It is a good idea to review your household budget annually, to ensure that you are spending your money wisely. The first thing you should do is to take a look at your spending habits. Every household has fixed expenses such as: utility bills, insurance, and mortgage or rent payments. Many individuals however, also spend an inordinate amount of money on nonessential items, which could be anything from dining out to coffee and donuts every morning. If you spend $10 everyday on breakfast, it would equate to $3,650 ($10 per day x 365 days) on breakfast annually. If you’re married, and both you and your spouse spend $10 dollars each day for breakfast and damage is double.
As an alternative, you could make coffee at home and have a less expensive breakfast bar. When you break your house expenses down this way, you see small changes can make a significant difference. Many small changes may equal multiple rent or mortgage payments or even an annual vacation for you and your family. Each compromise you make can add up to significant savings. You might be surprised at how much money you can really save by taking a look at your spending habits and making adjustments. The following suggestions are nine ways a typical household can save money.
1. Credit Cards – If you carry a balance on your credit card(s) you are paying a significant interest expense per year. If you have a $10,000 balance on your credit card(s) and have a 10% interest rate, you are paying $1000 a year is interest. Work to pay off credit cards.
2. Consolidate Debt- If you have a significant amount of credit card debt, you may want to consider a consolidation loan, or if you are a homeowner a home equity loan. This may allow you to significantly reduce the amount of interest you are paying per year.
3. Eat at Home More Often – This may be easier said than done, especially if both you and your spouse work, but planning to eat at home one more day per week will not only save money, but likely be healthier for your family.
4. Thermostat – Energy costs are a significant part of any household budget. Turning the temperature down 1 or 2 degrees in the winter and running the air conditioner less in the summer can be a significant savings.
5. Turning the Lights off- If you have children, there is likely a sizeable savings to be had by turning off lights, TVs, and electronic devices when they are not being used.
6. Planning Your Meals – Before you go shopping, plan your meals. By planning your meals before shopping, you will likely do less impulsive buying. Buy in bulk and use generic products whenever possible.
7. Use Coupons- Look for coupons in your Sunday paper or on the Internet, use the coupons to plan your meals and stock up on essential items.
8. Phone Line – Do you still have a landline in your house? If you have cell phones and an Internet connection that does not rely on your landline, you may want to cancel your landline service.
9. Insurance- Before renewing your existing auto, home, and term life insurance policies, call your insurance agent and ask them how you can lower your insurance costs. Can you live with a higher deductible? Do you have insurance that is not needed?
10. Keep track of your spending; this will help you eliminate impulsive purchases. After you track your spending habits over a few months, you can clearly see what you are spending your money on and you will have the information needed to create a monthly budget that will help you get your financial house in order.