Are you looking to drastically cut household expenses? Being self-employed my wife Helen and I keep our household expenses to a minimum.
This helps us to continue to pursue our passion and remain debt-free. There's no doubt that household expenses can easily increase month on month without you even realising.
However, I genuinely believe that cutting household expenses can be more powerful than earning extra money.
Sure, having both is great, but when you earn extra money you're likely to simply upgrade your lifestyle to fit within your means once again, resulting in you working harder for nothing.
Here are some simple ways you can drastically cut your household expenses, with little to no compromise.
- Start Wombling
- Reduce Your Food Waste
- Meal Plan
- Buy Cheap Food
- Buy-In Bulk
- Enter Competitions
- Budget Your Money
- Get The Free Samples You're Entitled To
- Wash & Clean At ‘Cheaper' Times Of The Day
- Consider A PPC (NHS Prepayment Certificate)
- Cash In Your Loyalty Points
- Get Cashback Where Ever You Can
- Look For Discounts Online
- Install A Programmable Thermostat
- Adjust The Cycle & Water Temperature Of Your Washing Machine
Since Asda removed the Price Guarantee back in 2018, wombling hasn't been quite the same. After all, I used to spend nothing on groceries, clothing, cleaning products and home goods, and instead got it all from Asda for free thanks to the incredible offer they had. No wonder they ended up shutting it down.
However, wombling is still a great way to get loyalty points for a wide range of programes that you can easily turn into free food, drinks, household goods etc.
It allows you to spend time outdoors and removes rubbish from our streets. I simply can't ever see Wombling as a being a bad thing.
Reduce Your Food Waste
There are two simple and easy ways to reduce the amount of food you're wasting that in result will mean you're buying less food, and therefore spending less.
The first is reducing your food waste by using products and materials to enhance the items you have.
I have an entire post on this, discussing the benefits of each individual items so you can find items that are right for your needs.
The second way you can significantly reduce your food waste is by meal planning.
It doesn't have to be as complex or as difficult as it sounds and can be a great way for you to feed your family healthy meals, plan things accordingly to avoid resorting to takeaways as a last-minute fix.
There are some incredible frugal cookbooks you can use as inspiration too to create fun new meals that are affordable, healthy and tasty.
Buy Cheap Food
One of the easiest ways to drastically cut household expenses is with your food bill, above I've discussed how planning, preparation and products can help you expand the life of the items you buy.
However, you'll still need to buy food so there are two things I recommend in this area that can save you money. The first, is buying cheaper food.
Consider downgrading a brand (from branded to store luxury or store basics if you're feeling extra drastic), consider shopping elsewhere (i.e. we LOVE Aldi and find it to be around 30% cheaper than Asda / Walmart).
I have a whole host of cheap foods you can buy to enable you to still buy great foods on a small budget.
The flip side of buying cheap food is investing in bulk. You should always be tracking the cost per item, per 100g, 100ml (whatever the measurement) to ensure you're getting the best value for money.
However, in most cases, you'll find that buying larger quantities actually costs less per unit.
In which case, we'll buy in bulk. Now, this won't work for everything, some items you don't use enough of for the investment to be worth it, stick to the essentials that you use often. Ideas include;
- Toilet Roll
- Body Wash
- Sanitary Products
Other items won't be suitable to be bought in bulk due to the use by date. For example, buying large quantities of milk for just the two of us is a completely false economy as we know a lot of it is going to go to waste, and we'll be unable to store it long term i.e. freeze it.
Finally, something us British tend to struggle with more than our friends over in the States is storage. We have much smaller kitchens in british homes compared to American homes so finding the space to store and organise bulk products can be hard.
Again, solving this issue comes back to the first point in this section which is only investing in bulk for the most heavily used items in your home.
Consider trying to win items you'd otherwise be buying to drastically cut your household expenses. I won £11,000 worth of competition prizes in one year and was able to repurpose a lot of those into gifts for friends and family.
