We all want to have some extra money in our accounts for several reasons; we’re saving for something big, we want an emergency fund, or we’re trying to give ourselves a financial safety net in case our circumstances change. There are two ways to go about this; you can work extra hours, take on more assignments, and hope that you’ll get paid enough overtime to give your bank balance a significant boost. Alternatively, you could make some cuts in your spending at home, allowing your income to grow a little more. Here are a few ways you could reduce your bills and build up your savings.
Cut down your energy bills
If your energy bills are the biggest expense in your household, the easiest way to start saving on this is to make your home environmentally friendly. Start by switching to energy efficient LED bulbs, unplugging all appliances you’re not using, and insulating your home so you don’t need to turn up your thermostat as much. Doing these small things can reduce your energy consumption, saving you money on your bills each month and helping the environment. If you want to do a little more to help your energy bills, you can improve the insulation in your building, and upgrade to double-glazed windows; doing this will reduce the amount of heat that escapes your house by at least 25 percent, which will cut down on your use of the thermostat each winter. Finally, if you have enough in your budget for new appliances, you could shop around for an energy-efficient fridge. Refrigerator technology has made dramatic strides since the 1970s, so you’re actually wasting more money by not buying a new fridge. Any other eco-friendly appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, may seem expensive initially, but it is estimated that you will use a significantly less amount of energy with a green appliance than you will with its predecessor.
Buying groceries on a budget is a struggle for a lot of people for various reasons. The best thing you can do to keep your food bills low is to find ways to reduce the amount of waste you throw away each week. Fortunately, there are several more ways to reduce your food bill each week, including shopping for cheaper store brands, buying non-perishables items in bulk, or sticking to a shopping list. You can also save money on food by avoiding takeaways, packing a lunch to take to work, or freezing your leftovers to eat them later. Wherever you can, take advantage of special offers, reduced food, or check out Coupon Sherpa - Coupons, Promo Codes & Printable Coupons and print out all the coupons you can find before you go out to the store. The best thing about online coupons is that you can find some for almost any store, so you can treat yourself to a discounted shopping spree on your next payday.
With the price of gas constantly changing, your car is an unpredictable money pit, and that’s before you even factor in the monthly payments, insurance, and unexpected repairs. You can save money and still keep your car by only using it for long trips, such as family vacations. In the meantime, there are plenty of public transport options to suit your lifestyle. Monthly bus passes are more than worth their value if you take the bus to work every day. Carpooling with a colleague splits the cost of gas, and can reduce traffic if enough people get in on the scheme. Finally, if you’re going out for the night and don’t have a volunteer for designated driver, Uber can save you the trouble of standing out in the cold to call a cab.
Cut back on unnecessary luxuries
There are two different kinds of luxuries; there’s the necessary kind, which helps you to relax after work, provides you with an outlet for your stress, and which doesn’t cost too much money so cutting it out won’t make too much of a difference to your budget. Then there’s the unnecessary kind, which costs a lot of money, you barely use, and you might not even miss if you stopped doing it. For example, you might pay around $25 a month for your gym membership because you got a great deal, you wanted to improve your body shape, and it’s the only thing encouraging you to exercise. Unfortunately, if you don’t go to the gym at least three times a week, you’re usually not getting your money’s worth out of the membership. This is especially true when there are so many way to work out for free in the comfort of your home. Magazine subscriptions are another drain on your savings. Try cancelling all your subscriptions and only renew the ones you actually find yourself missing, or just buy the occasional issue when you see it in the stores.
DIY as much as you can
Sometimes the best way to save money is by doing little things by yourself. When things break around the house, try doing your own home repairs; blocked sinks, leaky faucets, and holes in the wall should be easy enough for any novice to handle, but you should remember to call a professional if things appear to be above your level of expertise.
Another form of DIY you can adopt is making home remedies for minor illnesses instead of going to the pharmacist for OTC medication, or save money on expensive cleaning products by simply making your own at home using vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. There are even a few recipes for home beauty products, so you could treat yourself to a spa day at a tiny fraction of the price. Each remedy only requires things you’d put on your grocery list.
Finally, if you’re handy with a needle, or you’re lucky enough to have a sewing machine, you can prolong the life of your wardrobe by repairing your old clothes instead of always buying new ones.
This is a contributed post.