People across the country are reining in their spending and pinching pennies in a concerted effort to save more money. While some families are doing this while living comfortably, others are forced to make spending cuts just to survive until the next paycheck hits the bank. If you are one of these families who have eliminated spending on “wants” but still struggle to pay the bills or save money, perhaps cutting back on necessities is an option you should consider.
The American culture is wrought with excessive spending so it is no surprise that the typical household overspends on necessities such as food, gas, utilities, and phone usage. Check out the following ways in which you can save on these expenses.
How to Save Money on Food
You cannot avoid spending money on food. We all need to eat on a daily basis, but you can cut back on your dining budget by eating at home. Paying for prepared meals is convenient and tasty, but it’s also more expensive and usually less healthy. Most restaurant-style meals are easy to prepare at home at a fraction of the cost, and you are able to control what ingredients are included.
When cooking at home, try to reduce meat consumption to save money. The average American household consumes more and more meat every year and prices are skyrocketing. Reducing meat consumption can help you to save you money and improve your health. Most importantly, reduce food waste. Throwing food away is a waste of money so buy fresh produce locally that will last longer, learn how to preserve food longer, and eat everything before it spoils. And, be sure to eat your leftovers!
How to Reduce Gas Consumption
Just get rid of your car. Okay, so it’s not that easy for most people. If you are one of the few people who can live without an automobile by all means help out your wallet, air quality, and traffic by getting rid of your car.
For the rest of you, keep gasoline usage in mind. Use your car’s cruise control option at a speed of 60 miles per hour or less to increase gas mileage. Maintain appropriate tire pressure levels and keep your car tuned. Make sure that you aren’t carrying around excess weight-your trunk is not a storage closet. All of these things will increase your car’s efficiency, thus saving money. Leave your car in the garage and carpool to work or school if you can. Finally, use technology. It has never been easier to find the lowest gas prices. Downloading a free app could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your car’s lifetime.
How to Save Money on Utilities
Saving money on utilities is a practice in green living. Water and electricity usage can be cut with basic conservation practices. Ensure that your home is properly insulated to reduce heat loss in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. If you live in an older house, you should inspect all of your duct work to make sure that nothing is leaking. Opening windows and turning on fans at the right times can go a long way toward regulating the temperature of a house.
To save water, don’t use as much. It sounds simple, but we’ve all been guilty of lounging in the shower. Pretend like you’re showering in a third world country with a limited hot water supply and complete the task in five minutes or less. Other obvious measures include turning the sink off when you’re not using it, washing only full loads of laundry or dishes, and reducing lawn irrigation.
How to Fight your Ever-Increasing Phone Bill
Cell phones have become an everyday part of life for a lot of people, but this wasn’t always the case. The monthly cell phone bill is relatively new to the expense chart. Cell phone companies started with basic calling. Then, text messaging was added. Next, data packages were added as cell phones turned into miniature personal computers. What started out as a $30 per month expenditure has ballooned into a $100 phone bill or more, and no one seems to mind.
To lower your phone bill, consider joining a family plan with a relative. Verizon offers family plans that can have up to five lines and the average bill per phone is cheaper as the number of lines increases. Dropping your data package could also save you around $30 per month. People have been known to exist without Facebook at their fingertips so odds are you’ll be fine. Your tweets and posts can wait until you have a moment on your computer. If you need a data package for your job, your employer should be footing the bill. If you are self-employed and your cell phone is crucial to business, use it as a tax write-off.
These steps won’t make you rich any time soon, but by cutting back in each category, you could lessen your money troubles.
What kinds of things have you done to save money on necessities?