That completely removed the gifts category from our budget for one whole year saving us around £240 – not to mention all the cool other stuff we got from the £11,000 worth of prizes including a holiday, luxury watch and wonderful meals out…
Again, if you've got a ‘date night' budget field, then learning how to enter and win competitions could easily replace that budgeting amount too.
Budget Your Money
Be sure that you're tracking/budgeting your money to ensure you know exactly where each penny is being spent.
You can't drastically cut your household expenses if you don't know where you're actually spending your money.
Personally, we use YNAB to track our money right now, however, there are loads of different applications and ideas to suit your needs.
Get The Free Samples You're Entitled To
You can get all different kinds of free samples, some of which you have to be eligible for i.e. pregnant, others are available for anyone – in some cases, you might have to provide feedback on the product to the brand.
Items that are free that aren't suitable for us. (i.e. baby food – we don't have a baby) I simply leave in the food bank contribution bins on the way out of the store.
Wash & Clean At ‘Cheaper' Times Of The Day
If you are on an electric tariff that offers reduced rates at different times of the day (often referred to as peak and off-peak consumption) then consider completing your daily chores during those hours.
The savings between peak and off-peak hours can be as much as 50% so this automatically cuts the cost of running appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine in half.
Some appliances have a delay start timer, so you can set the appliance to run at a specific time. For other appliances, you can purchase an affordable smart plug and set the time in which the appliance can recieve power from the plug socket.
Consider A PPC (NHS Prepayment Certificate)
I have more than 2 prescriptions on a monthly repeat so this instantly saves me upwards of £8 a month, before any additional prescriptions I have to file for any short-term issues.
Cash In Your Loyalty Points
Once you've finished wombling, consider using the loyalty points you've amassed on the things you'd have otherwise been spending your hard-earned cash on.
I often spend Tesco Clubcard points on meals out etc. as you get three times the return compared to spending it in Tesco itself. An often look at the value of Nectar points to determine what's best to spend my points on at the time.
Get Cashback Where Ever You Can
That way you'll be getting money back for a purchase that you'd have been making otherwise.
Look For Discounts Online
Another great way to cut the household expenses is to always look for discounts and special deals before you buy something online. Internet is full of different voucher code and discount websites.
Tripplo.com is a great example. This site lists deals and discount codes from different online stores.
There are times that no matter how we plan for things we still need a personal loan, especially if we are unable to cover unexpected expenses. If this happens make sure the loan provider is a reliable moneylender and legit to avoid having a headache.
Install A Programmable Thermostat
While this is a small investment (although some energy companies have now been giving programmable thermostats out for free on certain tariffs) a programmable thermostat can save you a significant amount of cash.
Programmable thermostats have locks, that prevent the teenagers (or your other half) from adjusting the temperature to a higher setting.
They learn from experience and adjust the heating accordingly, and can even be programmed to help you save money with modes such as Eco Mode.
They allow you to set specific routines and can again use the historical data of your usage to help you find the right routine for you.
We found that by installing a smart thermostat we were able to save around 30% on our heating bills without even noticing!
Adjust The Cycle & Water Temperature Of Your Washing Machine
Aside from changing your laundry detergent to a store brand, you can also drastically cut your household expenses with your washing machine by adjusting the cycle you run the machine on and the temperature of the water in which you wash your clothes.
Washing machines manufactured in the UK since 2013 have been required to have the 20-degree washing cycle option visible on the control panel.
Using this colder wash isn't suitable for all clothing items, those heavily stained or particularly smelly are going to require a warmer 30 degree or 40-degree wash.
However, lightly worn, delicate items can benefit from being washed on the 20-degree cotton programme and don't require specialist laundry powder.
Adjusting the temperature in which your washing machine runs on will cut down the running costs of the machine by around 60% as it will use a lot less energy to heat the water to a lower temperature.
Washing clothes on a shorter cycle or a ‘quick wash' where applicable will again cut the running costs of your washing machine down by around 50%.
You can even look at soaking the more heavily used items in advance so that a ‘heavier wash' isn't required.