How to do Gardening Cheaply

If you have a garden then you might find that it costs you quite a bit of money. There are plants to buy, furniture and landscaping as well as equipment and other costs. It can feel like you are spending lots on it. If you get a lot of pleasure form your garden then you might be happy with spending that much money, but it is important to make sure that you do not spend more money than you can afford. There are things that you can do to keep gardening costs down though and it is worth considering these to see whether you can reduce the costs of your garden.

Swap plants

It can be quite expensive to buy plants for the garden. Some people buy lots of bedding plants every year and the cost of this can add up. However, if they grow plants form seed, then swap them with other gardeners, they can have a good variety of plants at a much lower cost. Another option would be to buy plants which last all of the year round. These might be more expensive but they could be worth spending more money on as they will not need to be replaced. Obviously, it will be sensible to also make sure that the plants that you buy will be happy in the soil that you have in your garden.

Grow vegetables and flowers you can pick

It can be a good idea to grow things that you can benefit form. For example, if you grow vegetables in your garden, then you will be able to eat them and it will mean that you will not have to spend so much money on buying vegetables yourself, You will have to be sure though, that the cost of the seeds, compost, water, pest control and fertiliser are less than you would pay for the vegetables if you bought them in the shop.

With flowers, you may normally buy cut flowers for your home. If you do this, then you could grow flowers that you could pick and bring inside instead so that you do not have to buy them. Again you would have to make sure that the costs are worth it, compared with the price of buying flowers.

Look after furniture and fences

If you have fences in the garden, garden furniture and decking then these can be damaged by the weather. Therefore, it can be a good idea to look after them and protect them. This investment could be well worth it so that they last longer. Using so fence paint or protector could stop it rotting so quickly. Using this on the decking could also have the same effect. If you have garden furniture you could also protect it in this way or you could put it indoors or cover it up over the winter so that it is protected from the weather.

Do the work yourself

Some people employ a gardener to help them. This adds significantly to the cost of having a well-kept garden. If you can do the work for yourself then it will be cheaper. If there is too much to do, then consider making it easier to manage. Replacing lawn with slabs, using mulch or gravel on beds to reduce weeds and having larger plants which cover the ground but do not need pruning, can all help to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done.

It is good to therefore plan your gardening projects really well. You can still have a really lovely garden but you need to think about making sure that you keep all of the costs down. Just making a few changes and decisions should help you to make it a much cheaper hobby that you will still be able to really enjoy.

Tips for Saving for a Deposit

If you want a home, then you will need a deposit. Whether this is for a rental home or to buy yourself a home, you will need to save up money to put down as a deposit. With a rental it will probably be a few months rent perhaps plus a bit extra but for a mortgage it will probably 10% of the value of the property. Despite the fact that the amounts will be quite different, the method for saving up will be the same.

Consider debts

It can be a good idea to start by having a think about your current debts. If you have a lot of these, then you could be paying a lot of money in interest payments towards them which could be better being saved towards your deposit. Therefore, it could be wise to think about repaying these before you start saving for a deposit. Also it could be good to get rid of some or all of them as you will have to find money for mortgage repayments or rent payments regularly and if you have a lot of debt repayments to make, this might make it much more difficult for you to be able to afford them. So take stock of your current financial situation and think about whether you feel you should be repaying some of your debts before you start to think about saving up money.

Make regular payments

It is wise to make regular payments into your savings account. If you make ad hoc payments, then you could find that you will not save a lot. If you set up a direct debit, to transfer some money into your savings account each month just after you get paid. This will ensure that you do not forget to save any money in the month. Some people wait until the end ad save whatever is left. This is certainly something you could do, but if you do not save any at the beginning you may find there is nothing left to save. If you save the money first, then you will have to budget more carefully through the month to make sure that you do not spend more money than you have in your account. You will want to save as much as possible so that you can get the deposit together as quickly as possible so that you can move quickly and so budgeting carefully will be well worth it.

