Prices are going up everywhere, so what can you do to save money? Follow these handy tips as you navigate this era of soaring inflation.
Since the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 with its near-global lockdowns, the cost of food and services has increased. The price of energy and fuel also dramatically rose across many countries in 2022. Individuals and many families have to make complex decisions as the weekly food shop bill has increased 10-20% in the last two years, whilst disposable income has shrunk, with other bills expanding or even exploding!
The righteous considers the cause of the poor, but the wicked does not understand such knowledge– Proverbs 29:7
What can we do to help withstand the fiscal storm? First, consider what are your spending essentials? The absolute priority is a roof over your head and food. Second, what is non-essential? What can you cut back on? No one has all the answers, but the following can help people save money who are feeling the fiscal pinch.
Wants and Needs
After accommodation and other essentials such as food, we need to think about the difference between a need and a want. Before any purchase think, “Is it an essential need or something I want?” You will need to say, “No.” But don’t think about what you are missing out on by sacrificing, think of what you are gaining – control of your finances, peace of mind and restful sleep.
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire– Ecclesiastes 6:9
Save Money on Utilities: Electricity and Water
- Switch off non-essential electronic items at the wall. Many electronic devices whilst on standby mode are known as ‘vampire devices’ as they still use much electricity.
- Turn your thermostat down by 1oC and wear an extra layer of clothing.
- If you have an electric boiler, reduce the heating time by 5 minutes.
- Have a shower rather than running a full bath.
- If you usually enjoy a long daily shower, reduce your time under hot water by 1-5 minutes.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content– 1 Timothy 6:6-8
Reducing Spending at Supermarkets: Food and Drink
- Replace branded food with the supermarket’s own brand or buy cheaper items from a local market. If you buy the deluxe range, change to the medium option or even the value range. Remember, many items are made in the same factory and they are just packaged differently to give them a ‘deluxe’ feel.
- Some supermarkets frequently have cheaper specific food items than their rivals. Shop around for better deals. Is there a cost-effective shop you can go to?
- If the supermarket has a weekend special or weekly discounted items via its App or reward card, stock up on essential and/or non-perishable items when it is cheaper.
- Check supermarket magazines and newspapers for discount coupons.
- Items at eye level are often more expensive than those on the lowest shelves.
- Reduce food waste by not over-buying and then having to throw it away.
- Buy reduced labelled food and freeze for another day or eat on the day of purchase.
- The same food or product can be cheaper within a supermarket depending on which aisle it is located. Many food items contain no gluten etc., but they are more expensive in the gluten-free section.
- Some Apps offer items via cashback free or heavily discounted. Check each day for new offers.
- Consider joining budgeting groups on social media, from freebies, extreme couponing, bargains to budget cooking, these communities provide valuable advice from others on how to save.
Sowing and Reaping
There is a promise in the Bible for supernatural provision when you continue to tithe as worship, and you can claim the hundredfold on the offerings you gave in the past. Claim the harvest on your sowing!
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it– Malachi 3:10
It’s Your Time to Reap: A Helping Hand
- Sometimes you’re a sower and a giver, at other times a reaper. Take advantage of your time to receive freely. There can be pride in giving, but there doesn’t need to be shame in receiving.
- Community fridges are for the community to reduce food waste. You do not have to be in need to make a withdrawal and help the environment.
- If you qualify for a food bank, take what you need. There is no shame in admitting you need help, most people do at times. If it transfers a financial burden from you and relieves your mind, it is a positive gift.
- If you are on a sound financial footing, you may be able to support a neighbour. Is there a single parent or a family you can invite around for dinner? Can you take them a food parcel as you have ‘overstocked?’
- Have items collecting dust at home which you don’t need? There are Apps where people / companies list their surplus goods, which are offered for free or at a highly reduced rate.
He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses– Proverbs 28:27
Best Before and Use By Dates
When buying perishable food, check ‘Best Before’ dates to get as long as possible, especially on milk and bread. Every day does help. Stale bread (not mouldy) can always be toasted.
‘Use By’ dates are up to and including that date. You can still cook and freeze it (e.g. meat) and consume it weeks later. ‘Best Before’ dates are when the food is at its best, as recommended by the manufacturer though taste and texture may deteriorate over time. However, bread and cakes are good for several days, if not a week, though maybe not for sandwiches. Chocolate, pasta and tinned food can still taste good after months, and in some cases, more than a year! In a blind test taste, most consumers cannot taste the difference.
- Check your dates at home. If you maintain good stocks of food at home e.g. tins, jars, jams, pasta, tea, coffee, medicine etc., you use your older stock first.
- If living alone, consider making a larger meal and putting the leftovers in the fridge or freezer for another meal.
- It’s cheaper to use a microwave than an oven. If you can use the former do. Or invest in an Air Fryer which uses considerably less energy than an oven.
- Do not overfill the kettle, especially if you are merely making a mug of tea or coffee.
- Cut back on eating out or having takeaways delivered.
- If you are eating out or enjoying food delivered, is there an attractive offer available or a voucher to use? It’s often cheaper to buy direct than via a third party website.
Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus– Philippians 4:18-19
Coupons, Services, Sales and Ongoing Bills
- Before you buy a book or electronic item online, check prices on different sites. Can you purchase it via a cashback site? Is it cheaper in-store? Check for discount codes online, some browser extensions can be installed which search the web for discounts for you.
- Check your direct debits. How many are now obsolete, yet you are still being charged monthly? Think gym and other clubs or memberships.
- Streaming services: Do you require multiple providers? Can you use free trials or reduced rates for limited periods? What special offers are available?
- You get overcharged for loyalty these days. Haggle for the best deal for the internet, vehicle recovery, home and car insurance, etc. Remember, not all companies are on comparison sites. If you phone them before your renewal date, you may be able to get a better deal or get more for the same money. Tell them you’re leaving, its just too expensive and see what offers they can give you.
- With any insurance policy, can you reduce the premiums by paying a greater excess or having slightly less cover? Home and car insurance is critically important and should not be overlooked, and the cheapest deal may not fully cover you.
- Check your usage on your Mobile Phone, you may find it cheaper to switch tariff to a Pay as You Go or a SIM only deal. There are also Apps which offer money off your phone bill each month.
- Does your mobile phone provider have a loyalty programme? You may be missing out on free food and drink, days out, entertainment etc.
What’s your priority – having everything you feel you want or being in control of your money and sleeping at night? Think before you buy and keep asking yourself, “Is it a need or a want?”
- Designer clothes: Are you paying for quality or more for a label or an embroidered logo?
- Saving fuel – combine trips when using your car and therefore undertake fewer journeys.
- Would a bicycle, going on foot or taking public transport help to reduce overall costs?
- Consider going away on fewer mini-breaks, holidays or taking a cheaper vacation.
- Sell items that you no longer require or give away to those in need.
Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”– Matthew 16:24-26