Recent research has shown that not only do we have less household income to go around, but women are shouldering more of the burden than men. That’s 68% of women spending £92 a month (or £1104 a year) more than their male partners on household purchases and outgoings, despite only 21% of women earning the most in their households. And with average household expenditure set to increase by £1700 a year since 2020, that doesn’t seem fair, right? Reduced disposable income all round means not only should we be looking to find the best ways to reduce household spending, but also ways to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
But what counts as household expenses? First we’ll take a look at easy ways to share the cost of UK household spending and then how to save money on the different categories such as food and drink, furnishings and kids’ items.
How Should Expenses Be Split in a Relationship?
Women are paying more than their fair share towards household expenses could be down to a number of reasons: they may be responsible for most of the cooking and cleaning so end up doing (and paying for) most of the shopping. And they take on the bulk of the childcare, so find themselves in the position to buy most of their children’s goods. A lot of these factors might not change anytime soon, but how it’s paid for can.
How couples manage their incomes will vary greatly, but household expenditure is a shared responsibility, so it’s perfectly reasonable to pool your resources on this front. A good starting point is to take a look at your current expenses and see how much you spend in a month. You can then either set up a joint account with both of you contributing 50% of that amount, or divide it up depending on how much you both earn (so the higher earner will pay a higher percentage). You then use this account to pay for your food, household bills, furnishings and anything to do with your children. That way everyone is paying their fair share with minimum stress and admin involved. So what are the simple ways to reduce spending on your household?
How Can I Save On Food Costs?
With inflation rising, so has the cost of our food, drink and household essentials, and unfortunately we’re probably all finding ourselves spending more and more on these every month. Not all money saving tips are going to suit every household, with everyone having different constraints on time, space and budget. But hopefully if you take away even just a couple of these, then you can go some way to reducing those costs.
Make a Shopping List: This one may seem obvious, but it really can make all the difference. Be realistic about what you need (and want) though, as there’s no point in putting together a sparse list when you just know it’s not going to last you the week.
Online vs In-Store: Doing your shopping online has lots of advantages. There’s the online voucher codes, the convenience if you have limited time, and you may also find it an easier way to stick to a budget. However, if you are cutting costs it has disadvantages too. You won’t get access to reduced clearance products and the range available online might be limited compared to in-store with some of the cheaper items unavailable. We suggest picking the best method for your circumstances and then exploring the best values options within that method, for example…
Click and Collect: If you do prefer ordering your shopping online, there is one very simple way of saving a few quid straight off. If you drive to and from work, why not arrange to click and collect from your local branch on your way home? You save on delivery costs and you’re not using any extra petrol to get your shopping. It's easy to arrange this when you are placing an order using Tesco voucher codes or similar online savings - just input your savings to see if your branch provides a click and collect service.
Loyalty Cards: Whatever your supermarket of choice, make sure you have your loyalty card to hand. If you’re going there every week, then those points soon build up and you can put them towards savings on a specific event, such as Christmas. And some membership schemes also offer reduced prices on certain products, so you make ongoing savings too.
Meal and Planning and Prep: This can take various forms, from simply working out what you’re going to cook for the week and buying accordingly, to batch cooking for the months ahead. Like many money saving tips, this can take up a lot of time in advance, and for many people this just isn’t possible. But if you can spare some, start with meal planning and if this is successful, perhaps try a bit of batch booking in advance. This is also dependent on freezer space, so again, isn’t for everyone, but there are plenty of batching cooking sites and books out there that can help you get started.
Go for Cupboard Essentials: Some of the biggest drains on our food budgets are the things we don’t ever get a chance to eat. Yes, it’s quite painful to think about how many perishables end up in the bin, so why not consider swapping them for a tinned alternative? Not only can this be much cheaper, but it will also last significantly longer if you don’t get around to using as planned. And it’s also a good idea to stock up on store cupboard carbs for mid week meals such as dried pasta, different types of rice, and couscous.
How Can I Reduce My Household Bills?
The advice right now is that it’s probably not going to be cheaper switching energy providers, so you are best sticking with your current company if you’re on a fixed rate. However, there are other household bills you can cut:
Broadband and TV: When was the last time you took a look at your broadband package? Is it suitable for your needs? Are you paying for a TV package you don’t really use that much? Are there new customer offers available with rival providers? All good questions that might save you quite a bit every month.
Mobile Phone: Depending on where you are in your contract, this could be very beneficial. For example, if you’re near the end and your phone is still in good working order, consider switching to SIM only as you could end up saving more than £35 a month. Or if you’d rather get a new phone, negotiate with your provider and use price comparison sites to get the best deal.
Water: Many of us pay set water rates, but if you live in a one or two person household, having a water meter installed might be a cheaper option. This way, you’re only paying for what you use, making it easier to manage and reduce your outgoings.
How Do You Get New Furniture On a Budget?
Furnishings is listed as one of the product categories that women say they spend more money on than their male partners, so how can you find cheaper alternatives? Many top furnishing retailers often have a furniture outlet page where you can pick up all sorts of clearance home decor, so a lot of the time it’s just making sure you get into the habit of visiting these outlet pages first. But what time of year is new furniture cheapest? This is an important question if making a large purchase such as a new bed or sofa. Traditionally the cheaper shopping periods are August/September and late December/January when the best sales take place.
Simple Ways to Reduce Spending On Kids’ Products
Much of the same advice applies here, especially when it comes to spending less on toys. During key periods like the lead up to Christmas, planning ahead and seeing what offers are available is the best policy. And there will always be lots of toy offers. For example, ordering online with Amazon voucher codes can provide you with lots of price cuts and multibuy deals that can save you money on stocking filler ideas as well as bigger presents.
But when it comes to saving money on other kids’ products, then some of the most traditional solutions are often the best. With baby items, the answer to the question ‘do they really need that?’ is usually ‘no’. Yes, there are lots of baby essentials, but many of these can be bought secondhand or borrowed from others, such as Moses baskets, babygros and feeding equipment, because babies develop so quickly.
Everyday expenses for older children can include mobile phones, clothing and footwear and activities. As they get older, kids get more particular about what they do and don’t like. Unfortunately, for the parents! If you’re looking at first mobile phones for your child, see what add ons are available with your own contract as you might be able to get a good deal, or consider buying a secondhand handset and a SIM only payment plan. And as for requests for specific clothing and footwear brands, as always, check out the online sales and available voucher codes before you do anything else.
When a lot of advice amounts to simply ‘spend less money’, then this isn’t always helpful. There are certain things we always need to spend money on, and with a reduced disposable income, we all need practical, manageable tips for small changes as well as the more drastic measures. And if you’re in a situation where you think you’re paying more than your fair share of household expenditure, sorting this out can be a useful starting point when trying to cut household spending as a whole.
By Anna Scott, 7th June 2022