Managing your household can be very costly and resource-consuming. You have a lot to deal with in terms of fixed and miscellaneous expenses. Fixed expenses consist of utility bills, credit card payments, and taxes. These financial obligations are constant for every month or few months, depending on your payment arrangements. On the other hand, miscellaneous expenses vary greatly each month and depends on your lifestyle.
These are the main reasons for your cash outflow. Proper management for your fixed and miscellaneous expenses is your main strategy to get by with your budget and set some money aside for those rainy days. Here are some areas you can start saving on your expenses.
Group Your Services
Find a service provider that offers bundles or packages for the services you use. These could be your phone, internet, and cable service. A lot of internet service providers sell packages that include these three for a cheap price. Instead of paying them separately, group them so you can save more.
Use the Basics
Check your subscriptions if you’re paying for something unnecessary. For your phone plan, you don’t really need a caller ID or call waiting unless you’re on the phone most of the time or rely on it for your daily tasks. Browse other plans for your cable TV as well; you might be paying more for premium channels you didn’t even know existed. Also check your internet subscription if you use it to the maximum. If you just use it to check emails or do simple browsing then you don’t really need the high speed tier available.
Downgrade your subscriptions to the basic, ensuring that you only pay for what you’re using. Just because there’s a more expensive option doesn’t mean you have to avail of that service. You’ll save more money in the long run by this simple change.
Even if it’s a necessary expense like food, there’s still room for you to save. Start looking and collecting coupons and familiarize yourself with sales that frequently happen in your area. Groceries and food shops often have sales at specific times of the month to get rid of their unwanted stocks. Choose your shopping dates wisely and take advantage of these promotions. You can save more than 50% by using coupons and by buying from the sales aisle.
Another area where thrift buying comes in handy is your fashion. Clothes are a constant expense and if you’re not careful, you could be wasting money. Avoid buying label or designer clothing, browse in thrift stores or second-hand shops instead. A lot of fashionable items can be found there while their prices are dirt cheap compared to designer brands. If you’re worried about sanitary issues, you can always have them dry cleaned to remove any unwanted odor.
Review Your Insurance
Insurance is a necessity, but it also takes a huge portion of your budget. Shop around and compare insurance rates for your car or health premiums. Insurance companies always have discounts available so you can ask them what they can offer you. If you want to stick with your current insurance company, you can talk to them about downgrading your plan. This can be applied for your car, health or house insurance policies.
Another option to reduce your insurance premiums is to combine them under a single company. Even if it’s a health insurance company, they also offer some sort of protection regarding your car or house. You might even include your children under your insurance policy to reduce the total price.
Utility bills are considered fixed expenses wherever you live. You need electricity just for basic functions in your house. This doesn’t mean that it has to be expensive and you can’t do anything about them. If living like a hermit doesn’t work for you (it’s impossible nowadays), then you can reduce your electricity bill through:
- Change your light bulbs to energy efficient ones. LED light bulbs can cost more than other types, but they last longer and use lesser electricity. They will pay for themselves through your long-term savings.
- Use your thermostat sparingly and efficiently. When no one’s home you can turn it off or if you’re not using a room, you can set your thermostat for a single room only. If you’re alone in the house, you can even turn off your thermostat and just wear a thick sweater or use electric fans. There’s no sense in wasting all that energy just to warm up the entire apartment when you just use it alone.
- Buy a power strip for your appliances. Television sets and computers consume electricity even if they’re on standby. A power strip cuts off all electricity to these appliances with a simple switch. You don’t need to unplug every appliance when you don’t use them, just turn the power strip off.
Reduce Entertainment Expenses
Avoid spending a lot just to have fun, but we’re not telling you to stay away from all forms of entertainment. There are inexpensive options available which still allow you to have fun. Instead of going to the movies every weekend, you can rent movies and watch them in the comfort of your own home. Local libraries have an extensive and updated DVD selection. Membership is free so you should sign up and start browsing there.
As a substitute for eating out, cook meals in your own home or go on picnics. You’ll reduce your dining expenses a lot and you can still enjoy your friends’ company. You can even organize potluck dinners with your friends so you won’t have to go to bars or restaurants.
Prepare Your Own Meals
Regarding your meals, buy your own ingredients and cook your own dishes. Depending on your skill, it won’t be look and taste like a restaurant’s dish, but you can save more. In the restaurant, you’re paying someone else to prepare your food, the building’s rent, and you have to add tips on top of that.
Cook dishes in multiple servings and separate them into single-serve containers. You can use multiple ingredients at this time (justifying your bulk purchase), and you’ll have easy to heat meals after or the next day’s lunch already prepared. Some recipes even let you use leftovers so you can recycle food easily and avoid throwing them away. Each time you throw food that went bad, it’s just the same as throwing away money.
Pay on Time
If you have the habit of paying your bills after the due date, you’re spending more on your late fees. Make it a point to pay your bills as soon as your pay check arrives or you can even set up online payment to make things easier. Once you pay your bills on time, you won’t have to worry about penalties and other unnecessary expenses.
Some of these tips for minimizing your household expenses may require you to change your lifestyle. However if you consider it in the long run, you’ll save more and you will be able to use this money for something else.