Saving on Your Monthly Expenses
Since it’s almost spring, why not consider cleaning up your monthly expenses a bit? I know I need to do it myself, especially when it comes to my cell phone bill. It only makes sense to shave some money off your regular expenses to free up some additional cash this year. Below are some great tips to get you started on your monthly expenses spring cleaning.
Saving On Your Monthly Expenses
As we enter adult life, we find it more and more expensive to keep ourselves clothed, entertained, and fed. Add to it the student debt we’re probably carrying, and it just gets tougher. Yet in an economy in which many people’s incomes are stagnant, it can be very difficult to come up with the money for those necessities.
Of course, a good first step is to determine what we want and what we actually need. Taking inventory of priorities and the essentials in our lives–and agreeing on them with our significant others–is unavoidable.
But even after the fat has been cut out of your budget, it is probably clear that the essentials cost more than you would like, or maybe even more than you can afford. That’s the time to go into detective mode and to track down ways to reduce expenses on your household necessities.
There are obvious choices like buying in bulk or using coupons to save on groceries. And most consumers are aware of the ways that they can cut transportation costs. But when the amount you save needs to be even more than these steps can generate, you need to take a different approach.
Consider these options for reducing household expenses without going into extreme cheapskate mode.
Calm down, we aren’t talking about dropping your homeowner’s policy. But you may be paying more for your insurance than you need to. And since this is kind of an invisible good, it can be a great option.
Automotive policies include three main components. These may go by different names, but generally they’re known as collision, liability, and comprehensive. Collision car insurance will repair your car if you cause an accident, while liability car insurance repairs the vehicles of other drivers. Only liability is required by law (unless you are still making payments on your car), so you can potentially drop collision coverage and save. Comprehensive car insurance covers things like hailstorms and tornadoes, and it is optional as well.
If your car is paid off and doesn’t carry much value, you can drop collision and save a bundle. And speaking of bundles…
You may have had a land line for several years, but your internet and TV cable may have been added separately. As a result, you may either have separate carriers for these services or have outdated plans that can be improved. Some areas even have deregulated electrical markets where you can shop around for power.
Talk to your service providers. Point out your years of loyalty and ask what you can do to save money by staying with them for all the services. Do your homework ahead of time and review what other options you might be willing to exercise in order to save money. That way, when you’re challenged about which TV channels you want to keep or how much internet speed you’ll want, you will have a specific answer that will send them the message that you are prepared to change. They’ll be willing to negotiate, and if they aren’t, you can call their hand.
Reduce Power Consumption
We’ve all heard about lowering thermostats, weatherproofing windows, and all the usual power-saving options. But the fact is that you can nickel-and-dime your usage down considerably with some choices that you might not have considered before.
Water heaters are a great example. They maintain a supply of 30-50 gallons of hot water at all times, even when you aren’t home. While most are well-insulated and will not have to run constantly when that water isn’t being used up, there will still be some slow cooling that will require the heating elements to kick in. If you’re leaving town for a 10-day vacation, you will save money by turning off your water heater. Nobody will be showering while you’re gone.
Think of your clothes dryer. Consider air-drying more clothes, and be sure to stop loads when they’re done instead of consuming heat for things that are already dry. Remember that your dryer makes your home hotter in the summertime, so an idle dryer saves work for your air conditioning as well.
Nobody likes to eliminate our favorite meals, hobbies, or travel plans just to implement strict money-saving procedures. The great news is that you don’t have to. With these simple changes, you can adapt your expenses to meet your lifestyle instead of the other way around.