4 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Monthly Expenses

With the cost of day to day living ever increasing, it can be hard to finance every little thing. With that in mind, here are some simple tips and tricks for you to cut back on your monthly expenses and potentially saving yourself a fortune, keeping your money where you want it (the back pocket!)

The Phone Bill

Whilst we see our mobile phones as a necessity, the monthly bill can decrease dramatically, depending on what model of phone you have and the network provider you’re with. Although it may seem tempting to purchase the latest smartphone, there is a vast range of products available that have everything you need (unlimited data, unlimited calls, etc.) at a much lower cost. However, if you must get the latest phone, make sure to shop around before you purchase, as providers can offer various deals, which could help you out in the long run.

Gas & Electricity

You can cut down on your energy bills significantly by just having a look online to see whether you have the best deal. Simply changing providers can give you a little more cash each month. However, if you have the best deal and still want to lower your outgoings, turning down your thermostat could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. If you don’t already have one, installing a thermostat could save you up to $70 a year. If you are still struggling with the cheapest bill you can find, perhaps look at using a budget calculator to calculate what you may be spending unnecessary money on.

Supermarket Saving

Depending on where you do your grocery shop, the cost can vary significantly. Many believe that if a product costs more, the quality must be better, however, this is not the case. Supermarkets use phrases and language to hypnotize and entice shoppers into buying their products. Food is typically categorized into premium (words like ‘extra special’), branded (products such as Kellogg’s, Reese’s), own brand (the supermarkets’ own version) and value (with names like ‘basic’, indicating it is a low-cost item). The next time you visit a supermarket, try switching to some branded products for a cheaper alternative. You may not even notice much of a difference, but you’ll definitely notice the difference in cost. There are many other tips to help you spend less when food shopping.

The Work Commute

Lastly, if you have access to public transport, you could end up saving quite a lot of money as opposed to using your car. For example, if you were to factor in the cost of petrol, parking, and general maintenance, it may just be easier to take the bus or train to work. Also, if you live within a reasonable distance, you could save money by doing the commute on foot. That way, not only are you spending no money at all but you’re also getting a little bit of exercise.

Many little changes can make a big difference to your monthly budget, try a few next month and see how the cents add up in no time.


A Guide To Secure Vault Storage

If you are looking for a safe place to leave your family heirlooms, look no further than a professional security company who has a range of safety deposit boxes and vaults that can be rented. You obviously can’t put everything under the floorboards at home, and with valuable documents like land title deeds and insurance policies, there is always a risk of fire, and vault storage premises are the least likely of places where a fire might break out. If you have already come to this conclusion and are about to start searching for a suitable security company, here are some important things to look for.

Tim Evans

  • Dual Lock Protocol – In the opinion of the security experts, a dual locking system is the safest way to ensure that the box can never be opened, unless by the key holder. The other key is kept by the security company, and both keys must be inserted simultaneously, in order for the box to be opened. Should the very worst happen and you lose that key, the only way to gain access is to have a locksmith drill the lock, and you would have to foot the bill, obviously.
  • State of the Art Security – The security company’s premises should have a number of totally separate security systems that Fort Know would be proud of, with at least 3 layers, and manned, round the clock security patrolling the perimeters, making entry almost impossible. There is, for example, securely housed private vault storage in Sydney that is not only very secure, it is also affordable, and the wide scope of box and vault sizes means you can find the perfect solution.
  • Solid Reputation – Any security company that has been around a few years would obviously have an excellent reputation, and with accreditations to back that up, you can be sure of the very best level of protection that is out there. If you would like to know about the benefits of a good business reputation, refer to several articles published online.
  • Private Secure Parking – One doesn’t want to announce to the world that one has business in such a place, so look for a company that offers covered parking, which is also convenient when the weather is bad.
  • Insurance Options – While the security company would include some basic insurance, anything worth more than $10,000 should have some additional cover, and the provider should be able to arrange this on your behalf. While there is little chance your possessions would ever be mislaid or destroyed, it really isn’t worth taking a chance, especially with the high value concerned.
  • Open Outside Office Hours – You might require frequent access, and find it hard to leave the office, so look for a company that offers something outside of regular business hours, perhaps with a Saturday morning slot.
  • Affordable Rates – Even a state of the art security facility can be affordable, and with many commercial and private clients, the company would stay well within the acceptable market rates. Annual fees might start from a low as $100, and with large vaults available, there is something for everyone, and when you think of the peace of mind you will have, knowing the family heirlooms are safely tucked away under locks and keys.

Take note of the points we’ve discussed if you’re looking for secure vault storage near you.

Making the Most of Unexpected Windfalls

We’ve been saving for our first home’s deposit for a while now, and whether we use the personal loan we secured while we wait for my savings to pick up, or for the inheritance to come in, or by the time we are able to get a suitable property we can cover it on our own again, we’re finally ready to make the deposit and realise our dream.

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, but it’s so worth it to build our family home together and create something really solid for the children. While we’ve put away a little from each pay packet and I’ve added varying amounts to the pot depending on what my month was like, Steve’s inheritance is also a major help, and we’ll use it to fund the deposit if my savings haven’t picked up.

If you get a windfall like this, I encourage you to also put it towards something worthwhile. You might not be looking to buy a home, but there are always good investments to be made when a large chunk of money that you weren’t expecting fortuitously lands in your lap. It could even be winning the lottery, and after you’ve dealt with the logistics of that actually happening, you’ll need to make decisions about what to do with your windfall.

