7 Easy Ways to Reduce Household Costs
Do your bills make you cringe? I know mine do. To me it seems like for every penny I earn there are at least two service providers or bill collectors ready to take it. Yet as I learn to be more financially aware, I’ve come to find that there are a LOT of things my family and I could be doing differently to cut back. With a few lifestyle changes and creative thinking, we could actually have money left over each month to do something we enjoy.
So here’s what we did:
1. Write Down Expenses
Accounting for every penny that comes into your home is ideal for cutting costs. When you see where your money is going you have a better idea of what you need to cut back on. For example, we found that we were spending a great deal on ATM fees. While one transaction may only be $2, if you withdraw from the ATM 10 times per month, that’s $20 plus whatever your actual bank charges you.
2. Shop for Better Insurance Rates
When it comes to costs like auto insurance, you should continually be on the lookout for a better deal. As car insurance providers look to find new business, they offer incentives that might include lower prices, additional services, and so on. Not to mention the fact that an improved credit score can get you a better quote. It’s a good idea to compare insurance rates at least once per year to get savings. This can apply to things like home and/or renters insurance as well.
3. Ditch the Coffee
Okay, so I love my caffeine fix just as much as the next goddess, but when I realized how much my habit was costing me, I had to reconsider. In fact, according to ABC News, the average American spends about $1,100 per year on coffee alone! I could think of a ton of things I could do with that instead. If you need your caffeine fix, invest in a good coffee pot and brew it at home or take advantage of the free stuff from the office.
4. Cut the Cable
On average, we were spending about $200 per month on cable, Internet, and telephone services. However, with modern technology, you can watch your favorite movies and shows without a cable subscription. A more affordable alternative might be to pay for Internet service while utilizing a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. These subscriptions are under $20 a month.
5. Compare Electricity Rates
This one was new to me as I always thought you were stuck with the same energy provider, however, new laws provide a bit more flexibility. Deregulation in the U.S. allows residents to choose an energy supplier. Because energy companies now have to compete for your business, the rates are going to be a lot more affordable.
6. Buy Generic
Don’t be afraid of generic brand food items as they can save you a lot of money. Most people assume, you get what you pay for, but store or generic brand products can actually be very good. Since they don’t advertise through commercials and other costly avenues, they can afford to offer you products for less. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a few brands that you’re loyal to, but if it’s not on sale or you don’t have a coupon, generic versions are usually just as great.
This last one really shocked me, but did you know that many companies have deals to offer and all you have to do to get it is ask. Contact your utility, cell phone, credit card, or car insurance companies and ask them about deals and discounts they have for existing customers. Since they want to keep your business, they’re going to do what they can to get those prices down for you. Whether it’s a one-time deal or an ongoing thing, a penny saved is a penny earned.
If you feel like all you do is work to pay bills, it may be time to give your household budget a once over. When you actually record your spending habits, you get a real understanding of what expenses are draining the most income. From there, it is a matter of coming up with a plan of action to eliminate or reduce the costs. Hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas to get started.