Running a busy household can be expensive. Many people end up with less money than there are days in each month. Unless you budget carefully, having many different expenses can lead to costs getting out of control. Without control over your household expenses, you will never be able to add to your savings account each month.
Here’s how to avoid spending more than you need to on 10 common household expenses:
Ask for a generic version of your prescription medicines. Generic medications may cost as much as 85% less than their name brand counterparts. Utilize online services that will help you shop around to learn the best prices for medication. One well-known example is GoodRx.com.
Entertaining your family does not have to be expensive. For example, matinee movie times are typically lower price than later primetime showings. Spending time in city parks is free. In cities of any size, there are various festivals and fairs year around that can be both fun and inexpensive.
3. Cable TV
How many of those 200+ channels do you actually watch? Less expensive options like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and YouTube can be satisfactory options for far less cost each month.
Most monthly phone plans are expensive because the cost of the phone is included. After the initial 2-year contract is over, you can continue using the same phone and switch to a month-to-month plan that only costs about half as much. Consider whether or not you need a smart phone. Basic call & text service can be had for as little as $15/month.
Groceries are a significant ongoing expense for families of all sizes. Eating in restaurants instead of at home is especially costly. Gourmet coffee each morning or going out for lunch at work can add up to thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Buying groceries to cook at home can also be an expensive endeavor if you fail to budget properly. Shop the perimeter of the store instead of the center aisles, buy generic labels instead of brand names, and avoid pre-packaged meals.
6. Plant a garden
You can grow a lot of your own food for the low cost of a few seeds and some time. If you have a surplus, try bartering with your neighbors.
7. Refinance your mortgage or automobile loan
Keep apprised of the current interest rates and compare it with what you’re currently paying. Refinancing a loan might reduce the monthly payment considerably, but be sure to factor in the cost of obtaining the new loan to make sure you’re saving money in the long run.
8. Shop around for insurance quotes
Check your insurance rates each year before renewing. Research your coverage and make sure that you’re paying the lowest rate for the coverage you need.
9. Ask for a lower interest rate on your credit cards
If your account is in good standing, most credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you simply ask. The company would rather keep your ongoing business at a lower rate than risk having you transfer your balance to another company.
10. Buy clothing secondhand
It’s common to find almost-new brand-name clothing at thrift shops and secondhand stores. If you have a lot of clothes that you don’t wear, consider selling some items on eBay or at a consignment shop.
It’s easy to think that you are currently spending as little as possible on your household expenses, but for most families it’s simply not the case when you add up the numbers. Thankfully, there are many ways to trim household expenses without altering your lifestyle.