Every Little Helps... 5 Tips To Tackle The Cost Of Living

At the start of last year UK gas was at 38p per therm. Now, in summer 2022, it's at 537p per therm.

The Cost of Living Crisis. Another buzz phrase to make us wince as we scroll through the daily headlines – and rightly so. I think it’s safe to say that most of us are feeling the pinch when it comes to rising inflation rates. If you, like me, feel uncomfortable at the thought of letting inflation run its cause then look no further. Here are 5 tips which can make a small difference and ease the pressure on you as we continue to weather this financial storm.
Make Your Own Packed Lunch

It might not seem like much, right? If like me you often buy food on your lunch break then its likely you will be familiar with the good ol’ meal deal; a drink, a sandwich and a snack. At Tesco this will cost you £3.00, at Sainsbury’s this will cost you £3.50 and for the super elite… an M&S meal deal will set you back £5.00.

So, let’s take Tesco as the cheapest of the three and see how it stacks up against a packed lunch, using a standard drink, sandwich and packet of crisps as the benchmark. For 5 lunches (Mon-Fri) you’ll require the following:
Altogether, for 5 packed lunches (with some left over stuff may I add) you’ve spent £7.94 which means 1 packed lunch costs you £1.58 which in turn means you make a saving of £1.42 every time you opt for a packed lunch over a meal deal…
 
Do this for a week and you have saved £7.10, for a month and you would have saved £29.82 and if you can keep this up for a year then £369.20 will be your total saving. Not bad.
Review Your Mobile Deal
This is something I done recently. If like me you are with Sky, or any other network provider that offers flexible mobile deals, then you will be able to customise your plan by alternating the amount of data you get each month. This sounds good, and is good, but only if you utilise it. Recently I realised I had been guilty of ‘setting and forgetting’ and last month I realised I had in excess of 250GB of data in my Sky Mobile Piggy Bank. Adjusting my plan and reducing the amount of data allowance I receive each month has brought my monthly bill down by £8!
Actually Track Your Expenses (Even When Your Fearful Of What You Might Find)
This may come across as quite a generic piece of advice but it sprung to mind by something specific I noticed recently when looking back through my spending and for me there is only really one word I need to say. Costa.
I often like to use Saturday’s to get up to date with any work for the website/blog that you find yourself reading here whilst my girlfriend, who teaches secondary, likes to use the same time to catch up on some marking. We both find that taking our work away from the home makes us more productive. You see where I’m going with this right? Yes, every weekend we will drive to Costa on a Saturday morning and for every millionaire shortbread and bacon roll I scoff she will be gulping the coffees.
Whilst we both love a Costa, we had to question whether the amount of money we were spending each Saturday was worth it. We thought about the value it brought to us and how we could replace that for less money. As of now, this is easier to replace as we are in summer time and the weather is more often than not pretty nice. We have begun going to parks and utilising the garden a lot more as a place we can catch up on some work without feeling too stressed out. Take this with a pinch of salt and begin to think about how you can swap out some of your expensive activities for some cheaper ones without taking away the value that activity brings.
Tell The People You Know That You Are Cutting Down On Expenses
We all start the month with a budget of some kind, right? At the very least we tell ourselves something along the lines of ‘right, eating out is limited to £100 this month, do not go over that amount’. Unfortunately, our friends and families aren’t all in sync with us. Some of us get paid at different times of the month, some of us earn more than others and we all lead different lifestyles to one another. Very often you will find yourself in a position where you are asked out to a meal, everybody is going to be there, but they have chosen the most expensive restaurant known to mankind. It’s a frustrating one. Thankfully, there is a somewhat easy solution to this problem. It requires you to be honest and upfront. Just simply tell your family, your social group or maybe even your partner that you want to keep a handle on things this month. If that person understands you then you should expect to see a little bit of empathy and consideration to everybody when making plans.
Switch Up Where You Do Your Food Shop
Just like with the phone bill, where you shop can often become a set and forget situation. Each week you log into Tesco and do the same shop you did the week before, regardless of the price. If this is you then perhaps it is time to change it up…
Most supermarkets will offer a discount from time to time, particularly when shopping online with them for the first time. In fact, this weekend just passed we done our weekly food shop with Sainsburys for the first time, utilising their July coupon offer of £15 off your first online shop. Bringing our weekly food shop down £53.68… the week before at Tesco we spent £75.60!


And it isn’t just Sainsburys offering this… some of the more high end supermarkets such as Ocado need to try and get customers from their rivals and what better way to do this than offer you and I a discount, sometimes for an entire month when you open an account with them.

I hope the above has given you some inspiration when it comes to fighting back against the ever rising cost of living and that you are able to implement some of these tips into your life!

Until next time,

Jordan

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