Easter Monday is the perfect time to have a look at your finances, no matter how big or small your household is, to make sure you are heading into the last fortnight of the month having made as many savings as possible.
Traditionally, most financial services are closed on a bank holiday which means you can take some time out to review your outgoings, direct debits and upcoming bill payments to streamline your spending ahead of summer.
New research shows that some 83 per cent of households across the UK said their current cost of living has already increased since last month.
Tips to spring clean your finances
To help everyone try and save just a little bit more cash, experts at GoodMove have put together some ways you may be able to reduce your household bills.
Nima Ghasri, Director at GoodMove, explains: “We all know how quickly household bills can add up, and with costs increasing, it can be difficult for people to get a hand on their finances. Luckily, there are multiple ways in which you can reduce your household bills.”
Saving on your energy bills
The big one, that has probably been at the top of everyone’s Google search since Ofgem announced the 54 per cent price cap hike in February.
However, without stating the obvious, GoodMove says a simple way to save is to always switch off appliances at the plug and use energy-saving lightbulbs.
They said turning all your electrical appliances off rather than leaving them on standby can save you around £35 a year.
Another tip is to wash your clothes at a lower setting as this reduces the temperature, which in turn reduces your energy consumption.
GoodMove said: “We’d also recommend reducing the number of washing machine cycles you do, so always wait until you have a full load before switching on your machine.
“Don’t tumble dry as much either – hang your washing outside or on a clothes horse inside to cut down those costs.”
Saving on your broadband
While having fast Wi-Fi is massively important to many people, especially those working from home, or hybrid working, there are ways you can try to save some money.
Do you really need the deluxe package, or the fastest speed intended for a family of five? If not, reduce your package – if you can.
If you’re struggling with the recent increase to broadband bills, contact your provider and tell them, and ask what they can do to help.
Remind them as a loyal customer, you don’t want to have to go somewhere else, especially if you’re nearing the end of your current contract.
Always check their website first to see what deals are being offered to new customers, that way you can mention it and possibly haggle your way to a better deal.
If you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for BT or Virgin Media’s £15 fibre broadband packages – find out more here.
Saving on your water bills
Water charges are included in your Council Tax bill, but there are a few ways to reduce your consumption.
Basic steps you can take include spending less time in the shower, turning off the taps when shaving and brushing your teeth, and limiting how often you flush the toilet.
Other ways include only using the washing machine when fully loaded and using a washing up bowl to avoid running water when doing the dishes.
Saving on your shopping bills
Food and drink account for a large amount of household bills, so being able to cut costs can make a real difference.
Try to get a weekly meal plan sorted to avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket as well as spreading ingredients over numerous meals and preparing portions in bulk which also helps to reduce waste.
If you work away from home, try and take in your lunch too to stop buying meal deals when you’re at work.
Another way to save is start making your own staples such as breads, rolls and sweet treats.
All three of these products require simple ingredients, including:
There are literally millions of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube to walk you through making everything from a sandwich loaf to morning rolls, pizza, to scones.
And you don’t need a fancy food processor or stand mixer to tackle most of them, just a mixing bowl.
The latest craze is cooking regular foods in an air fryer, as some people claim it’s cheaper than using their oven.
Give it a go, and you might realise the £1 you’re spending on a loaf or pack of rolls can go a lot further if you make it yourself.
Saving on other bills
There are other bills to consider as well, and other ways to help reduce household costs. For example, if you’re on a low income you may be eligible for Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and more.
The quickest and easiest way to check for any unclaimed financial support is to use a benefits calculator.
These are free, independent and anonymous but they could indicate whether you are eligible to make a claim within minutes – find out more here.
A good way of keeping on top of your bills is to assign budgets.
Allocate yourself a set amount of money each month to spend on food, bills, rent/mortgage, social expenses and unexpected expenses. This will help you feel organised with your money and keep on top of what you’re spending month to month.
To keep up to date with the cost of living crisis, join our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group here, follow Record Money on Twitter here, or subscribe to our twice weekly newsletter here.