How to More Easily Afford Your Utility Bills

Utility bills include things like gas, electricity and water. They are things that we all use and pay for but they can be really expensive and some of us find them difficult to pay for. There are things that you can do to make it easier to afford them though.

  • Switch suppliers – one of the easiest things that you may be able to do to reduce how much you are paying is to switch suppliers. They all vary in how much they charge and so it could be worth changing to another one. With water, it is unlikely that you will be able to change supplier, but for gas and electricity you are likely to be able to change. You might be in a contract with them for a fixed term, but sometimes you can still get out of these if you pay a small fee, which could be worth doing. Compare some prices and you will get an idea as to whether you could save money. Using a comparison website can be an easy way to do this. You will be able to enter the details of how much power you use and it will come back with an estimated cost that you will be able to compare to what you are paying. Of course, costs can change and some people like to get a fixed rate deal to protect them against the risk of rising costs, although it is hard to predict whether they will rise or not.

Although using a comparison website is a good way for you to find out whether you are paying more than necessary for your utilities, it may not be the best way to choose the cheapest company. This is because you may find that there are some companies that are not on those websites. Therefore, you may need to do a bit of investigation yourself as well.

Some people get worried about switching companies, especially if they have been with one for a long time. But the service you get will be pretty much the same, with your supply not being interrupted and you will still get gas or electricity as you need it. The main difference between suppliers apart from the price will be their customer service and you will need to decide whether that is important to you. If it is then it is wise to read some reviews or contact the companies to see for yourself what the customer service is like.

  • Switch deal– if you do not want to switch suppliers then it could be wise to take a look at the deals that your current supplier has and see whether there is one that will suit you better than what you are currently on. If you do not want to search through their website then a quick call could help you. The customer service department should be able to talk you through all of their current deals so that you can choose one that you think will be best for you.  
  • Use less – another way to save money is to use less. If you are metered with water then using less will help but if you are not then switching to a meter may help. This will depend on how much water you use and there are calculators online where you can work out whether you are likely to pay more or less with a meter so it could be worth having a go. If you are not metered and use a lot of water then using less is unlikely to have a direct impact on your bill, although if everyone used less then bills could come down in theory.

It is easier with gas and electric as everyone pays for the amount that they use and so using less will reduce bills. Turning down heating is the thing that most people think of first and if you do make sure you only use it when necessary this could help. However, all things you cut down on could help so not using lights so much, turning off appliances when not in use and unplugging things when they do not need to be used can all help. Getting a smart meter can be useful as you will be able to see how much electricity and gas you are using and you will be able to see what uses the most. You will find that items such as the tumble dryer and oven use a lot and so choosing to use a clothes airer or grill and frying items could cut down how much you use. You may even find that leaving things switched on uses more power than you thought and it could motivate you to remember to switch things off to save yourself money.

How to Ensure you Live Within Your Means

Living within our means is something which we should try hard to do. It will mean that we will not need to get a loan just to manage and we will feel more secure knowing that we can afford everything that we need. However, many people find it really hard to do this. There are things that we can do though which can make it a lot easier.

  • Stick to a budget – the first step is to set up a budget and make sure that you stick to it. You will need to start by making yourself aware of how much money you have coming in each month. You should be able to find this out by looking at your bank statements. The amount can vary and this can make it slightly more difficult. However, it can best to assume the lowest possible amount is what you will be paid and then anything else will be a bonus. If you stick to a budget that will be in line with the minimum pay then you will not risk not having enough money to pay for everything that you need.

Once you have done this you will need to make sure that you work out what you have to pay for and whether you have enough to cover it. By breaking down spending into essential and luxury items you will be able to work out whether you are able to cut back in some area sin order to more easily manage the essentials that you will need to pay for. It is not fun, thinking about cutting back spending, especially as you will have to keep paying for the annoying and dull things like water and tax but cut back on the fun things like evenings out and alcohol. However, if you want to be able to live within your means you will need to do this. You must pay for those essentials or else you will have your utilities cut off and could find yourself without a home, but you will be able to manage without the luxuries. You could find that you will be able to manage some luxuries anyway especially if you compare prices carefully on everything you are buying and make sure that you are not paying out more than necessary.

  • Pay off loans – if we have loans, then paying them off can really help us in the long term. It can be hard to imagine that if you are struggling to make ends meet that paying off a loan will help, but it will. This is because you will no longer have to pay interest on that loan and so you will reduce the amount of money that you will have to pay out and you will be able to use that for other things. When we take out loans, we often forget to check whether we can afford the repayments. Repaying them is important and if we miss repayments then we will get additional charges which is not ideal. So, paying off what we have and then making sure that we can afford any that we take out is really important and will help us to make sure that we are living within our means.
  • Save Money – having some savings behind us can make a big difference to how secure we feel and how able we are to pay for everything that we want. If we have that money behind us we will know that is there is a situation where we are struggling then we will have something to fall back on. There is a good feeling about knowing that you have this security. It is wise to pay off bad credit payday loans first though as they will be costing you money and once you eliminate them you will be able to start putting some money away as savings and build them up a bit.

It will take time to change your spending habits and sort out your financial situation. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you stay motivated. Write down your goal so that you are aware of the reasons why you are budgeting like this and this should help you, Keep that note somewhere that you look at regularly so that if you feel deprived or that you are not getting very far, you will be able to read it and remind yourself that it will be worth it. Sticking to it will be the hardest thing, particularly when you have temptations, an expensive time of year or something like that. If you do struggle and find that you slip up a bit do not be hard on yourself, you are only human. Just take check, realise what went wrong and start again, learn from the experience so you do not make the same mistake in the future.