Spend less

If you can reduce your spending then you will be able to save more money. It is not always that easy to do this but it is a good idea to have a think about whether you can do this. There are some things that are easier than others. To start with it is always a good idea to think about whether you can spend less on the things that you buy. You will find that a lot of the things that you buy can be bought cheaper elsewhere. This means that you might be able to still buy all of the same things that you always do but pay less for them. Of course, you will want to make sure that you are getting good value for money and you do not want to buy lots of cheap things and find that they do not last long and you have to buy them again.

Another way to spend less is of course to buy less things. This can feel really hard though, because we do not like going without. However, it is worth keeping the goal in mind of needing to save up to be able to move. It is also worth bearing in mind that once we have a rent or mortgage to pay we will need to make sure we have enough money for that and we might therefore need to cut back on spending for that as well, as buying less things could be the way that we do that.

Earn more

A way to be able to have more money is to find ways of earning more. This could be in your current job by doing more hours or negotiating a rise but this is not always possible. It might be the case that you will have to get a second job or find a way to earn some extra income in a different way. There are various things that you could try such as freelancing, temping, taking on a second job or online work.

How to Spend Less on Your Electric

We all have to pay an electric bill if we rent or own a home. Electric can be expensive too, but we use it for a lot of things and would certainly not want to be without it. However, it is worth knowing that there are things that you can do which will enable you to pay less on your electric than you currently are.

Switch Suppliers

It is always worth making sure that you are not paying more than necessary. This means that you should compare different suppliers to see whether you can swap to a different one and pay less. You may be tied into a contract with a certain supplier and if you are, you will normally need to wait until that contract ends or else you will need to pay a charge. Some companies will pay that charge if you switch, but bear in mind that you will need to pay it first and then they will reimburse it, so you will still to come up with the money to start with. You will also need to settle your bill, so if you have any outstanding money owing, you will need to be able to repay this. If you cannot them try to whittle it down bit by bit so that you can get it right down and will then be able to switch.

It can be tricky to get the confidence to switch. We might be used to using the same supplier all of the time and not feel that we want to swap or worry about the supply being interrupted if we switch. If you are worried about using a different supplier then do a bit of research. Look at some reviews, chat to people about who they use and check out their website. This should help you to be able to decide whether you think that they are a company that you can trust. It is a good idea to think about what you are looking for in a trustworthy company and this should help you to make your decision.

You may find that companies have an introductory rate and that you will get charged a low amount for the first year but when it comes time for renewal it goes up a lot. Check this as it could mean you pay more than necessary. You also need to watch for fixed rate deals. Even though these will protect you from increases in electricity charges, they will be more expensive than the standard rate, at least initially. You may actually end up paying more than if you just used their variable rate and you will be tied in if you go for a fixed rate.

Reduce your usage

Using less electricity will also bring down the cost, because as well a standing charge you also get charged for the electricity that you use. We use electricity for lots of things such as lighting, running any electrical items and heating. Although many people have gas central heating, our boilers do use some electricity as well.

Reducing usage can be easier for some people than others. Remembering to turn off lights, unplug electricals when not in use and turning down heating can be something that some people do all of the time anyway. However, not everyone bothers to do this and those people should perhaps think about how they might be able to save electricity. It might seem like it will not make a lot of difference, but small changes add up and it could make a big difference over the course of a month.

If you do both of these things and reduce your usage and switch to a cheaper supplier you could find that these will add up to make quite a significant difference in your bills and you could start to save a lot of money.

Ways to Reduce Your Mobile Phone Bill

Most of us now have a mobile phone and we can find that the amount we pay for it can be quite significant. There are various expenses such as the cost of the phone, the calls, texts and data. It can all add up to a significant amount of money. It is good to have a think about whether it is really necessary to pay this much money or if there are some ways that we can save a bit.

Cost of the phone

There are two ways that people pay for phones. They either buy the phone outright or you pay for it within a contract. If you have it within a contract then you will find it easier to pay for it as you will be paying in small instalments over a series of months. However, it is likely to be a lot more expensive than buying it outright. If you add up how much you will end up paying for the phone this way it could be massively more expensive.

