We know that times are tough. I mean, really tough. Now is the time to watch every penny that you spend, so that you can purchase more in the same budget or even better, put that money in emergency funds. How can you accomplish this, especially when the prices are rising?
Well, I can tell you a number of ways to save money on household expenses. You just need to put them in practice.
Saving on Grocery Bills
A good part of our monthly income is spent on grocery shopping, and the budget may even go higher depending on whether it’s a holiday or a birthday where you need to feed more people. Though using coupons certainly helps, there are other ways too. Scan the circulars regularly. If there is a non-perishable item on sale, pick it up if you use it often even if don’t need it right away.
Don’t be loyal to any particular brand, and do some comparison shopping. You can find so many things of similar quality at prices much lower than your favorite brand.
Are you among those who go to purchase just a few items but come back with loads of stuff? That’s impulse shopping and most of us do that. To avoid it from happening again, shop with a list. Jot down all that you need each week, then go shopping. Don’t buy anything that is not on the list unless you forgot something truly important. If you get tempted to purchase an extra item upon reaching the store, do not purchase it right away. Finish your purchasing from the list, go home, and think over it. If you really need it, add it to the next week’s shopping list.
Eating out harms you in two ways. It is always costlier than eating at home, and it makes you fat, no matter whether you are buying a quick snack at a fast food restaurant, vending machine or a convenience store. Avoid this problem by carrying snacks wherever possible.
Examine Your Entertainment Spending
Do you watch a lot movies at the theater or rent a lot of movies through a mail order service? Get them from the library where movies are free if you return them on time. Do the same for books. Many zoos, museums, art galleries offer “Discount Days” where they reduce the prices or even offer free admission. Take advantage of them.
Find out any similar places or situations where you can make cuts. Why not enjoy a free concert instead of the paid one? Why not go on a picnic instead of eating out?
Lower Your Utility Usage
Do you get a headache when you open the utility bill every month? Go negotiate a lower rate with your electric company. Hey, just kidding. You can’t do that, but there are ways you can reduce the electricity consumption.
Don’t forget to turn off the lights when they are not in use. Get a programmable thermostat. Lowering your home’s temperature by just one degree Celsius can reduce your heating bill by 5%. Wash your clothes in cold water. Purchase only Energy Star appliances. Just look around and you will find many such ways to reduce your energy bills.
Reduce Your Insurance Premiums
Insurance is costly. Believe it or not, you can shave off hundreds of dollars from your current premium by shopping around a little. You will be surprised to know how much the premiums from two different companies differ for the same coverage. If still you can’t find a better rate, ask your current insurer if they offer any discount for multiple policies.
Roll Back on Extras
By extras I mean anything that is not extremely important. Do you really need a satellite package ($55) or premium cable ($60) or call waiting ($9) or caller ID ($6)? Review the list of your monthly expenses, and find out what you can live without.
Pay Your Bills on Time
Do you enjoy the privilege of paying bills late every month? If so, you are paying extra money. Get back to normal. Pay your bills on time to avoid the late fees and rate hikes.
The key to frugal living is to take an honest look at your spending, and see if there is a possibility of spending less or eliminating an expense altogether.
Do you have other money saving tips that you would like to share?