If you’re finding it difficult to make ends meet, you can cut your costs now by comparing car insurance quotes, re-evaluating your subscriptions, cutting cable and reducing electricity use. When you sit down and look at expenditures it isn’t difficult to discover ways to save money. It’s a matter of being committed to saving money so you can start to accomplish your future goals.
Ways to Reduce Housing Expenses
If you own your home and you have extra space, consider renting out a room or even the garage area as storage space. This will bring in at least a few hundred extra dollars every month. For renters, think about bringing in a roommate, getting rid of a paid parking spot or even doing repairs on your own for a break in the rent.
Ways to Reduce Electricity Use
With winter coming, most of us will be using more electricity. More hours of darkness means more need for artificial light. Higher gas and electric bills come during the winter. So, how can you keep those costs to a minimum?
- Run the dishwasher only if it has a full load inside of it
- When the weather allows, hang wet laundry outside instead of using the dryer or find a place for it to hang inside
- Turn the thermostat down and put on a sweater or throw on an extra blanket
- Change to energy efficient light bulbs – specifically LEDs
- Call your gas and electric provider and ask them about energy saving alternatives you can put in place now
- Update your water heater – only use Energy Star appliances
- Look for rebates and incentives when upgrading appliances
Consolidate Your Debts
When you combine your debts into one easy monthly payment, it’s easier to keep track of what you owe and it’s also easier to pay it off entirely. Other benefits include:
- Lower interest rates. You’ll be paying more on principle than on interest, potentially saving years of accumulated interest
- You won’t have to juggle payments and remember each from month to month
- You could potentially eliminate your debt 3-5 years faster with a debt consolidation loan
Eat at Home & Make it Fun
Part of going out to eat is the excitement of a different setting and trying a new dish. While you might not be able to change up the setting staying at home, you certainly can shake up the menu on a weekly basis. Not only does eating at home save you money (think about it: no hefty beverage prices, no tip to pay, no gas getting to the restaurant) you’ll also eat healthier!
- Scour the internet for fun dishes you want to try and print them out.
- Consider choosing a different ethnic cuisine once a week, if your family is willing!
- Plan your meals in advance and make a weekly or monthly shopping trip.
- Use up the items you’ve accumulated in your freezer and pantry.
- Make big meals and freeze what you don’t use for lunches and dinners in the future – think chili, stew, soup, casseroles, etc.
Don’t Stray from Your Shopping List
When you stick to your shopping list and don’t even look at other items that might be tempting you, you’re able to save money and plan your meals quickly and efficiently. Many people have trouble with impulse buying. The key is to recognize it when it happens and step back from it by saying to yourself, “Do I really need this? Is it on my list?”
- Keep a notepad handy for the items you’ll need at the store so you can easily jot them down during the week.
- Take a moment to group your items into categories, and list them in order of how you walk through the store. This way, you’re not jumping from one aisle to another. It cuts down on the time you’re in the store and it helps keep you to the list.
- Are you getting the best bang for your buck at your favorite store? Explore the other local stores to see who has the best prices overall.
Use Cash Only
It might be a difficult undertaking, but when you only use your cash and not your credit cards, you have a much better idea as to your financial status. Seeing the money move from your wallet, to your hands, to the cashier gives you a sense of ‘loss’ that credit cards simply can’t do.
- Put regular expenses on automatic payment.
- Save up for items you want by putting a set dollar amount away every week.
It might feel like you don’t have any money left over for certain luxuries, but you probably do. When you cut costs in these ways you’ll create the opportunity for financial planning and growth.