Article written by Sarah Smith. Edited by Jessica Speer
People are always talking about how difficult it is to save money. But for me, with little guidance and self-control, I believe it is possible to save more than you think.
In this world we live in, saving is becoming more of a ‘should’ than a ‘have.’ It seems that it would make no such difference without saving, but in the long run, you will always find yourself either being happy you did or end up regretting why you didn’t.
One of the biggest concerns in our lives is how to save more and spend less. To accomplish this task, we will need to cut down our monthly expenditures for the best results. Some of our bills may seem to be small, but if you calculate their yearly effect, you may be surprised by what you find.
Allocating or saving money can be hard sometimes or seem unimportant in the moment, but saving just a small amount can do wonders for you in the long run.
Even if you are not mounting with debts right now, do not be the one who waits for the storm to hit. Be someone who is prepared to fight all the battles ahead of them.
Below are 14 ways to save on everyday household expenses:
- BUDGET YOUR MONEY
Always and always, budget your money. I have always loved the 50/30/20 idea. It suggests spending 50% of your income on your needs, 30% on your wants and 20% on saving or paying off your debts. For me, this is the perfect balance. You can maintain your finances without depriving yourself of anything and saving up too. You just need to know what to do when.
- INSTALL ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
Often times we forget the impact of an appliance or even a bulb, can have on our expenditure. Installing compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of standard incandescent bulbs can lower your monthly expenses and electric bill.
- MAINTAINING YOUR BILLS + PAY ON TIME
Now that our life without mobiles and internet is becoming impossible, it is so important that we pay close attention to our bills and the dates that we are due. Late bills can add up and are unnecessary if we are paying on time and in full at the end of every month.
- SHOP ON SALE DAYS
To shop on better days means to look out for the sales (all year round). For instance, around Christmas or when a certain season is ending, most brands offer a clearance sale.
I suggest that you make up a list of things that you want, but not at that very instant. Wait for the sale to come and take advantage of the extra savings.
Also, keep an eye on the weekly brochures these superstores publish and buy from the one which is offering the best discount.
- BUY SECOND HAND
Buying a brand new product is exciting, until you see your bank account empty. Technology is changing almost every day and we need every new gadget on our shelf. Take advantage of Facebook marketplace or the Let it go apps, to find great ‘used items’ for cheap!
As Dave Ramsey said,
You can typically rebuild a car two or three times for the amount of money you save by buying used.
By buying something at cheap rate, we can always upgrade it at a lower rate.
- USE COUPONS
We all get coupons every now and then in the mail, but let’s be honest- half the time we throw them out! Keep them tucked away in your car and use them next time your at the Dunkin Donut drive through 😉 These little savings add up big-time.
- CUT DOWN ON TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES
Most of us have to travel a lot, may it be for college or work. If you can take public transportation, that is great. But some of us are not a big fan of public transport. Well, in that case you can also look out for people on your route to carpool with.
- FIND OTHER MEANS OF ENTERTAINMENT
You don’t have to go out every weekend. Now, I am not asking you to become a couch potato or anything. I am only asking you to keep it a little low, for a while at least. For all the extroverts out there, being home and doing nothing is scarier than anything else, after all, what is life without a little fun.
All I am saying for now is, if you are going out for two movies in a month- try to go for just one and you will see what impact that will bring to your finances eventually.
- AVOID MEMBERSHIP FEES
We all have been there, we all have done that. We have memberships to a gym or club that we never go to, so why do we even bother keeping it?
If you find that you are not using your membership fees to their full potentials, cancel them. You are basically throwing money down the drain.
- MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD
When I was a student, I had no idea how to cook. Being away from my mother, I had no choice but to find a way to fill my belly. Those were the worst few years for my health and budget. I spent almost 50% more than my friends were spending on food, just because I used to order out all the time and they use to cook themselves.
Try to cook for yourself to live a healthy and wealthy life. Also, plan your meals ahead to make sure to stay on budget and to set a healthy lifestyle.
- SET YOUR THERMOSTAT
I know compromising on the room temperature can be difficult for some of us 😉 but to agree to change it (even just a little) can reduce your bill by so much.
- STAY IN MORE
Instead of going out and spending money, suggest ‘staying in.’ Grab a movie, some popcorn and make a night of it. You don’t always have to spend money to have fun. A game night even sounds like a fun option!
- GROW SOME GREENERY
Sounds crazy? It isn’t. Trust me- growing some food-related plants in your backyard will not just give your garden or your terrace a pretty look, it will save you on spending money on herbs and now you may just have a new hobby 😉
- QUIT UNHEALTHY HABITS
Unhealthy habits are bad for our life and our financial life both. As smoking, drinking or any other habit of this kind can make us unhealthy, it can also make an impact on our budget. Take care of you body and mind and you will avoid unnecessary hospital and doctor costs.
Author Bio: Sarah Smith has been a personal finance author for the last five years. She is also an independent and very passionate finance and investment advisor. She regularly posts at www.personalincome.org.