11 tips to improve family finances
The pandemic allowed household savings to recover figures not seen in more than two decades, but runaway inflation is complicating the accounts of many households. It is becoming increasingly difficult to balance the books and even more difficult to dedicate part of our income to savings. We offer eleven tips to improve family finances.
Over the course of 2021, families increased their spending in almost all product categories, with the exception of communications and alcoholic beverages and tobacco, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). The data presented by the INE at the end of June show that average spending per household in Spain rose to 29,244 euros in 2021. And half of this amount was spent on housing and utility bills alone (33.8%) along with food and non-alcoholic beverages (16.4%).
Variation in average spending per household in 2021
If we add to this the runaway inflation rate so far this year, which in June stood at 10.2% year-on-year, it is not surprising that families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, and even more challenging to save. It is symptomatic that a Nielsen report indicates that in April this year 93% of the products in the shopping basket were more expensive than in the same month in 2021. And it should be borne in mind that in 73% of cases the increase was more than 5%.
Families are forced to tighten their belts because in recent months prices have soared, especially in the areas of energy and food. And at this time of year, holiday accommodation and restaurants are also playing a role, with double-digit price rises. In short, families are forced to prioritise and scrutinise their accounts in order to balance them, with the risk of forgoing healthy eating.
Although the Bank of Spain calculates that families saved 943.7 billion euros in 2021, record figures not seen since 1999, the situation has changed radically in the first few months of this year due to inflation. In any case, at 11Onze we have compiled 11 tips to help you save money.
- Apply the 50/30/20 rule. This first piece of advice is very simple. It is about spending 50% of our salary on basic needs (light, water, rent, mortgage, telephone, food, studies, and so on), about 30% of our salary on leisure (out-of-home breakfasts or lunches, holidays, gifts, and so on), and the rest, the remaining 20%, it goes to savings.
- Cancel unnecessary subscriptions. To how many digital platforms are we subscribed? Do we use them all? Should we continue to pay them? What about that subscription to that magazine we never read? All automatic subscriptions must be reviewed, and we must choose whether they are necessary and useful for us to continue paying. Today there are several online content platforms that are legal and free, you just have to look them up on the Internet. And remember that libraries are also a major source of books and also audiovisual content.
- Review your electricity, gas, and phone contracts. We need to look very carefully at the contracts we have with the various electricity and gas companies and the type of contract we have for our mobile and home telephones. This is one of the factors that makes us spend money without being aware of the total expenses at the end of the year, as these are expenses without which we cannot live, but we can indeed reduce them.
- More meals at home. Reducing the number of times we go out to eat or buy take-away food can become a very good source of savings. We must not stop going to restaurants either, but we must reduce meals outside, especially if our family is large; our pocket will appreciate it.
- Reuse. When something gets damaged, see if you can repair it and extend its life before throwing it into the rubbish. Buying second-hand clothes, books, furniture, and even household appliances is also a good saving tool.
- Avoid impulsive shopping. One of the main reasons why we do not make good use of our money is compulsive shopping. From now on, when you want something, give yourself time to think about whether you really need it. You will find out that you do not need much of what you want to buy.
- Compare prices. How many times have you bought a mobile phone, for example, and the next day you see an offer for the same product in another shop? That’s not comparing. We must learn to compare everything we buy, including food when we go to the supermarket or when we buy in superstores.
- Use the car less frequently. The car is an expense many people cannot do without, but we can reduce it. If possible, try to share a car or make use of the means of public transport. As far as possible, use a bicycle, and above all, use your legs, for walking is healthy and free.
- Choose a good financial institution. How many credit cards do we have? Do we need to have so many? What commissions does our financial institution charge us? We think it is enough to have a financial institution that supports us because that is where we keep our money, we receive our salary and we are charged all our expenses, as well as where we pay our bills. But we have to check if this financial entity helps us to have a good personal economy, or if, on the contrary, we need a change. Nowadays, there are many financial institutions with tools that help you to control your expenses and at the same time help you to save: let’s choose a good financial institution for our future.
- Adapt to your income. If you earn a certain amount, do not do more than your economy can afford. You do not have to go all out; make responsible use of your money according to your earnings.
- Be far-sighted. We should analyse the evolution of our expenses in recent months to see where our money is going and where we can cut back. Given the current inflationary situation, in some cases, it will be necessary to apply a “war economy” depending on how we foresee the evolution of income and expenses.
Money does not create happiness, we know this already. But we can transform our money into a tool that can bring peace of mind to our personal economy. Given the current inflationary situation, in some cases, it will be necessary to apply a “war economy” depending on how we foresee the evolution of income and expenses.
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