Taking control of your spending whilst carrying our your weekly or even monthly food shop can be daunting task for many. Endless offers for the latest product, multi purchase discount and clearance items for next to nothing prices are just some of the causes for filling your shopping trolley with items that rack up your final bill.
Here’s a quick but effective list of ways you can make sure you leave the shop with things you actually went in for and nothing more – courtesy of the Healthy Hideout:
- Choose a basket – Although you may not enjoy using them as they require a lot more effort, go for a basket instead of a shallow trolley. With less space, you’ll be heading to the checkouts when your baskets full rather than trying to fill your trolley with extras you simply don’t need.
- Make a shopping list – It’s almost a given to make a list before you go shopping, but many of us still choose not to make one. Make yourself a list of the items you need and stick to it. There’s a reason why the milk and bread are often far apart or on the other side of the store at your local supermarket – You’ll have to pass many different aisles to get there buying items you don’t need.
- BOGOF’s (buy one get one free) are not your friend – Realistically, ask yourself how many biscuits you can eat in a week or how many apples you’ll consume in the same time. Supermarkets often provide offers on stock they need to clear quickly. This normally means means the consumer ends up with a years supply of Pringles they didn’t actually want simply because it was a “good deal” at the time. Buy loose fruit and veg as it often works out cheaper!
- Carry cash – By taking a set cash amount to the supermarket with you, you’ll be bound to stick within the allowance you have to spend on shopping. Taking cards tempts you to spend more than you actually need to on items you don’t really need.
- Get rid of the vouchers – Many of us find ourselves surrounded by vouchers offering savings for our weekly shopping bills. Stop and ask yourself if you would have bought that product or item if you didn’t have the voucher? Vouchers tempt us to buy items we wouldn’t normally buy!
- From top to bottom – When browsing the shelves at your local supermarket be sure to look from top to bottom at the products available. You’ll often find that supermarkets will place the most profitable products at eye level, causing the consumer the buy what the supermarket wants them to buy.
Car insurance can be an annual headache for many of us, shopping around for the best quote or battling over the phone to stay with your current cover for a cheaper price. Insurance companies will create an insurance premium that judges how much of a risk you pose to them as a customer. If you are lower risk, you’re likely to have a lower premium.
Make sure you're covered with a good premium!
Take a look at the Healthy Hideout’s top 8 factors that will affect your car insurance bill:
- Profession – Some insurance companies will treat certain professions with more caution, so if your travelling long distances, working anti-social hours or carrying passengers your premium is bound to be higher than normal.
- Job title – Without pre-judgement about your work environment heirachy, it’s important to note that certain job titles will equate to a higher premium. People who are more inclined to stay indoors with less travelling are bound to have lower price tags.
- Driving History – One of the most important factors – If you’ve been involved in many accidents or convicted for a serious motor offence you’ll almost certainly have to pay a much higher price for your cover. No-claims bonuses can really play importance with situations such as this.
- Drive time – The more time you spend driving your vehicle, the more chance you’ll be involved in an accident. If you can commit lower mileage on your policy, your premium will of course be lower.
- Car type – Many people don’t seem to realise that the type of car they drive actually effects the price of your policy. Brand new, popular or even classic cars can usually cost more to insure as they are considered more vulnerable to theft or repair. Engine size and power also affects your policy negatively.
- Where you keep your car – If your car is secure over night, your insurance cost will be greatly improved. If you keep your car locked in a garage, you’ll pay less than someone who parks their car on the street.
- How you pay – If you choose to pay your annual insurance policy in one lump sum rather than monthly installments, it will cost significantly less. Insurance providers will charge you interest for the privilege of spreading payments.
- Credit rating – Your credit rating will almost certainly come into play when purchasing an insurance premium. If you are in any way a liability for the provider to take on board your business, it’s more than likely that you’ll charged for the luxury.
Need another reason to quit smoking? Why not spend 2 minutes of your time reading this short article that truly highlights the costs involved with smoking.
Many articles already address the importance of quitting smoking, with some focusing on the health risks involved and others highlighting the vanity & image related reasons. The Centre for Disease control estimates that around 23% of adults aged between 25 – 44 still smoke, whilst smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death in the US. It’s almost as if our health and how we look simply aren’t good enough reason to stop poisoning our bodies with such toxic smoke.
Bad for the body and your wallet
From research taken from Tobacco Free Kids as of October 2010, the average pack of cigarettes stood at whopping £5.59. Although cost does vary for region and applicable taxes involved, this is still quite a dent on your daily expenditure. Just imagine if you found £5 at the side of your bed each day your woke up? What would you do with it? Let the Healthy Hideout break it down for you:
- One Week – It’s a saving of almost £40. That’s enough to eat away from the office at lunch everyday, fuel your car for a week, or take your other half to the cinema for a date.
- One Month – £167 stays in your pocket, ready for you to splurge on that special pair of party shoes you’ve been waiting for. You could go for a special evening dinner with a friend, or book a weekend away at a your local spa for the ultimate relaxation experience.