It is also worth thinking about the model of the phone. It can be tempting to get the latest one with all the best functions, but this will be expensive. Think about what you actually need in a phone and whether you are paying a lot more the necessary for a phone that has function that you do not really need. It always feels good to have the same or better phone than your peers but this comes at a cost. The latest phones and best brands are really expensive and so you need to make sure that you really are sure that you want this. Is it worth having the latest one but paying out loads of money for it? Think about what else you could be doing with the money that you have spent.

It is easy to be persuaded by the salesman to buy a more expensive phone as it is their interest for you to spend more money. Therefore, it is a good idea to research first and make sure that you know exactly what you want so that you can get the phone you want to buy rather than the one they sell you.

Calls

It is always worth comparing the price of phone calls on a land line to a mobile phone. These vary a lot and it could be cheaper to use a landline rather than a mobile, especially as you can sometimes get free calls on a landline if you pay a monthly charge. These charges tend to be less than a mobile call charge, however, you will need to check to see which will work out best for you.

Texts

It is worth thinking about how many texts you send and whether it might be better to use a messaging system or email instead. You can use these from home for free and they will therefore be cheaper (assuming you pay for broadband) compared with the cost of buying texts for your phone. If you have a contract you may have soe free texts but make sure that you do not use them up as the cost of additional texts could be really high.

Data

Data can be expensive so make sure that you use it sparingly. Try to use wi-fi wherever you can, either your own from home or connecting to it at work or in restaurants etc. Make sure that you are aware of your allocation that comes with your contract as if you go over this you will have to pay more money and this could add up to be really expensive.

How to Keep your Car Insurance Low

There are many costs which we have to think about when we have a car such as servicing, MOT, fuel and tax and insurance is also a big expense. For some people the insurance will be a lot higher than others. If you have made a few claims on your insurance, you are young or you have a valuable car then your insurance will be higher than those who never make claims, are older or have a less valuable car. Obviously, you cannot force yourself to age, but you can ensure you only make necessary claims and you can decide whether to buy a cheaper car. There are other things you can do though, to keep your car insurance lower. 

Compare insurers

The best thing you can do to keep costs down is to carefully compare the different insurers. They will vary in price and you will find that you can save a significant amount of money if you swap to a different insurer. You will often have a yearly renewal notice and this is the opportunity to look and see whether there are other insurers that are cheaper. It can be useful to go to a comparison website and see what sorts of prices you can get there from different companies. You will probably find that the very cheapest will be companies that you have not heard of. You may not be keen to use these insurers but if you use MSE’s comparison website it will tell you what their customer service is like and this will help you to make an informed decision as to whether you feel that they will work out well for you.

It is wise to make sure that the insurance cover that is cheaper will give you the same cover as you are already getting. There might be certain parts of the cover that are really important, perhaps that you need the vehicle insured to drive to work or you want a curtesy car if it is in for repair after an accident, so make sure that you consider this and make sure these are included. You could find the cheap price is just for basic cover and you will have to pay extra for these, but you could still end up paying a lot less by switching.

It can seem like a lot of hassle to do this each year. However, if you spend half an hour a year looking into it and save money, even if it is £50 it is surely worth it as most jobs will not pay £100 an hour, but by working for 30 minutes to save £50 that is what you are effectively earning.

Have other family members on it with you

If you are considered to be a high risk driver, perhaps because you are young or have made a big claim recently, you might find that it will be cheaper if you put another driver on the insurance with you. For example, some teenagers find that if they put a parent on their insurance who has a large no claims record then this can lower their insurance costs. It may also be cheaper to be with an insurer that other household members are with to keep the costs down as well. It is worth investigating this. Some insurance companies will offer family discounts and others will not and so it is good to find out who does and see whether you can save money if you use them.

Pay in a lump sum

Often an insurance company will offer the option of paying for insurance in a lump sum or monthly instalments. The instalment option can make it much easier to manage your money as you will be able to spread the cost and not worry about finding a big chunk of money in one go. However, very often, using the monthly instalment option will be more expensive. It is worth checking this carefully. Obviously, if you cannot afford the lump sum, then monthly instalments may be your only option or you might be able to get a loan to pay for it but that may cost even more so you will need to check. It might be that you will have to pay monthly this time, but try to put some money aside each month so that next year, you will be able to afford the lump sum payment and then save money.