make for pleasant reading but this time I almost had to ask them to pass me the smelling salts when I saw how much a few simple looking repairs were going to cost.
Even the Fridge is Playing Up
Add in a run of birthday parties, a dog that needs an operation and a dodgy fridge and it is clear that times are tougher than they have been for a while. Last week I even had to suffer the indignity of putting some chocolate biscuits back on the supermarket shelf, as my credit card limit has been reached.
It is at times like this that you simply have to grit your teeth and ride out the tough times. Or do you? Perhaps there is something I could do to make this year a bit easier for me and to avoid future embarrassments at the checkout.
Sometimes it takes a situation like this for us to see how simple it could be to sort out our finances once and for all. When I started investigating ways to cut down on our energy spending, for example, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get started.
First Things First
The first thing I had to do was draught proof my windows and doors. Maybe this is a stunningly obvious step for most people but I had simply never even considered it. A couple of our windows let in a lot of cold air and I was amazed at the difference some draught excluders made to the place. This meant that I could spend less on heating the house. It might seem like a relatively minor point but I read that if every house in the country did this we could all save something like £200 million in heating costs. My percentage of that total might be modest but it has got to be worth saving the money all the same.
I then read about energy monitors. I’ll be honest and say that I had never heard of these devices before. It seems that they work by letting you see how much energy you are using at home. This means that you can take some steps to cut down on it. It is an idea which makes sense to me as I am often surprised to see the size of the electricity bills which come in.
My wife then suggested that we install solar panels. This is probably too expensive for us to do right now but it is definitely something I would like to do in the future. Can you imagine never again receiving an electricity bill? Life would be a lot easier if we could watch the telly, use the microwave and switch on the shower without worrying about the cost of it.
I have a feeling that these changes might be the start of a lifestyle change for my family. I don’t want to become obsessed with supermarket coupons or free competitions in newspapers but I would like us to spend our income in a more sensible and sustainable way. If we can do that then the benefits should be there for us all to see. We might even get away on a family holiday with some of the savings we make.
For tips which save your family money on your bills it is worth taking a look at the www.BuyaBility.co.uk site whenever you can.