If you’re looking to save money in the new year, there are some simple steps you can take around the house to cut down on your essential outgoings, reduce household waste and potentially learn a new craft all at the same time.
Here are just a few things to try, which should help you through the new year with a few more funds leftover.
- Try a new cuisine
Getting more adventurous with food can actually end up costing less, as you expand your kitchen repertoire to include more pasta and noodle dishes, and wallet-friendly foods like burritos.
Many of these are ideal for using up leftover meat or veg, or use less of the expensive ingredients anyway, and with better portion control there should be less waste to dispose of too.
- Keep warm the old way
You can save on utility bills by wearing an extra layer, whether that means a woolly jumper or a handmade quilt, and it’s easy to make a distinctive quilt or blanket by hand stitching old fabric together.
Rugs can also be made from spare material, giving you unique and rustic home furnishings for free (or very cheaply) and keeping the cold weather at bay in the first months of the new year.
- Buy over the counter
Buy only as much meat as you need by shopping over the counter, either in the larger supermarkets or at a local butcher.
Shopping for meat on the market is often much cheaper than supermarket prices, you only spend as much as you need for the meals you have planned, and there’s typically less plastic packaging waste too.
- Good to glow
Spend just a few pounds on some glow-in-the-dark paint or stickers and add them to door handles and light switches around your home.
They will help you to get around at night without being blinded by switching on the ceiling light – and once in place, they cost nothing at all over the long term.
- Recipe planning
Don’t just plan what you are going to eat – plan how you will cook it too, and portion ingredients in advance if possible.
When it’s time to cook, take all the necessary ingredients out of the fridge together, so you’re not constantly opening the door and letting warm air in.
- Don’t overcook
Don’t preheat the oven for longer than you need to, and don’t leave it switched on to keep cooked food warm – if it’s already at 180C inside, that food is not going to go cold in five minutes with the oven off.
Again, avoid opening the door more than you need to, and keep the interior light switched off until you need to take a look, if it has its own switch.
- Cook in bulk
Finally, this might sound like it goes against all of the advice about portion control, but cooking in bulk is a more efficient use of heat – so prepare large batches of ingredients that can be reused quickly later.
That doesn’t mean you should cook everything you have and then throw most of it away, but with some forethought it’s easy to make many different meals out of a basic bolognese sauce or seasoned browned mince.