Settle Your Debts and Decide Your Priorities First

Of course, the first thing to do is pay off any debts that you have. After that, there are some good tax planning decisions and investment options that can help you make the most of your money. The biggest things to look at when you’re deciding what to do is how long you have to leave your money untouched, and how much you’re investing in the first place. I’ve given you some ideas here, but anything higher (lucky you!) and you should consider consulting a professional financial advisor.

Christine Roy

Investing Windfalls

With smaller, but still sizable, sums of money the best thing to do is take medium-risks over a period of at least 10 years. In my research, the best experts I found suggested a portfolio with 40% in UK stocks and 20% and 15% in US and Europe stocks respectively. For emerging markets like Asia and Japan, invest 5% in stocks but before you do this, make sure you’ve put 10% of your windfall into absolute return funds. These are funds run by experts, who use different strategies to ensure profitable returns.

In terms of tax planning, if you can afford to leave your money alone until you’re at least 55 you should think about putting it into a pension fund that you get a 20% basic taxpayer relief and 40% higher tax payer relief, and are now allowed to spend on anything you’d like. You can also make use of your and your partner’s $15,240 ISA allowance. A low-cost FTSE Tracking Account is a good idea for £5,000, since they can average 5% growth per year after inflation.

I am excited to be prepared and know what I would do with a sudden financial blessing. What would you do?

In Collaboration

I’m Always Looking For A Good Bargain

If there is anything you should know about me it is that I love a good bargain. Whether that be by taking advantage of deals online or visiting charity shops and picking up as new pieces for pence, I can always be found looking for some sort of good deal.

As it comes up to Christmas, I am looking for bargains even more. We have just had Jack’s birthday, we’ve got Christmas in just over two weeks and then Olivia’s birthday is in early January. It can get very expensive so anything that helps keep the costs down is fine by me.

But there’s also another side to this – there is always some fantastic sales in the last few months of the year and the early months of the next – Black Friday sales, Boxing Day sales, January sales. In these, there is always such a wide variety of items that can be bought for a much lower price than normal.

Jonathan Brinkhorst

I’ve been utilising the LatestDeals website recently to help me to find bargains most suited to my needs. I’ve mentioned that we have been looking at new houses recently and are planning on moving. We’ve also got a number of appliances that could do with a refresh – we’ve had our washing machine, fridge and microwave for donkeys years now so to find some cheap microwaves would be very handy. Mine has started making a weird sound when microwaving stuff so I don’t think it is too long before it gives up the ghost. I’ve found a few models that I’m considering but ultimately it all depends on what property we end up moving to and kitchen space – after all, microwaves aren’t one size fits all!

I’ve also managed to pick some great deals on toys for Jack’s birthday and Christmas presents – he is very much into certain things at the moment like Paw Patrol, Scooby Doo and Ghostbusters but those toys and other paraphernalia don’t come cheap. However I have managed to get some fantastic deals on some of the items which has freed up my budget a little to buy some more stuff for stocking fillers.

I’ve also picked up some items for Olivia – although she is obviously not getting too much for Christmas or her birthday as she is only tiny and it is not like she will remember it! She has a walker, some books and some extra little bits but nothing too big.

Have you found any decent bargains recently? Did you pick up anything from the Black Friday sales and will you be logging on this Boxing Day to grab some good bargains?




Life: An Update

Life has been a little strange recently. Work has picked up massively but it seems like just as soon as we are getting somewhere, something comes to bring us down again. I’ve had a few end of year bills come in and have paid them with the excess money I have been earning – however this means I haven’t been saving as much as I would usually do.

We finally found two properties in our area that suited our needs. I’ve mentioned before that the rental we are in right now is a little too small for our needs and we need to move but stay within this area due to Jack’s schooling.One property is perfect, the other almost perfect – but we encountered a problem. With my savings almost depleted, Steve’s inheritance still pending and our deposit in this place tied up until we move out, we couldn’t work out just how to get the deposit for one of these other places.

We finally hit on an idea and searched for online personal loans to see if we could find one that would help in this situation. The plan is to pay it back as soon as the inheritance comes through or my savings start rising again. We finally found one and now we are just waiting on hearing about the properties, to see if we can move out after all. Unfortunately we were in a Catch 22 situation – if we didn’t raise the funds, then we definitely wouldn’t have been able to afford the deposit. If we don’t get the property, we now have funds for no reason. But decisions have to be made and that’s what we decided. Hopefully it works in our favour!

pina messina

If we don’t actually move out just yet, we will keep it in savings until it is required – finding a property that suits our needs in this area isn’t that easy due to really high property prices, both to rent and buy. Of course, if the money comes in to pay off the loan before we need it for anything, then of course we will pay it off.

That’s not the only thing that has been going on recently. Steve’s searching for a part time job to go alongside his studies, work (as I mentioned before) seems to have perked up quite dramatically the past few weeks and life is very busy. However I sometimes find the life working from home a little lonely at times so with the prospect of a few new businesses in the village in the New Year, I might take on a few hours at one of those, just to get out of the house and have some time to myself. Sounds silly but I know plenty of mums who do actually go out to work, not for the money but the time to themselves!

Jack has just turned six and Olivia is about to turn one. With so much in the pipeline for 2018, I had better get preparing. Life has been a little bizarre recently – taking turns I am just not used to – but hopefully these twists and turns will all work out for the best. Fingers crossed we manage to get one of these properties – I’ll let you know.

What has been going on in your life lately?

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