There are many ways to cut everyday expenses. After all; saving money is the easiest way to whip one’s personal economy back into shape. Of course, it involves making a few changes, the important one being bringing everyone in the family on board. Cutting some household expenses can also mean reducing the travel and family entertainment budgets. This could be difficult in the beginning but with consistency, one can get used to a lifestyle of saving and wise-spending. Here are some easy ways to drastically cut expenses:
1. Cut down on grocery and shopping bills
Take a good look at your grocery bill receipt. Are there any items you can cut down on? There must surely be a few expensive snacks which you really do not need. Are you really using up all the food you buy or does half of it end up in the garbage? New York Times Best Selling authors Steve and Annette Economides recommend several innovative strategies to cut grocery bills by half which can help an average American household easily save up to $3000 or more annually:
- Plan properly. Decide the meals for each week (or the entire month) and only buy the ingredients you will use. Use grocery shopping lists.
- Clip coupons. I have talked about this in detail in my article on how to coupon for beginners. You can also shop during sales, use rebates, store reward points, and join wholesale clubs.
- Stock up. Buying non-perishables items in bulk can save you tons of money.
- Invest in the right kitchen tools and appliances that makes cooking and preparing food a breeze.
- Cook your own meals and carry your own lunches to work/school. Serve leftovers once a week. Learn to stock leftovers properly.
- Use cash at the grocery store to stick to a budget-When you pay with cash, you mentally set a limit and automatically stop spending when the dollars are gone.
- Online shopping – This is often cheaper and you can research the best deals.
- Shop at Dollar stores, Yard/garage sales, flea markets and auctions.
2. Save on utilities
- Seal vents to prevent heat loss.
- Set the thermostat to a minimum warm temperature.
- Use the utility company’s off-peak hours to run appliances. For example, loading your dishwasher and laundry can be more economical at 5 am than at other times of the day.
- Consider a bundled phone, TV and Internet service to get bundle discount.
- Shop around for best phone and mobile data deals. This can help you lower bills each month. Use bundled discounts for family phones.
- Switch to LED bulbs.
- Turn off unused appliances before leaving the room. Educate kids about the ways to save on energy bills.
Check out my article on some more easy ways to save on energy bills.
3. Save money on insurance
- Consider buying car, home and health insurance as a bundled service from the same provider. Sometimes, doing so can help save a lot. Always shop around for these insurance services from time to time to get lower rates.
- Install deadbolts and smoke detectors/alarms.
- Quit smoking and go on a diet. This can considerably reduce insurance costs.
- Take the bus or carpool to work. Drive safely.
- Inform your company when your kid moves out of the house to go to college. Insurance companies charge more when there are younger drivers in the house.
Check out my article on easy ways to save on your car insurance.
4. Save money with DIY household projects
Plumbing, painting and repair jobs around the house cost a lot. If possible, learn to fix things yourself. There are many videos available for these or you could take a handyman class. Naturally, safety first! Follow all rules of safety and do not attempt anything dangerous. Some things you can DIY are:
- Change tap washers, stop leaky taps, re-caulk tubs and toilets.
- Change fuses.
- Replace air filters.
- Sew and design clothes if you are good at it.
5. Save on childcare
There are many ways to cut down on your kid costs:
- Professional babysitters or nannies can easily charge hundreds of dollars a week for child minding. You could ask a neighborhood teenager looking to make money or your parent to do the job.
- Entertain your kids for less. Make toys at home instead of buying expensive ones from the stores. Boxes and packaging materials make the best toys sometimes!
- Recycle coloring materials.
- Always stock up on stationery during back-to-school sales.
- Recycle and reuse clothes.
6. Save on travel and entertainment
- Use the public library for free books, CDs etc.
- Your local town-newsletter can give you information about free events, public movie screening, shows and other entertainment ideas.
- Travel during off season. I have discussed many ways to save on flight tickets here.
7. Spend less than you earn
This one is really a no brainer when it comes to cutting expenses. Often people are lured by credit card schemes and fall for them. Always live by this simple rule: never spend more than what you earn and always save for the future.
8. Anticipate irregular expenses
Irregular expenses are the ones that we do not anticipate. They include appliance breakdowns, medical issues, children’s birthday parties, Christmas gifts and so on. In order to cut expenses, the number one thing to do is become a good money manager by setting aside money for all living expenses.
9. Make wise investments and get finance savvy
Seek help of an experienced financial planning consultant to make wise investments. You need to plan these savings so that you get money at the right times such as college education, retirement, travel etc. Educate yourself about financial planning; the cost of financial ignorance is very high. You must tell your money where to go so that it comes back to you manifold!
Please check out my article on Easy Ways to Invest Wisely.
10. Be charitable
Charity may not exactly fit in your plans of cutting expenses to the bone. However, monetary donations can get you some tax relief. Also, experts also believe that altruism actually helps relieve stress and brings abundance in your life. Remember, money is not going to give you lasting happiness but doing good to the society certainly will!