Life is good, but some little things can really have a negative impact on how we feel about our lives. Money is one of those things. Sometimes it can seem like there is no way to make ends meet. You may feel there you are never gaining any ground, no matter how hard you work. These are the 7 most effortless ways to start saving money in your home.
7 ways to cut down on your monthly expenses
Manage the temperature in your house
A simple way to start cutting expenses is to reevaluate how hot or cold you want the temperature to be. Personally, I like to set the thermostat at 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. If I actually did that though, my wife would kill me. Instead, we do the opposite, 60 degrees in the winter and 80 degrees in the summer. This idea can seem a little intimidating but there is an easy trick. In the cold months, wear a sweater. In the warm months, don’t wear a sweater.
Make a weekly meal menu, shop off that list
Another simple way to reduce costs is to plan your meals ahead. Try to go grocery shopping once a week. Less time in the store will mean less impulse buys. First take inventory of the food in the house. Next plan your family’s breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Once you know what meals you are going to eat, you can make a shopping list for the things you need for the week. Now that you have the list, you can go shopping. Remember, this process is worthless if you are going to impulse shop.
Eat food prepared in your home
This is pretty straightforward, but be vigilant. If you are used to eating out, if you like eating out, then you can find a reason to eat out. To prevent this, prepare larger meals when you cook. In this way you can have food ready when you get hungry but do not want to cook. You will also be able to send leftovers to school with your children. You will be able to take food to work for lunch. This should all be planned out when you make weekly menu. Something that should be pointed out, sometimes when you make dinner, don’t just make enough for leftovers. Make double, and then put half in the freezer. This way you will have a meal ready for those days you decide not to cook.
Don’t waste electricity
It takes discipline, but once you master this, it will be worth it. Turn off lights that are not being used. There is no need to pay for an empty room to be lit up. Another thing you can do with the lightbulbs, is switch them out with LED bulbs. LED bulbs take less power and they last longer.
Your house does contain other items that can be a drain on power when nobody around. Namely, anything plugged into the wall. When appliances are plugged in, even if they are off, they still pull a charge from the wall. The easy approach to this is unplug anything you don’t use often. If you want to go a little further, you can use power strips. If you put a power strip by your entertainment center, when you are not watching TV you can flick the switch off on the power strip. When the power strip is off it will block the connected appliances from draining power. That way you do not have to unplug everything, just flip a switch.
Cancel unneeded subscriptions and services
This tip is probably going to impact your life more than any of the other tips. It can be an area to save a lot of money, but it will require a different way of living. If you have a gym membership that you do not use 2 or more times a week, get rid of it. Unless it is the YMCA, because there is stuff for you to do there, so use it more. Someone your kids while you workout/sleep in the lobby. Awesome. Another subscription to cut is your cable. You can buy a streaming device for 30+ dollars and pay 10-15 dollars for a media streaming service. Cutting cable can save you around 100 dollars a month. It is a big step, but you can do it. Finally, you can cut subscriptions to print magazines. They can be fun, but unless you need to read “Boys Life” for the Scouts, you can do without the magazines.
As an honorable mention in this section, I will state that you could also consider saving money on how you get your hair done, but not going out to get your nails done, or to stop letting your kid do some activities. Those are viable options, but the goal of cutting expenses is to make your life better. What you prioritize is up to you.
Buy generic and store brand items
Time for another easy one. Buy generic and store brands. If you are uncomfortable with that option, just try a few different brands out. Aldi, Meijer, and Trader Joe’s all have great prices and great quality. This is a great way to see savings every week.
I saved this for last because it is the hardest. If you smoke or drink, I have great news, you can make a major impact on your expenses by giving it up. If you are just smoking two packs of cigarettes, stopping will be a savings of at least 10 dollars every week. If you are drinking a couple bottles of wine a week, or a couple bottles of beer, give it up. It will benefit you to give up smoking forever, but once you are more comfortable with your financial situation you can work alcohol back into the budget.
There are a lot of simple ways we can cut our household expenses. In this list of 7 tips I have tried to present the tips that will have the greatest amount of impact with the least amount of work. You can probably start doing at least two of these today.