For many families around the country, housing costs can take up the majority of available income. That does not leave much funds left over for other purchases, regardless of how necessary they may be. Cutting household expenses in an effective way may be able to decrease the proportion of monthly income spent on household costs and increase the amount of discretionary money you can work with.
Most households usually have multiple sources of incoming funds and outgoing costs, so every situation will vary somewhat. With said disclaimer, there are some ways that most families are able to cut back on their spending and maximize how they use their income. Most of these money-saving ideas will shave a little off the top of how much you pay for certain products or services, while a few changes could impact your finances more significantly. These strategies can work no matter where you live or what sort of home you live in. Find out which of the following nine money-saving tips will work best to save your family money on all sorts of household costs.
Ditch Your Cable
Unless you happen to work by flipping through hundreds of television channels, you probably do not need to be paying a monthly subscription fee for all those channels. For most people, identifying the few types of TV, such as sports and movies, that they watch on regular basis is pretty straightforward. You can easily pick up individual subscriptions for these channels or small packages that include a few elements of your choosing plus the basics. Many TV channels have free streaming options online as well. By ditching your cable bill and just paying for the TV channels that you actually enjoy, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars every month and thousands every year. Find out more about minimizing daily costs here.
Invest in Surge Protectors
You may be familiar with surge protectors for their very obviously declared purpose, protecting you from electrical surges. Indeed, surge protectors can save you hundreds of dollars in damage when lightning strikes nearby. What many people do not realize is that surge protectors can also save you tons of energy by regulating the amount of energy you are using. Some surge protectors will automatically shut off, disconnecting all plugged in appliances, after a certain period of disuse. Others without automatic regulation still make it much easier to regulate your electricity usage by making it as simple as possible to “disconnect” your electric devices from the outlet without having to unplug a thing.
Lower Your Heater by Just One Degree
Studies show that lowering your thermostat by just one degree can save most households upwards of $150 per year or more. Even more, using the heating in your home or office only when and where it is occupied is a simple way to cut back on heating costs. If your thermostat does not already have one, then you can invest in an electronic thermostat regulator to automatically turn the heating on or off when you program it to, such as when you will be around. The same goes for water boilers or any other large heating apparatus you may have.
Seal up Your Windows and Doors
How airtight are your windows and doors? An easy way to check for drafts is to light an incense stick and see if the smoke streams upward in a relatively straight direction or if it is pulled or pushed in a specific direction. Once you have identified a leaky window or door jam, there are several DIY ways to plug up the gaps, like by using silicon foam or caulk. You can find directions for any of these methods by doing a quick online search. You will be amazed to see how much warmer a space can be when it is well insulated and protected from haphazard drafts of wind. Having a sealed home can help cut utility expenses in both the winter and summer.
Utilize Natural Sources of Shade
If you use any form of air conditioning or fans to cool your home during the summer, then a great way to save on household costs is by taking advantage of the shade. By shading your home, you can significantly lower the energy expenditure and thus the cost needed to cool your home. You can look into different options of creating shade if you do not already have any, such as planting a large tree or installing a veranda. This option may also help you save on water-cooling costs and other associated utilities. Coating your windows with sun and UV protection film or installing windows that are already covered with such protection can prevent your home being penetrated through the windows as well. Learn more about obtaining a personal loan that can help cover the cost of initial home improvement for your long-term savings.
Most families are shocked when they realize exactly how much water they go through in any given week or month just by doing routine activities like showering, dishwashing and laundry. Although water may not be your most expensive utility bill, the savings you can receive from cutting back on your water usage even by just 10 percent are noticeable over a long period of time. How can you save on water costs? The simplest way is to change your habits. Do not let the water run unnecessarily when showering, brushing your teeth or washing the dishes by hand. Try to only flush the toilet when necessary. Test your faucets and piping for leaks. Unnoticed leaks can go on for years, slowing ruining your home and costing you a fortune.
Buy Used Goods
Although some items are always best new (think underwear and bed pillows), the majority of things you need for your home can be purchased used or refurbished at highly discounted prices. Does it really make a difference if you have a brand new vacuum cleaner or a used one? You can save loads by making big purchases at used markets or local auctions. If none of these shops are around, then even big companies like Amazon and Apple sell used and refurbished products online at their own sites or third-party venues like eBay. Almost anything you need can be found used at a lower price online than at the store.
Sell What You Do Not Use
Along the same lines, there is no reason for your garage or attic to be overflowing with used baseball bats or kids’ clothes. You can clean up your space and make a few extra bucks if you ditch all the stuff you have not used in years. You may be surprised to see how many unnecessary items you have been lugging around. If there is a big purchase that you use rarely or that you consider to be a bit over the top, consider downgrading. For example, you could opt for the limited access gym pass that only allows you to enter the gym before noon every day since you tend to go to the gym before work. You can sometimes cut costs in half this way.
This may be the same advice you got from your grandmother back in the day, and it still holds true today. Luckily, the days of spending entire afternoons clipping coupons from the newspaper are long gone. Now, you can sign up for regular mailings of coupons for all sorts of products and services. If you are an online user, then many sites offer coupon codes with incredible discounts without even needing to sign up. In some cases, you can even buy coupon books with many coupons at steep discounts that can be used by the whole family in certain regions or industries. There are also coupon apps you can download.