The cost-of-living crisis has become a pressing issue for many individuals and families. Rising expenses, increased mortgage costs, and economic uncertainties have put a strain on personal finances.
I stumbled across an article that explains some essential foods have risen to 65% over the last year. I was amazed to learn that chips were being reported to have risen by 38.7%!
Here are 5 tips to help manage the effects of the increased cost of living.
The first step towards managing your expenses is creating a comprehensive budget. List all your monthly income sources and categorise your expenditures into essential and non-essential items. This will provide a clear overview of your financial situation and help you identify areas where you can cut back. Remember to allocate a portion of your income for savings to build a safety net for future emergencies.
Needs Over Wants
In times of financial difficulty, it’s crucial to differentiate between needs and wants. Assess your spending habits and identify areas where you can make adjustments. Cut back on unnecessary expenses such as dining out, entertainment subscriptions, or impulse purchases. Prioritise essential items like food, housing, utilities, and healthcare. By focusing on your needs, you can save a significant amount of money and alleviate financial stress.
One of the largest areas of expenditure is food shopping. Reduce your grocery bills by planning meals in advance, creating shopping lists, and avoiding impulse purchases. Compare prices, take advantage of discounts and promotions, and consider buying in bulk for non-perishable items. Additionally, try opting for store brands rather than expensive name brands, as they often offer similar quality at a lower cost. Martin Lewis has a great ‘Crouching Down’ trick whilst food shopping which almost works every time I have remembered to use it.
Reduce Utility Costs
High utility bills can quickly eat into your budget. As we move towards a more sustainable green world then it might be good to follow some of these tips anyway. Make small changes like turning off lights when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and adjusting your thermostat. Unplug electronic devices that are not in use to prevent phantom energy usage (BOO!). Consider insulating your home to reduce heating expenses. Simple adjustments can go a long way in cutting down on the cost of bills.
When I first joined Equanimity, I would have to explain what I meant when I told colleagues I had brought a ‘pack up’ to the office. So, for my southern readers, please see below.
Definition: Pack up; a light meal that is put in a bag or container and taken with you to be eaten later, for example at school or work.
The average lunch costs a worker £4.20 per day. I assume this is likely to be more in London. The Times released an article last week that discusses the increase in people in the city bringing in their own packed lunches. This number had increased by 27% in the city and The Times estimate that 108 million lunches were brought into the workplace over the last 12 months which is a staggering figure. I proudly announce that I have managed to bring a pack up into work each day, and there is usually a greatly received chorus of imitations of the phrase in my accent when I do so.
The cost-of-living crisis has undoubtedly placed financial strain on individuals and families. However, by implementing these five practical tips, you can reduce your spending and alleviate some of the burdens. Budgeting, prioritising needs over wants, shopping smart, reducing utility costs, and taking a pack up(!) are effective strategies to navigate through these challenging times. By making conscious choices and adopting frugal habits, you can take control of your finances.