Money Saving Tips For Around Your Home
Money Saving Tips For Around Your Home
Your wages hit your account. For a moment, you feel rich, blessed and with a world of possibilities ahead of you. Then you begin separating it out into a budget. It’s a miserable experience, as the leftover fun money begins to dwindle down and down. If you’re lucky, you’re left with a small surplus to do with as you see fit – but too many people don’t even have that.
With the cost of living rising and wages remaining static, balancing the household books can be a tightrope walk. If you’re constantly feeling like you’re in danger of falling, then let’s throw a bunch of ideas at the wall and see what sticks. Some may not be appropriate to your situation and family; others might just not be your kind of thing. But a few should rise to the top like good cream, giving you a chance to find some breathing space – and not spend your life waiting for the next pay day. We’ll cover both ways to cut back, and to bring a little extra cash flow into your life.
#1 – Mortgage or rent costs
If you have a mortgage, then make sure it’s on the cheapest rate available to you. Remortgaging is a great way to free up some extra cash, but you need a good credit record for the best deals. Don’t make any applications for credit six months before applying.
Renting is difficult, as rents tend to rise rather than fall in a market flooded with renters. Think about downsizing or moving if you can tolerate the idea. Spare rooms can be rented out to students. If you have a driveway you’re not using, then consider renting it out to commuters who will find it cheaper than normal parking.
#2 – Bank Fees
If you’re paying money for your bank account, why? Sometimes they have bundled deals like cellphone or travel insurance, but not always at the best rates. Do your research and see if you’d be better off paying for these things separately and using a fee-free account.
#3 – Heating and cooling
Check your home is energy efficient, so you’re not having to spend more on this area than you should. Check for info from Save Home Heat and similar services, which can help with this as can smart meters. Always review your payments and search for better tariffs on an annual basis.
#4 – Makeup and beauty products
There is precious little evidence that brand-name products are actually better for you than those from a drugstore. You can check online for good “dupes” of high-end products, some of which have better reviews but are half the price.
#5 – Your opinion has value
If you like the idea of being paid to give businesses feedback, then participating in market research and mystery shopping could be for you. You’ll usually be paid in cash for the visit, and get to keep the product you buy or be reimbursed for food and drink eaten.
#6 – Take the same principle online
Online opinion sites are a growing field. It’s never going to be a career, but you could find a few extra dollars per month to save towards Christmases and birthdays.
#7 – Plan ahead
The best time to buy Christmas decorations is right after Christmas. The same goes for anything annual, such as outdoor furniture or winter clothing. Buying out-of-season when items are on sale can save you a fortune, so long as you have somewhere to store them when they aren’t needed.
#8 – Change how you drive
If gas is a huge expense, then the way you drive could be influencing it. Use the brake as seldom as possible; instead, remove your foot from the gas and let the car come to a natural stop. When you brake, you kill the kinetic energy you built up by using the gas, so do this wherever safe. Also avoid filling your tank fully; the extra weight of the fuel contributes to how quickly it will be burnt. Keep on half-full and be aware of your nearest gas stations.
On the subject of cars, clean out your air filter on a regular basis. This can make your gas consumption 7% more efficient. That can save you up to $100 for every 10,000 miles driven – essential if you’re on the road a lot.
#9 – Buy in bulk
It’s an old money-saving favorite, but it’s not practical for many families. If you don’t have the storage space, consider forming a co-operative with a few neighbors in the same position as you. You can share the costs of storage and get bigger discounts.
#10 – Coupon
You might not have the time to dedicate to extreme couponing, but even cutting and keeping a few per week will make a difference in the long run. Keep an eye especially for items that go on sale that you can match with a coupon, to double the savings.
#11 – Watch your bank statement like a hawk
A shockingly high number of people have no idea how much they pay out for different services every month. It makes sense to separate your finances into a bills account and a general usage account. That way, you know what is going out and when. Being hit with late payment or overdraft fees is miserable, but by being more diligent, it can be a thing of the past.
#12 – Switch to modern conveniences
You don’t need to spend money on a phone call when various online providers will let you talk to someone in real-time for free. Use the messaging function on popular apps rather than sending text messages, especially if you can connect to Wifi to do it.
#13 – Get rid of your cleaning products
They’re expensive, they’re potentially toxic and they might not even be that efficient. Old-school cleaning is making a comeback, and it’s possible to clean a house with baking soda and vinegar alone. You can substitute in a few extras for more cleaning power, too. For example, glass – it’s a pain to clean and no one likes to see windows with greasy streaks. Rather than using an expensive specialist product, dust a thin layer of arrowroot powder or cornstarch onto the surface. You can then wipe it clean with a paper towel, as the powder absorbs the grease. Each application will cost pennies, and it’s better for you as well.
#14 – Watch your water usage
You may be familiar with the phrase “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down”. If you’re not already doing this in the bathroom, start. You can take advantage of free rainwater for your garden by installing a water butt. If you’re a fan of baths, then once done, fill the water cistern with what’s leftover and use it to flush. A little extra time to do these things can make a big difference to your water usage.
#15 – See the thermostat as a money drain
Every click higher, the more money you use. Get the family into the habit of layering up rather than turning the heating on, or using small spray water bottles instead of central air. It’s cheaper to invest in some snuggly throws than sit watching TV with the heating turned up during winter. `
#16 – Avoid branded medications
Medications can be punishingly expensive, but often you’re only paying for a brand name. Look around and check online sources for generic equivalents before paying for any prescription. You can also ask your prescribing doctor to only prescribe for the active medicinal compound rather than a brand name, to make this even easier.
#17 – Reuse and repurpose
Before you throw anything away, ask yourself if there is another use for it. Old makeup brushes make excellent painting tools for DIY, just perfect for those small, awkward areas. A pair of jeans too frayed to be presentable can be cut down to make cleaning cloths. Even milk cartons can be repurposed to protect plants from pests and yard animals that might like to snack on them. For every item you find a second purpose for, it’s akin to getting the money back for the purchase cost.
#18 – Turn the lights off
The modern convenience of electricity has made us all lazy in this regard. Use candles for a cheap source of light in the evenings – they create a better ambience anyway. If you need something brighter so you can read, try clip-on LEDs that are run by batteries. You can up the savings even more by investing in rechargeables – you will save the purchase price back in under six months.
#19 – Don’t let online accounts store your bank or card details
It’s far too easy on impulse to just click and buy. If you have to go through the process of finding and inputting your card details with every purchase, you’ll think more about what you’re doing.
#20 – Eat nuts
If you have a snacking problem, then it might not be your fault. When our blood pressure dips, we’re more likely to just want to grab something quickly to pick it back up. It’s a terrible time for trying to stop ourselves from an impulse purchase. Nuts have been proven to sustain good blood sugar levels, so eat a small handful with every meal.