There is no doubt that maintaining a household can be expensive. Often though it is the habits we develop over time that are our worst enemy and cause us to spend wastefully. Identifying those habits is often the first step in saving money and cutting costs each month.
Eat and drink from home
For one month, ask everyone in the family to keep track of how much they spend on food and drink away from home. You will likely be amazed. Whether it is coffee on the way to work, vending machine food from school, restaurant food at lunch, or the occasional take-out night at home, if you’re like most people, the amount you spend on food and drink away from home will be significant. Since this is all extra spending, brewing extra coffee at home in the morning to take with you, packing lunches, even buying snack foods in the grocery store and sending them in small bags to school can save you a lot of money over the course of a year.
Look at your home services
Many people pay more for their home services, such as cable, phone and Internet, than they should, simply because they automatically renew with their previous provider. Shop around, look for discounts offered for holding multiple services with the same company. Look as well at exactly what you’re paying for and whether you need it. If everyone in your home has a cell phone, maybe you don’t need a landline. If your family gets most of its movies and television from options like Netflix, maybe you don’t need the extensive cable package you signed up for all those years ago. Set a date and once a year look at what you’re paying for and whether you really need it.
Insurance can be flexible
Everyone knows that insurance is a necessity, and often something you pay for and never use. Understanding that, it’s important to compare both price and service. You don’t want to find you need the support of your insurance company and can’t get it because you opted for the cheapest company, so look for companies that are reputable, and talk to friends to see who they use and what their experience has been. Then, ask about options. What discounts might be available if you hold your home and car insurance with the same company? Can you reduce your monthly premium by increasing your deductible? Do you need collision? Does the provider offer car data monitoring that can add extra discounts if evidence shows you’re a good driver? Ask questions and you can save.
Watch for sales
Without suggesting you become a hoarder, watch for sales on things you buy regularly and buy more when the opportunity presents itself. There is no reason in the world to pay full price for toilet paper for instance. Buy more than one when it goes on sale and you’ll cut your costs in the long run. Watch for buy one get one half off deals on the same kinds of items. Once you learn how buying more sometimes costs you less, you’ll start saving money all year long. You should also know that packaging costs. Buying larger bags of chips or boxes of crackers and putting them into your own containers is much more cost effective than paying extra for the individual serving sizes where you pay for convenience more than anything else.
Keep track of what you save in a year, or take what you would have spent and didn’t and tuck it away in a special jar. At the end of the year, you may find that savings can pay for that next vacation or something special for the family and that would be money well spent.
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