Reducing the costs at home

I’m sure I am not alone when I admit that now the summer holidays are almost over (they are over for many but Emmy isn’t back until the 12th) that money is tight.
Being self-employed takes it’s toll in the holidays especially as there is no gap in time for me, usually I am able to do some work when Emmy is at school and Harry naps, however for the summer holidays that’s not possible.  I wanted to spend all my time with the children so have done and have taken to working in the evenings only, my working hours have become 9pm – 1/2am.
These hours are tough I can tell you, especially when the kids are up around 6am for the day.  It’s taken it’s toll and I have just had a little burn out due to being physically and mentally exhausted, it’s not over though until school starts again.
The holidays are expensive – I have tried really hard to make free fun days, such as our fishing trip and our cheap garden activities, however I have also wanted to have some fun days out with the kids, which don’t come cheap – we’ve had meals out, been to farms and Lollibops and been into London a few times.  We have had a great summer.
It’s now however time to tighten the purse strings again and I have set myself a challenge of reducing our household bills.
With Paul being out of work still it is now essential, we also have Harry’s 2nd birthday coming up and of course Christmas is creeping up and needs planning for.
I currently pay out for everything using direct debit which does help to take the stress out of things, especially as my memory is shot sadly however because it’s paid automatically means I think about them less than I should.
I try to package some utilities and necessities together with package deals as it generally saves money but I then forget to go back and check other deals later on to see if I’m still getting a good deal – my TV, phone and broadband for instance are packaged together and I now feel it’s time to search around to find the cheapest broadband deals online, and hopefully I can shave some money off my package deal – I know I can definitely cut down our TV package as we have so many various ways to watch films that I no longer need to pay for movies in that package really.
Luke from Caelum Communications says “there a various different broadband providers out there and its important you choose the best one for you”.
Next on the list is to check Barney’s pet insurance as that’s up for renewal soon and then onto the other household bills like combining the gas and electricity provider to save some more – I’m setting myself a goal of reducing the our outgoings by £50 a month to start with.
I’m sure that’s actually a very realistic goal, it’s now just a case of actually finding the time to sit down and work out what I actually pay out and searching around for a better deal.
Do you switch between providers regularly?
What is the most you have saved?
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