Rent and mortgage costs account for the biggest monthly expenditure for most people in the UK. With the average one-bed home costing £600 a month to rent and London topping European charts for being the most expensive city for monthly living, younger adults in particular are finding themselves under serious financial pressure.
With that in mind, the UK population are generally becoming shrewder when it comes to organising their financial situation.
If you’re looking to take control of your monthly living costs, here are five ideas to consider.
Know your benefits
The UK is known for its excellent support system, with an array of benefits and grants available to those struggling in one area or another. Obviously, it’s better to be in a situation where you are not applicable for benefits, but if you do find yourself in a tight spot, have a look into what benefits are available and check your eligibility.
There’s no shame in getting a little help if you require it.
Look at your utilities
Alongside rent and mortgage payments, you’ll find utility bills up near the top of the monthly expenditures chart. Average yearly household costs for gas, electric and water sit at just under £1500, with monthly payments of over £100 eating into budgets.
You can’t simply cut out such basic services, however, you can investigate managing them better. This starts with more conscious energy management, such as turning plugs off at the wall and staying disciplined with the thermostat.
Beyond more efficient energy use, look into your tariffs and providers; are you on the best deal? Often, you’ll automatically be put on a ‘standard’ tariff when moving into a property, which isn’t likely to be the most cost-effective option for you.
Find a friend
New home owners find themselves burdened with reasonably sizeable mortgage payments after forking out for an initial deposit, which can make money a bit tight for the foreseeable future. One way to relieve some of that pressure is to rent out a room, where a tenant could effectively pay some of the mortgage for you. Do you have a friend or colleague who needs somewhere to live? Ask around and the results could really help you out!
Beg and borrow
The power of freebies, especially when it comes to things like furniture and appliances, should not be under estimated. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so they say, and there’s nothing wrong with taking on some second hand goods that others no longer want.
You can often find people looking to shift large pieces of furniture or perfectly functional kitchen appliances, either for a few quid or free to anyone willing to come and get them.
There are plenty of scenarios out there for you to take advantage of which could save you hundreds rather than buying new.
Make a move to suit you
Finally, if you’re struggling to find the right value in your current living arrangement and have the flexibility to move, find another place that better suits your requirements and budget.
This could mean moving to a less expensive area of the city, downgrading on space that you don’t need or moving closer to work to save on time and travel costs. This is one particular advantage of renting; it allows the flex needed to make key adjustments when you face hard times or a change of circumstances.
Naturally, it’s not ideal to just up sticks and leave, but if it makes practical sense to you, don’t be afraid to make the move.
The good news is you’ll likely be able to make quick and easy changes that could offer significant savings on a monthly basis. Carrying out better living practices will not only benefit you now but set you up for the future as well.