Easy ways to save on everyday expenses
Gas. Food. Cable. Life. It seems like the cost of pretty much everything is rising. That's why it's important to save a buck whenever you can.
Easy ways to save on everyday expenses. Let's face it, life can get pretty expensive. And we're not talking about "nice-to-haves" like vacations or fancy cars. No, no. We're talking basic stuff, rent, groceries, even the upkeep on that 10-year-old minivan of yours.
And it seems like things get pricier and pricier every year, don't they? I mean, most families used to have one phone bill. Just one. Now, every member of the family needs a phone - uh, maybe even your sixth grader. Oh, and they eat data like candy, right? Oh, and speaking of eating, let's talk about how much the cost of food has gone up over the years, right alongside with the cost of gas.
So, what can you do about it? Well, a few small adjustments to your life can help you save more money. The good news is that you're in complete control of how much or how little you actually do, and any steps you take can affect your bottom line.
Let's start at the supermarket. There are so many ways that you can save money on your shopping bill, if you put a little effort into it. I mean, like anything else, having a game plan before you start can make a big difference in the outcome. That starts with the good old shopping list. Make one every time you go shopping, that way you only get what you need and won't buy all those little extras you see along the way. You know what I mean. And, switch to store brand groceries 'cause the, uh, private label foods are often 25% cheaper than name brands.
Another good way to save is also one of the most obvious: clipping coupons. Yeah, start with coupons available in your Sunday newspaper, right next to the funnies. But don't stop there, because there are many websites now that let you print coupons for free. There's a good list at the end of this video in the "What To Do Next” section. You'll save even more if you find a store that doubles coupons. And, many times, stores will align their sales with the coupons in the paper at that time, so scan your local circulars.
Oh, and don't forget to sign up for rewards programs, either. Uh, you know, from your bank or, uh, from the supermarket. Both can provide you with either discounts or cash back on the things you buy.
There are many other small changes you can make that can save you a lot of money over time. Uh, you know, like the things you drink, for instance, can really add up. You know, so instead of taking bottled water on the go with you, why not, uh, buy a filtered water bottle and fill it up with tap water instead, a little au natural? That little change can mean hundreds of dollars back in your pocket over the course of year.
And what about those fancy coffee drinks you get every day? Skip the latte every morning and brew your own at home, and you could save over $700 throughout the year. You heard right, $700.
And speaking of home brewing, what about home cooking? Cutting down on take-out food and restaurant meals can help you save significantly as well. So dust off those cookbooks, because cooking at home can save you hundreds a year, especially when you consider that the average family spends close to half of its food budget on meals away from home.
Now that's just the tip of the savings iceberg. Let's talk about ways for you to save big - really big - on your bills. Nowadays, everybody has cable, but its cost just seems to go up and up every year. According to SmartMoney.com, the average monthly bill is around 86 bucks. Imagine having an extra $1,032 a year to sock away. Huh, well you can still get all the entertainment you want without shelling out that kind of cash.
For example, if your TV can receive a digital broadcast signal, then an antenna is all you need to watch your local channels for free. Even if you have an older analog TV set, an inexpensive converter box and antenna will do the trick for you. Better yet, if you want to see the latest movies, use an online DVD rental membership, or even those self-serve DVD machines at your local grocery store. You can even watch many of your favorite TV shows online now.
If you decide you can't live without cable, like me, then try bundling it with your Internet service and even a landline telephone. So call your cable provider. They can help you get into a cheaper package or a specific bundled offer, but you have to call them in order to get it.
And while we're talking landlines, uh, if you've got one, how much are you really using it? Why not ditch it altogether? If you've got a cell phone, it's redundant and expensive to also pay for a landline. But the phone savings should not stop there. Data and texting plans for your cell phone - oh, those can be very costly. So, look at how much you're really using those plans, and if you can manage on a smaller plan, change it. You could save big over the course of a year.
Let's look at your mortgage or rent next. Keep your eye on the rates, because if they drop or if they're lower than your current rate, you could free up several hundred dollars for your family's budget every month by refinancing. Or, if you rent, it never hurts to ask your landlord if they may be willing to give you a better deal so you'll renew your lease. Very smart.
And when it comes to bills, if you have a number of balances across many credit cards with, with high interest rates and other consumer debts like, uh, let's say student loans, yeah, you know, you might consider consolidating your debt to pay it off more quickly. That may save you on interest every month and add to your bottom line.
There's also things you can do around the house. Let's start with the lights. Shut them off while you're not using them. Simple, right? I mean, but you'd really be surprised how much money you can save by turning off the lights when you're not in a room.
Another easy idea is to use a programmable thermostat. They're relatively easy to install and they can also help you save significantly on your heating bill by lowering the temperature automatically while you’re not home or asleep.
And don’t forget to live green. The average family spends $1,900 dollars a year on energy bills. You can find other ways to save by doing a home energy audit using a free calculator developed by the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program. Yes, you will find it at EnergyStar.gov.
You know, you'll benefit financially by switching up your entertainment rituals, too. Matinees and early shows are always cheaper when going to the movies. Or, sample that hot new restaurant in town during lunch hours when menu prices tend to be less expensive, instead of going for dinner. And, while you're dining out, instead of ordering a soda or juice, why not ask for tap water?
And, uh, if you drive to work, try carpooling or switch to public transportation. Bus and train commuters can save thousands of dollars per year over drivers. And sharing a ride can dramatically help you save, because you're cutting gas costs, not to mention wear and tear bills. Also, it's green.
Saving more money, something we all want to do more of, especially when you've got tips like this to get you started. Now, whether it's a simple change - like making your own coffee or something requiring a little more effort, like bundling your cable, phone, and Internet services - when you get creative with your efforts to save, it can really pay off.
So, if you keep track of your progress with a budget, you might be surprised that the little changes you make along the way can help to fatten up your piggy bank. And really, what's better than a fat and happy piggy bank?
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