- One Year – Now things start to get a little serious – almost £2000 serious. This is enough to place a deposit on a brand new car, take an extravagant holiday away to somewhere tropical or even buy a top of the range home cinema system. With the average UK wage standing at around £16,000 this saving is an incredible 12.5% of your years earnings.
- Five Years – If the above wasn’t already enough of an eye opener, then why not try a saving of nearly £10,000. This is enough to place a deposit on a house, clear any educational related debts or renovate your entire house.
In short, there is absolutely no limit to how much you can affect your wallet positively just by kicking the habit. If a parent were to stop smoking once their child was born, they’ll have saved around £35,000 by the time the child hits 18 years of age. If someone aged 30 decided to quit and put the money that they saved into a 6% savings account until they retired, they’d have an extra £150,000 waiting for them.
Kick the habit today
Many health studies already support infinite reasons of why quitting smoking benefits your body. If it takes realisation of the financial factors involved such as the ones mentioned above for you to quit, then why start today?
For more information on quitting, please visit the following NHS resource: http://smokefree.nhs.uk/
If you’re planning to start your own self build project soon, you may or may not have realised how important it is to plan your budget in detail. With proper analysis of figures and costs, you may find yourself increasing expenditure and even extending your loan.
How to self build, and how you should be spending your available budget requires attention and skill, but with the right execution anyone can do it. Here are the Healthy Hideout’s 7 top tips for sticking to your self build budget:
- Site choice – When choosing where you want your self build to start, be sure to pick a pre-levelled site with good drainage whenever possible. Slanted or sloped areas with poor ground conditions can quickly become a nightmare that eats through your self build budget.
- Service location matters – If you ensure that all services are close at hand including water, electricity, gas and drainage you’ll spend less money having these services extended to where you need them. Installation charges for such services can be incredibly expensive.
- Simple self build – Many houses rely on the classic four walls with sloped roof for a reason. A classic box is the most cost effective way of enclosing a space, with a sloped roof being very efficient at shedding rain and snow during bad weather.
- Keep it standard – If you stick to using standard materials in standard sizes you’ll find yourself saving a lot of money as they are generally cheaper. Bespoke materials tend to cost to more, but if you do want to add a sense of difference, use effectively and sparingly.
- Practical placement – When deciding where your kitchen, bathroom and toilets go, try and keep them as close to each other as possible. This will minimise the cost of further drainage pipes and makes long term maintenance easier.
- Natural light is crucial – Maximising natural light into your property not only improves your sense of well-being and mood, it also saves you money on electricity bills.
- Maximise insulation – Insulation is a cheap investment (even cheaper from utility suppliers) that will help protect you against rising fuel bills for many years to come. Be sure to complete insulation in the roof, exterior walls and ground floor – If you’re based in the UK, this is now required under building regulations.
Now all this may be denting the image you have of your perfect self build dream, but you don’t have to conform to the above and make it look boring. Budget restraints such as the ones we’ve discussed force us to come up with solutions we may not have come up with before. Let your imagination run wild!
Have you just finished your perfect self build? Did you stick to budget? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re planning to renovate your home on a grand scale, it’s not uncommon to feel intimidated about the attention required to ensure a successful project finishes as you wanted it.
It may not be a problem for those of us who are moving at a manageable pace, completing room by room, but for those of tackling the entire establishment, sticking to schedule is key.
Top 10 home renovating tips
Here are 10 top tips you need to consider for your renovation:
- Try not to go on holiday leaving builders or workers on site to handle your project. If you managing the project yourself, you need to demonstrate your presence to ensure that build pace and concentration does not drop. Mistakes cost money to correct.
- Don’t compromise – If this renovation is for your own home, you need to remember that you will be living in it after completion, not the builders. This applies to both materials and build methods.
- If you’ve never managed a project with a scale such as this, try to get someone involved alongside you who has. Project management is a full time job and you can’t afford to lose your way.
- Watch your bank balance and keep track of all building costs weekly. When an invoice pops up make sure you pay it as soon as possible and file away the receipt safely. Utilise spreadsheets so you can keep an eye on the running costs throughout the project.
- Schedule the entire project and make sure your workers are keeping on track, meeting deadlines or preceding them if at all possible. This way your project moves efficiently whilst everyone knows what they are doing and when.
- Keep in constant contact with your foreman ensuring they have everything they need on site, when they need it. There’s no need for “We didn’t finish this because we didn’t have this.”
Planning is key!
- Double check the specification of all products, appliances and materials before work begins on the site. Ensure everything is ordered and delivered to site on time – You simply won’t have time to be waiting around for a particular part to arrive due to delays etc.
- Trade discount can be your best friend when used properly – Pressure your suppliers to give you the best possible prices, ensuring that you visit multiple merchants comparing the best deals.
- Set up a trading account with the building merchant that you decide to use. Organising one at the beginning of your project means that you’ll qualify for trade discounts whilst making it easier for your site foreman to order extra materials should he need them.
- Get involved – This is your project at the end of the day. You can save money doing parts of the project that you feel comfortable completing, such as painting, digging or even sanding!
For more innovative ideas and expert advice, why not grab a copy of George Clarke’s latest book “The Home Bible” – An endless resource of information you should really know before starting any project. Click below for more information: