How To Save Money on Big Expenses
When people start trying to save money out of their daily budget, they often talk about couponing, or cutting down on buying cigarettes or alcohol. This is great, but it will only help you save so much. Couponing may get you £0.50 off toothpaste, and not buying that bottle of wine will save you £7, but big savings are in big items.
Save money on housing
Housing expenses are the biggest expenses in most households’ budgets. Saving money on housing can take several shapes:
Refinancing your mortgage. Getting a lower interest rate for your mortgage can save you thousands of pounds over the course of the loan. Shop around for better rates if you are out of the minimum period with your current lender.
Negotiating your rent. Landlords know good tenants are golden. If your rental agreement is up for renewal and you have taken good care of the property and paid on time, you could ask for the rent to be frozen, or even lowered. Research similar properties with cheaper rent to make your claim, and explain that times are tight but you would love to be able to stay. You could even barter your rent for maintenance or gardening jobs.
Moving to smaller quarters. This is a tough one because you got used to having an extra room, or a basement, but if you are really serious about saving money, it may be a smart move. It can mean finding tenants for your big house and moving into a flat while your family grows, or less conventional arrangements like taking in lodgers or roommates.
Negotiating your bills. We’ve covered this previously – you can always negotiate your utility bills, and if you are unhappy with your building’s maintenance fees, you can take a look and group with other homeowners to take over the administration.
Save money on cars and transportation
Again, if you are serious about saving money, some drastic changes can be made in that category to help you build your savings.
Get rid of one car. If you are a two car household calculate how much your second car is costing you in extra insurance, maintenance, repairs, petrol and parking fees, and how much you use it. What would be the alternative for the partner without a car? Can you commute instead?
Have no car. Even more extreme, some families make do without a car. If you live in the town centre and can walk your kids to school, maybe you would be fine just renting a car one weekend per month to go to the supermarket and for the holidays? Estimating the savings can be a great motivator before taking such a big step.
Cycle, walk and commute. Even if you keep your car, walking or cycling to work once or twice a week can save you a lot of money. Taking the train allows you to relax, eat, sleep, read, catch up on studies… all the things you can’t do when you drive.
Save money on holidays
Now that you are in saving money mode, you may think I am trying to take all the fun out of life and telling you not to go on holidays. On the contrary, I love travel, but you can do it on the cheap too.
Have a local holiday. If you want to leave home, why not visit a nearby natural park and camp there? Flights and transportation costs make up a huge chunk of the holiday budget so by staying nearby you almost guaranteed yourself an affordable holiday.
Buy a railcard. There are discount railcards for young persons, families and seniors that can save you a lot on train transport.
Book early. By booking your flights, train and bus tickets at least three months in advance (preferably up to 9 months for flights) you will get the very best fares. You can subscribe to the company’s newsletter to receive an email when the summer tickets are out, or just make a reminder in your calendar.
Save on hotels. Most hotel chains also have a newsletter with promotions such as £19 or £29 nights. If you are too late for those look into vacation rentals by the week, so you can cook at your rental place and save on meals out.