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Portsmouth Money Posts

How to Reduce the Cost of your Food Bill

Food is something that we all have to buy and it means that many of us find that it can be a major expense. The larger the size of our family; the more we are likely to spend on food. Many of us would like to spend less on food though so that we have more money available to spend on other things. This can be done by most people though, but it may mean making a few changes. It is worth trying some things though, if you really want to cut down what you spend.

Swap supermarkets

There are some supermarkets that are generally cheaper than others We are probably aware that some supermarkets are generally a lot more expensive than others. This means that we can choose to shop at a cheaper one. However, it is important to realise that the supermarket that is cheaper for us, may not be cheapest for others as it can very depend on exactly what we buy. The great things is that there is an online tool called mysupermarket.com which compares the prices of products between supermarkets. So, you can select a basket of shopping and then see which supermarket will be the cheapest for those products. Of course, you will also have to allow for the cost of the fuel to get to the alternative supermarket if it is significantly further away than where you currently shop.

Buy own brands

You will usually find that buying supermarket own brands will be cheaper than buying branded items. This is not always the case so you will need to check, but it can often save you a significant amount. Comparing prices within supermarkets like this can be a bit of hassle but you will normally find that items are next to each other on the shelf. It is worth noting that they might be in different sized amounts and so you will need to compare them per 100g to get a proper comparison unless you eat a packet or serving at a time and then you would need to compare this.

Set a budget

It can be a good idea to set a budget before you go shopping to try to prevent you from spending more than you can afford. It can be a good idea to find out how much you normally spend and then you can think about what you would like to spend. You will be able to set a realistic budget, perhaps reducing it by 10% or something like that. This will help you if you add up the value of your shopping as you go by self-scanning or by shopping online. However, if you do not do these things it can be really tricky to know exactly how much the value of the things that you are selecting are.

Plan your meals

In order to make sure that you eat everything that you buy it is a good idea to make sure that you plan your meals first. Some people do prefer to just buy things and then make sure that they are all used up. However, there are a lot of us that do not plan well and then find that things have gone off before they have been used up. You can avoid this by carefully planning meals and then only buying the things that you need for those meals. It can also be a good idea to swap out some of the more expensive foods that you eat for cheaper things. This could mean changing brands but also substituting the ingredients that are more expensive for cheaper ones. Cooking from scratch rather than using pre packaged meals is also a good way to reduce the cost.

Take a list

It can be a really good idea to write a list so that you know what you need form the supermarket. If you buy things that you already have then you will spend unnecessary amounts of money and some items may go off before you get a chance to eat them. If you forget things that you need then you will need another trip to the supermarket and while you are there you could be tempted to buy extras that you do not really need.

Reduce portions sizes and snacks

If you reduce the amount that you eat then you will not need to spend so much money on food. Some of us eat too much food and so if we reduce that amount then we will not spend so much on it. We often eat snacks which are not healthy for us such as sweets, chocolate, biscuits, crisps and cake and we could do without these and save money. We may also have puddings or large portions of food and we cut those down then we can save money as well.

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What are the Advantages of Having a Savings Account?

Many people choose to have a savings account but there are some people that do not. There are actually many advantages to having a savings account and it is worth knowing what these are so that you can make sure that you are making the right decision when considering not having one.

Getting interest

Many people are encouraged to save money because they get paid for doing so. When you put money in the bank or building society into a savings account, they will pay you interest on it. This means that you will get more than if you kept it at home or spent it. Interest rates are very low at the moment and that could be putting some people off from putting money into savings accounts. However, although instant access accounts tend to pay very small amounts, if you are prepared to tie your money up, then you can get higher interest, perhaps by putting it into a bond where you will get a bonus if you leave it in there for a certain period or an account where you have to give notice to withdraw the money, where you will also get rewarded with high interest percentages. It is worth remembering though that every bit of interest that you get is better than nothing. If the money is spent on items that are losing value or sitting in your home, it will not be making anything at all.

Money is safe

Most banks and building societies in the UK are covered by government legislation which means that if they go out of business you will get your money back. You can ask about this at the place that you are looking to use. This can act as reassurance to some people as they may be cautious as in the past people have lost money when they have got it saved in banks that went out of business.

Having money at home is not as secure. If someone breaks into your home and steals it then unless you have it insured, you will not be able to get it back. If someone you let into your home takes it, then you will not be able to claim on the insurance so you will not get it back unless they return in to you.

Harder to spend

If your money is in the bank then it will be harder to spend it. You have to go through the hassle of going into the branch and drawing out the cash or transferring it into your current account and that means that you have to make quite an effort. Due to this, you might question whether it is worth the bother and it could mean that you will therefore be less likely to spend it. If you keep it in your purse, wallet or at home, you will see it there and if you need some money you may just grab it and spend it. You might even spend it by mistake; forgetting that it was money that you were supposed to be saving. Once it is in a savings account, it is locked away as a reminder of your goal and you will be unlikely to forget why you put it in there. Even if you are saving just for peace of mind to have a back up it is better to have the money somewhere separate so that you know that it will not be accidently spent. It is worth remembering though that many savings accounts do have instant access. This means that if you suddenly need the money then you will be able to get to it when you want it. This means that you can get it right away and so although it is harder to get than the money in your current account, as you are less likely to be able to withdraw it form an ATM, you will still be able to get to it if you need it quickly for an emergency or something like that.

Have a back up

It can be really useful having some money in an account as a backup in case you need it. Knowing you have some savings behind you can give you peace of mind and it means that if you are in an emergency situation and you need money, it will be available there to help you. If you just keep the money in your current account then it will be easier to spend. You will see it there when you get a balance at the ATM and it could influence you to draw out a bit more. You may also just spend a bit more generally as you know that you can afford it. By putting it into a separate account you will be able to budget with just what you have left and this will mean that you do not accidently spend it.

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