Regardless of how deep your pockets are, budgeting is required to ensure priorities are sorted while spending a lot less than we earn on household expenses. This becomes even more necessary owing to the current hike in prices.
In most homes, aside from rent and school fees, food, water, electricity, cooking gas, repairs and maintenance, and similar bills take the largest chunk of family income. Track your expenses and reduce them to the barest minimum using these tips:
1. Draw A Budget
Itemize all your bills in order of importance, adding estimated cost to each. You may use the good old fashioned book and pen or a software like Microsoft Excel. Try as much as possible to stick to your budget when paying bills.
For unforeseen and periodical expenses, like your rent, save away a certain amount each month.
2. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk saves money and time. If you cannot afford bulk, get some friends involved and split the cost. Visit markets like Mile 12 and get a huge basket of tomatoes to share with friends. One basket contains the equivalent of about six small baskets of tomatoes but is much cheaper! However, make sure you have facilities for proper storage to prevent spoilage.
Things like pastas, tinned tomatoes, yam, eggs, sugar, salt, rice, beans, milk, cleaning agents, disinfectants, toiletries, cooking oil, and so on, should also be bought in bulk. However, beware of wastage, giving out or using excessively because it’s in abundance.
3. Location Matters
Where you shop is bound to make a difference in how much you pay. A nicely air conditioned supermarket in the most affluent part of town is hardly ideal if you are looking for a bargain. Some of the bigger chain supermarkets, however, do have offers available. Just make sure to avoid the packaged goods section (packed fresh fruit and the like) as they are bound to be more expensive. Fruit and veg are better sourced from the local market.
READ ALSO: 7 Ways To Create A Budget That Really Works
4. Cheaper Alternatives
Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean inferior. Popular brands are usually more expensive and may not necessarily be better. So, rather than insist on only a particular brand, be keen on sourcing for cheaper but effective ones.
5. Quit Shopping On Impulse
Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you see something that’s not on your list you probably do not need it. Try to differentiate between wants and needs. While it may be okay to occasionally splurge, one needs to exercise self-control to prevent ruining the budget.
6. Switch It Off
To keep electricity costs down, switch off all electrical appliances that are not in use, including lights. Leaving things on standby adds up to the total. Spending more on low energy bulbs will also save you some cash on your bill in the long run.
7. Cut Down On Fuel
Car pool with your friends to reduce daily expenses on fuel. Every little helps. You should also draw a weekly budget for generator fuel and stick to it. If affordable, save up and invest in an inverter.
8. Handy Mandy (DIY)
We have a culture of bringing workmen in to do almost everything for us. Do what you can by yourself and save the money for something else. Rather than call the electrician to fix new bulbs or the plumber to unclog your sinks, see if your husband can help.
Tags: Saving on household expenses
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