With the cost of living crisis constantly biting at our heels, it can be tough raising kids and keeping a functional home in this economy. While times are tough, sometimes it takes a bit of perspective to make the best of a bad situation and plan ahead. Let’s look at some practical examples of what we can do to keep costs lower in the household.
While it’s always obnoxious (and often out of touch) when some busy-body Internet writer comes in to tell people to stop eating expensive meals as if we’re all bathing in caviar, you may want to stick with me here. I’m not telling you to eat worse just to keep your wallets fat. Nutrition is important and should be non-negotiable.
Everyone’s food situation is different. Some people have difficulty buying cheaper while others have too much waste or not enough nutritional value. There’s a different solution for everybody, so it’s crucial to examine the pain points of your home and be aware of your own household needs.
For the crowd that needs to buy cheaper, they don’t have to sacrifice good produce for the sake of austerity. Here’s a well-known fact: supermarkets throw away tons of edible foods just because they look misshapen. There are services like Misfits or Wonky Veg Boxes that specialise in collecting these perfectly nutritious greens and reselling them far cheaper.
Aside from these businesses, if your location allows, you can buy straight from a farmer’s market. It can be cheaper overall.
If you’re looking to curb food waste in your home, it might not be your fault entirely. You might be putting the wrong foods next to each other, especially when it comes to ethylene-producing goods. Ethylene is a gas that certain fruits and vegetables produce as they ripen. Other fruits and vegetables can be sensitive to this gas and rot quicker
Storing apples with avocados, bananas with mangoes, tomatoes with cucumbers, potatoes with onions, and broccoli with peppers can all cause early rotting for the foods in your fridge. Be sure to do a little bit of cursory research and you’ll cut a lot of the unnecessary waste. Keep in mind that annual food waste was last calculated at 6.6 million tonnes in the UK, so it can seem like a small measure but it goes a long way with a few containers or sealants or even something as simple as clever shelf placement.
Another way to preserve for the long term is to freeze things or cut them into herbs or sauces. It’s obvious to many but it can be a good reminder. Near-expiration foods can be turned into sauce and stocked in ice cube trays or pickled for longer preservation. This way, you might save on toppings as well.
Conserving on Energy & Heating Bills
While energy price caps are helping a little bit, there’s no guarantee that excessive bills will be kept at bay for long. Planning for the future is the only option. This may require some up-front costs but they can be the type that might save you or even generate passive income in the long term.
Solar panels, for example, are becoming increasingly viable, especially with government grants that can subsidise your purchase (and programs like the Smart Export Guarantee that can let you earn passive income by giving excess electricity back to the energy grid). There are multiple resources that can help you if you’re wondering “Gee, where can I find solar panel installers near me?”.
That said, solar isn’t the only option. Your heating system or boiler might be out of date. Modern boilers and heat pumps are far more efficient and there are government grants that can subsidise thousands of pounds on their installation. You just need to have the right installer.
In terms of boilers, they are the cheaper option and you might end up improving the energy rating of your house by switching from a conventional boiler to an electric one. Heat pumps are the most expensive option but they cut heating bills by 400% or more potentially. While the upfront costs can seem excessive the savings could be worth it, especially if you can save on the installation by writing off the purchase using the Boiler Upgrade Scheme or the ECO4 scheme.
Insulating for the harsher winters is definitely worth it in the long term as the colder months can wreak havoc on your heating bills. It would be best to look into the types of glazing your windows have. Double-glazing is usually sufficient but some homes may need triple-glazing (though not all since the extra layer’s benefits may be lost on you if you don’t live somewhere with extreme temperatures).
Another aspect of insulation to keep in mind is the walls and attics that might be siphoning off heat. A bit of your home’s heating savings rely on the nooks and crannies being covered, so be sure to find your heat escape zones.
Hopefully, you found the following tips helpful and practical. When it comes to savings, the little things can stack up and it’s best to stay on your toes for the whole household.