Seven Simple things that can reduce your household costs by an easy 10%
This sounds tricky. You’re careful with money. You don’t go out shopping without reason. You plan days out. Here’s how to reduce your household bills by 10% without feeling too miserly or making your life a misery. This advice isn’t specific to France but could be applied anywhere.
Showers – time an average shower. If you spend 10 minutes in the shower then reduce that time to 9 minutes and you’ve saved 10% already. Try and cut the time down to five minutes if you can.
Heating. If you have your heating on for six hours, then reduce it by 30 minutes to make an approximate 10% saving on your heating. If your heating is set to 20 degrees then turning it down by 10% feels uncomfortable to me. Reducing the time, for me, is preferable. However, if it’s over 20 degrees, then wear more clothes indoors.
Cooking. Use the oven 10% less in the week by cooking two meals at once two days a week. Simple food like Cottage pie or stew reheats really well and will be fine in the fridge until the next day. I plate entire meals for the two of us, cover them, put them in the fridge and reheat the next day. The oven and hob uses a huge amount of energy and cost.
Laundry. Only wash what is actually dirty. Fold clothes up and put them away. I sniff them. If they smell clean as well as looking clean then I wear them again. Each person can have their own bath towel and flannel and use them nearly all week. I hang mine after using so it dries and use it again for half the week. Outer wear like coats, dry them if they get wet and spot clean any marks. I never buy anything that needs dry cleaning so coats get washed at the end of each season and put away for next year.
Drying laundry. Make sure you are a weather watcher. Make the most of every dry day and dry outside. If you have a dry house or wood heating, then you can dry indoors. If you have to switch on the heating to dry clothes then put your washing machine on the spin cycle again to make sure they are as dry as they can be. You will need to open windows regularly if you dry indoors without a woodstove as the house could get mouldy. I certainly washed the clothes less when I was in this situation.
Food budget. Reducing a food budget by 10% means looking at what you but and sometimes not buying less, especially if you have a growing family. Go down a brand, or just done buy brands and buy generic. Home cook, batch cook, use your slow cooker and freezer. Buy tinned fruit, buy frozen veg, look for the £1.50 wonky veg boxes in the supermarkets. Make a list and shop only once. You can freeze bread and milk or buy UHT milk.
Clothing – first of all, sell what you don’t wear, doesn’t fit or you don’t like. Next, repair what needs repairing. Buy the best quality you can, whether new or second hand and make it last. We have a clothing and shoes budget of 250€ for the two of us for the year. I certainly don’t buy new clothes every year and I never just go out shopping for clothes on a whim. I plan those purchases. To reduce your spending, estimate what you bought over the last 12 months and total that figure. If you spent £500 last year then aim to spend £450 this year.
This article was originally published on Frugal Queen in France.