Last week I showed you exactly how to create a budget no matter what you income and this week, we will continue the Budgeting 101 series with some information on cutting your monthly expenses.
Most people have the following expenses:
Of course some of these listed do not have much wiggle room and to go through every detail of each would take me writing a novel, but we can go through some of the most basic ways to save on these core monthly expenses.
While this might now be something you are interested in, you can refinance your home. You can lower your monthly payment by doing so, although you will need to take longer to pay it off as you do.
With rent, you may be able to lower it if you have a private landlord. It is trickier with a property management company to do this, but it may still be possible. One way to lower rent is to offer to do some maintenance or yard work for your landlord. I had a landlady that would allow my husband and I to water all her properties on the block all summer and would take $100 off our rent during that time. In the fall, we would rake leaves and she would do the same, so at least half the year, we got a lower rental rate.
There are the obvious ways to save energy and water, but did you know about these?
Make sure you weatherize your home in the fall for the cooler weather. Check for air leaks, change filters on your heater, replace caulking. You might now think this matters too much, but you can save yourself a lot of money by taking this extra step
Plug your shower when you take one so you are conscious of how much water you are using.
Unplug appliances when not in use. Did you know they continue to use small amounts of power even when you are not using them?
Switch off cable and switch to Netflix or Hulu. These services require a lot let per month and you can watch all your favorite shows on them.
If you must keep cable, call every month and see if there is a new special you can get in on that is lower than what you currently pay. Cable companies will often not tell you about them, but will adjust if you ask.
Shop around for internet providers. There is a lot of competition for this service and you can most likely find someone who will be lower than what you pay.
Make sure to check out my previous post on Saving on Gas.
Shop around for insurance. Prices can vary greatly from company to company and it is a good idea to shop around way before your policy runs out. Make sure to ask about discounts such as paperless bills, good student discounts, senior discounts and so on as they will often not tell you about them.
This could be a post all on it’s own, but make sure you compare prices. This is the biggest money saver anyone can do. Don’t just pay what you see on the shelves when you can get it cheaper elsewhere.
Eat at home as much as you can. Eating out is expensive and will waste a huge portion of your budget.
Buy in bulk when it makes sense and always shop in season.
Coupon for these. There are tons of coupons out there for personal care items, cleaners, and toilet paper.
Look for sales at grocery stores. Many people think grocery stores are too expensive to get these types of items, but most grocery stores offer great sales on them at least once a month.
Make some of your own cleaning items. This could also be a separate post, but if you Google it, you will find tons of ways to make everything from laundry soap to all-purpose cleaner.
Coupon for those Health Pain Relievers/Vitamins or consider buying generic if lesser cost
Tell your Doctor if you don’t have benefits so they can prescribe generics as well.
Look into your company benefits for savings of 50-100%.
Now that you know some of the ways you can save on your average monthly expenses, we will look at the best things to do with that money you are saving, next week.