Living from one pay period to the next and feeling that you are always scraping the barrel for cash can be highly stressful. When we do not have enough money to spend on the activities we enjoy, save for a vacation, or for our retirement, it can feel like we are only living to work. Whether you are struggling to make ends meet or looking to free up some money for savings (or to pay down credit cards), this article highlights some tips and ideas on reducing your household outgoings. Not all of the ideas will work for you, but they may inspire you to think a little differently about your budget.
Consider selling your car
The idea of selling your car might be a difficult one to comprehend but running and maintaining a car is one of the biggest parts of a household budget. If you do not have a car, you do not need to pay for fuel, insurance, maintenance, taxes, and registration costs. With some planning, you should be able to travel around using public transport, cycling, or walking. It will also do wonders for your physical fitness.
If getting rid of your car is not an option, there may be ways to reduce its running costs, such as finding cheaper insurance at kbdinsurance.com, switching to a more fuel-efficient car, or to an electric vehicle which is usually cheaper to run, maintain, and tax.
Be smarter about grocery shopping
After a car, the household food budget is one of the biggest expenditures, but the average household wastes nearly half of the food they buy. There are lots of ways to reduce how much you spend on food, such as meal planning, buying ingredients in bulk, swapping branded products for store versions, using coupons, and cooking batches of meals to freeze for eating later.
Rethink your entertainment subscriptions
If you are paying for monthly memberships and subscriptions (e.g., gym membership, magazine subscriptions) and entertainment streaming services, the costs can add up to more than you might realize. Take a look at everything that you are paying for and think carefully about what you do or don’t need. Paying for cable television, for example, is a big outgoing that probably isn’t necessary, especially when you consider how many free digital channels are available.
Give up your cellphone, or switch to a cheaper plan
In the modern world, just about everyone carries a cellphone, and many of us pay far more than we need to for the latest models and every possible feature. However, in reality, a cellphone is not a necessity. What do you use your cellphone for? If you are just using it to call family and friends from home, could you do that for free via a video call platform? At the very least, do some research to find out if switching to a cheaper plan could work.
Swap new for used
When shopping for clothes, furniture, and household appliances, many people automatically buy new. This is the more expensive option and is also not particularly good for the environment. Buying used items from friends, family, thrift stores, or online marketplaces will save you money, avoid unnecessary wastage, and reduce the demand for new products.
Downsize to a more affordable home
In extreme cases, it may be worth giving some serious thought to downsizing to a more affordable home. Of course, this would take considerable research, planning, and professional advice, but in the long run, it could significantly improve your quality of life. By moving to a smaller home, you should be able to save money on your mortgage/rent, taxes, and utilities.