2019 is set to be another roller coaster of a year. With Brexit looming on the horizon, as well as a projected slow down of the British economy to just 1.2%, it is looking increasingly likely that the cost of living in 2019 is set to rise.
Here we take a look at the key areas of impact and offer a few money saving tips to help mitigate their effect on your wallet.
1. Get ahead of rail costs
Demand for rail travel has more than doubled in the UK in the last 20 years, with over half of all rail journeys in 2017 being taken for commuting purposes. On January 2nd this year rail ticket prices increased by 3.1%. Whilst they are in-line with inflation this increase can feel like a serious financial sting.
Here are some great ways to try and combat these price rises.
Switch your station
Rail prices are allocated by ‘zone’. If you live on the cusp of a price zone you could potentially cut your rail fare by switching to a closer station. This may mean you need to do some of your commute by foot or bike, but it could potentially save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
Buy a season ticket
If you are travelling the same route more than three times a week it generally makes sense to buy a season ticket. An annual ticket gives you 12 free weeks of travel a year. They are expensive though, so if your company does not offer a salary deduction scheme, look into opening a new 0% interest credit card to pay for it and help spread out the repayments.
2. Get ahead of holiday costs
Flight prices alone are expected to rise about 2.9% in 2019 due to rising fuel costs and pilot shortages. Add that to the possibility of EU entry visas at a cost of £7 per head, as well as the falling value of the pound, there is a very real possibility that holiday prices could rise by as much as 31% this year.
Don’t get caught out, try some of these tips to keep your costs down.
Book on a Sunday
Skyscanner says that booking flights on Sundays instead of Wednesdays saved customers an average of 4% per flight. So choose the day you book wisely – it all matters.
Fly on a Friday
The cheapest day to fly out of the UK is Friday. If you can, try to choose that day to fly instead of a Sunday or Saturday.
3. Get ahead of utility costs
Despite the promised pay cap for January 2019, it’s likely that household bills could be up by 5% by next April. That’s an average of £60 a household.
To keep a lid on your utility bills try these savings hacks.
Wash your clothes in cold water
Roughly 75% of the energy needed to do your laundry goes into heating the water. Even setting your wash to 30 degrees instead of 40 could save you up to 57% on the running costs. It’s better for your clothes, and unless they are heavily soiled, most clothing doesn't need a constant hot wash.
Switch Provider or renegotiate
As a consumer you hold a certain amount of power. If you are in a position to do so, start looking for better deals on your gas and electricity as many companies offer new customers the best offers. Alternatively, phone up your current company and renegotiate a “loyalty” deal to save you money over the coming year.
4. Get ahead of food costs
To take charge of your shopping list and keep your costs down try these pro tips.
Learn to eat on a budget
Plan your meals and become a prep master. Take a look at our piece that gives you some top tips for eating on a budget.
Eat seasonal and local
Find your local farmer’s markets and small-scale producers. It is more time consuming but by buying straight from the farm, and only seasonal fruit and vegetables, you can considerably cut down on the costs that usually pay for the middle-man.
5. Get ahead of housing costs
The Bank of England has said that house prices could fall by up to 30% from their pre-Brexit level if there is no deal. Indeed, in the three months between October and December 2018 house prices rose by only 1.3% in the UK, making it the weakest year since 2012.
If you are worried about how to get ahead of this uncertain market try some of these ideas.
Don’t spend too much money on preparations
If you are preparing to sell your house then don’t spend too much money on “freshening up” the property, as it is money you will not get back. In an uncertain market where house prices are likely to fall in the coming year, buyers will be less likely to offer over and above.
While the forecast is looking costly for 2019, many of these predictions are contingent on a well-planned Brexit. Whilst the future is still unclear in this regard, it is always sensible to thoroughly plan your personal finances in order to limit the negative impact these prices can have on your budget. The earlier you are aware of something, the more time you have to plan for it.
Investing for the future by planning and putting your money away sensibly into long term savings and investments is one of the most effective ways to safeguard against an uncertain future.