How to Save Money on your Monthly Expenses
Do you find yourself spending too much money on your bills and not enough enjoying your life? Maybe it is time to re-evaluate your budget and adjust accordingly. Listed below, you will find several ways to reduce your spending within each category of your budget. Most of these are unexpected and small changes however, when you add up each of these small changes they will make BIG changes!
- You can find an Energy Auditor to help assess your homes energy use by contacting your energy company or the Dept. of Energy. In some cases this could be free of charge but do expect to pay a small fee. Doing this will help accurately address the energy losses within your home to allow you to understand where you need to make improvements
- Did you know that when electronics and appliances aren’t in use, they still draw energy? To help tackle this issue, use an Electric Strip for smaller electronics and unplug when not in use. Your computer and all of its devices, is one example of items that could benefit from being plugged into a strip.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use. This includes cell phone chargers, toasters, coffee makers, etc. You probably won’t want to unplug your refrigerator, nor would I advise you to!
- Turn off lights. Are you like me and constantly walk through your sunlit house to find lights on in empty rooms?! Try to train your family to only use lights when necessary AND shut them off when not in use! You could do this by posting signs around your house and within a week everyone should be well trained! If you are financially able, you could also invest in motion lighting.
- Use a programmable thermostat…set it for a lower temperature when you’re not home and a slightly higher temperature when you are home. If you cannot purchase one, then set a timer on your phone to remind you to turn the heat down before you leave the house!
- Put plastic over windows to keep the cold out. Especially if you live in an older home, putting plastic over your windows will be a lifesaver. You can purchase kits inexpensively at your local hardware store.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. Yes, even inside. If your walking around in a t shirt and shorts and it’s 20 degrees outside, your thermostat is too high! Grab a cozy pair of sweats and a sweater and turn that thermostat down a bit. 65-68 degrees is an appropriate indoor temperature.
- Check on your HVAC- Do you need to change your air filter? Keeping your air filter cleaned will optimize the systems effectiveness and reduce its energy use, hence saving money.
- Do NOT run your dishwasher until it is completely full. This reduces electricity, heat and water! Giving your dishwasher a good thorough cleaning quarterly will help it run more efficiently too!
- When doing laundry, try to do it all at once. Doing back to back loads will keep your dryer warm and in turn use less energy to heat back up to dry the next load.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. This will also help to lower your electric bill because the water heater will not have to use energy to heat the water up. Also, did you know that hot water sets in stains?
- Weather strip your doorways to keep the cold air out. Are there gaps between your door and it’s casing? You can purchase weather strips at your local hardware store inexpensively.
- Replace light bulbs for LED energy efficient ones. We did this last year but couldn’t afford to do it all at once. That’s okay, do one room at a time!
- Contact your Electric Company to inquire about any programs they may have to help customers cut back on their electric consumption. Many energy companies have programs to help lower their customers energy bill, you just have to ask!
15. If you own your home, try refinancing. Potentially you could lower your payment by applying for a lower interest rate or even a different type of mortgage loan.
16. If you rent, try finding a smaller place. Renting outside the city on the outskirts are much cheaper. If you cannot do that then try renting out a room to lower your out of pocket. The last option would be to negotiate with your landlord. Do you have to shovel all that snow away in the winter? Or do you know how to landscape? Offer your services in exchange for a fair amount off the rent bill. Also, if you have lived in your current rental for a bit of time and have always paid your rent on time, you can use that as a starting off point to the negotiating!
17. Raise your Insurance Deductible. You will pay less out of pocket per month however, please be aware that if you file a claim, you will be paying more- so make sure you have that deductible saved in case you ever need it!
18. If you still have a landline phone, consider cutting the cord. Think about how often you make calls on it. Do you need it? Could it be replaced by one single phone. Using just a cell phone is a cost efficient way to save some money. Also on the topic of cell phones is: a prepaid plan versus a contract. Being on a contract definitely has its perks however, if you are able to purchase a reliable phone then there are some great prepaid companies to do business with!
19. While your on the phone ditching that landline, also ditch the cable! It is so expensive! Subscribe to Internet and find yourself some streaming services to replace the cable. If you are into live television, there is Hulu. If you are more into movies, there is a company called Netflix. Also, don’t forget about Amazon Prime, which is a mixture of both television shows and movies. Sling TV is another really good option.
20. If you have a car payment(s) consider refinancing for a lower rate.
21. Trade in your vehicle for one that is a lower monthly payment or a cash car.
22. Carpool. Take turns with coworkers driving to work. This will save you (and them!) in gas and vehicle Maintenance over time!
23. Take the city bus. If you live somewhere that public transportation is available, consider using it, even if it is just once a week. Some money saved is better than no money saved!
24. Walk or bike to wherever you’re headed. Not only does this help to save you money but it’s good for you! You will be getting your exercise and the fresh air is a nice mood booster!
25. Keep up with the regular maintenance on your vehicle to try and reduce costly repairs. Ever notice that when one thing goes wrong on your car, so doesn’t one or two other things? Usually, this is because something needed to be addressed and instead it got ignored. That issue then snowballed into a bigger issue. The moral of the story is: send your car in for regular maintenance check ups and be sure to address any issues as they arise.
26. Are you carrying around debt with a high interest rate? Whether it is a student loan or a credit card, consider consolidating your debt. If you are able to transfer your debt to a no or low interest credit card, this could be a feasible (but temporary!) option too!
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