All working families understand how expensive life is month in month out. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, having enough to cover the basics can seem like an impossible task let alone finding the cash to save. Some months you might feel like you’re doing really well and then boom, your health care premiums go up, or everybody in the house needs new shoes at the same time, and suddenly, your savings disappear as though it was never there.
Making ends meet is the aim of the game for a significant amount of American families. A recent study indicated that 52 percent of men and 61 percent of women do not have money held back to cover living costs for six months in the case of an emergency. These are alarming statistics, but for many people probably unsurprising.
Prioritize The Important Things
The first thing to do when trying to save money is to look at what you are spending already and see if you can trim it down. Are you paying for costly gym memberships, phone contracts or after school activities, and could any of them be reduced or eliminated? Maybe you buy a $3 coffee every day at work without thinking about it, but if you eliminate that cost, you could save $60 a month straight away. Go over your monthly statement and see whether there are leisure or luxury items that could be sacrificed in order to build more savings. If you like to drink, try a one month detox and put what you would normally spend into a savings account. If you normally drive your kids to school or yourself to work, get the bicycles out of retirement and pedal about your business. What started as money saving initiatives could also improve your health.
Beware of Brand Loyalty
Research your current service providers and see if you could be getting a better deal elsewhere. Don’t stick with the same company out of brand loyalty, and don’t let laziness stop you from saving money on those core utility bills. If you find a better deal somewhere else, take it to your current service provider and see if you could make some savings. If you always buy big brands in the supermarket, pick the home brands next time.
Save On Your Energy Bills
To save on electricity; make sure that all lights are turned off when you are not using them, that if electricity devices aren’t in use, they are unplugged, and that nobody is running inefficient and outdated equipment. Don’t put the washing machine on if it is only half full, and when you dry your clothes, hang them on a washing line during the summer and over a radiator in the winter. If you can coax your children into washing up sometimes, you also get to reduce the amount you use the dishwasher. Make sure your insulation is keeping the most amount of heat in possible, and I f your lights are not energy efficient, change the bulbs as a matter of urgency. If your thermostat is set high, reduce it and get layering. These things in isolation may seem minor, but done all at once, they could save you serious dollars. If you make all these changes and you are still spending too much on utilities, maybe your key appliances are invisible money leaks and need updating.
Know When to Spend
A false economy is a saving that actually ends up costing you more money. For example, by buying a car that is really cheap, you risk it only lasting a year. If you buy really cheap trash bags, you may have to use multiple layers for the same contents. In your life, there will be things that you can save on and things you simply can’t. There’s no point having an expensive phone, for example, if it’s not adequately protected. Get a good insurance policy and also make sure you have a strong case for it that can endure a few bashes and scrapes, check out Custom Envy and see if you can get something that looks good at the same time.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Whether you love cooking, or do it merely as a perfunctory chore, unless you are incredibly frugal already there are almost certainly ways you could be saving on your weekly food bill. Research ways to make tasty food for less and you’ll be saving money in no time. Plan what you are going to have each day of the week and take into account what ingredients you will need for each meal, the more crossover between ingredients the greater quantity you can buy in and the more money you will save.
Look into Short Term Rentals
Even if you don’t have a spare room, you can make money from your home when you or one of your family members are away. Rental websites like Airbnb have brought with them a whole new way to make quick cash from your home. If you have friends or parents in the area, see if you could go and stay for a couple of nights in a month, and arrange sleepovers for the kids perhaps. If the idea of people staying in your house makes you uncomfortable, think about the money you could make. Besides, you do not all have to go. A weekend of rental per month could become your savings.
Be Firm With Yourself
Saving money is not easy, it is hard and the minute adjustments you have to make can feel like they aren’t doing anything. It is easy to get frustrated and think that what you are doing is pointless, then discount all your adjustments and go on a big shopping trip. If you are firm and consistent and stick to whatever plan you put in place, you will save money. Making savings is a bit like getting fit – the odd trip to the gym doesn’t help much, but when you’ve been doing it for a year, you will definitely notice the results.