Saving money is something we should all be aiming for. The rainy day might never arrive but if it does, and you don’t have anything banked – it can be a tough time. But before people can save adequately, they need to be able to know where the money is coming in and where it is going again. 

Often people spend a lot of money by buying small cheap things. You don’t notice the small amount of dollars on coffees, branded items, ‘treats’ and other little bits. But if you have a monthly budget, then you can really pay attention to what is going on. 

Here are some ways to cut down on your expenses. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Food

Groceries are one of those things we all need. But we don’t all need the $5 box of cereal when in fact the $1 bag of oats will do.  Eating out often combined with purchases we don’t need start to add up pretty quickly. So how do you cut that down?

Prep

Once a week, typically a Sunday, write your meal plan for the week. Include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then batch cook it. By batch cooking, you aren’t going to need to pick things up on the way home, you won’t suddenly get to Friday and have no lunch for the kids. Doing it all in advance will mean nothing extra is purchase, and nothing is wasted. 

Take-out

While there is no harm in a takeaway once in a while, you should look to cut back on this to not more than once a month. It is a huge time saver, and a little bit of a luxury for most families, but when it comes down to it, a single take-out can cost as much as half of your weekly groceries. Which is pretty massive. (And, probably not worth the time). 

Branded Food Items

Pretty much all branded items have a much cheaper alternative. Start picking up the cheaper versions instead. You’ll find that you can save a few dollars per item. Which really adds up pretty quickly. If you are a stickler for ingredients, then find the non-branded items with the closest ingredients list. It will taste almost identical. 

Bulk

Bulk buying is in. Coupons and vouchers mean that some people, extreme coupon cutters, save hundreds of dollars and month. You’ll need to spend some time looking for the best coupon sites, maybe join a few facebook groups where they will tell you the best places to look and what has the most significant discounts. They all started somewhere too, and won’t mind helping you. 

Soap, toilet roll, long life milk, sponges, and so much more. Anything non-perishable should be purchased in bulk. 

Energy & Electrical

You can’t go without heat, electricity and most other utilities but you probably could be saving money on the plans that you have. 

Lights

A very simple change is to swap out all of the lightbulbs in your home for LED bulbs, or the ones that are branded as energy saving. They last much longer than typical bulbs and give a great light. You can compare the light bulbs easily by reading the lumens on the side of the box. This higher the lumens, the more light will be emitted from that bulb. 

Timers

Smart homes are more energy efficient and save money. But getting the money together to install everything can be difficult. So, instead, you can get a plug-in electricity timers. Install them on everything that can be turned off overnight. If you head to bed around 10pm every night, have everything turn itself off at 10.30. Standby isn’t as power saving as you might assume. 

Compare

Compare all of your energy providers. And then get to work on things like your internet, water, and phone. You might find with a Verizon promo code you are saving a lot more than you though on your mobile provider. You can call up the companies that you are with now and ask them about other plans, and if you don’t feel like you can save as much as you want there. Start to check out comparison websites. 

Temperature

A great option is to install a smart thermostat. But, if you can stretch to that just yet, there are other ways to manage the amount of heating you are using. Hot water accounts for around 14% of all energy costs. Most of the time, people keep water much hotter than they need it, or that is worthwhile. So you will be continually burning energy in a bit to keep the water too hot. 

Simply turn the temperature of your water down. 

Consider if you need the heating on, or some socks and a jumper. Artificial heating is a considerable expense over the winter months and one that you could probably bypass by adding an extra layer of clothing. 

Entertainment

If you have subscriptions to everything but find that you are only using one of those things regularly, it is time for a review. 

Swap

Swap nights out to the movies for nights in with friends. Unless you are desperate to see the latest release you can have a great night in with your favourite people, in your PJs and a movie. It is much cheaper. 

In most cases, you can swap more expensive entertainment options for cheaper ones in the home. Of course, you shouldn’t deprive yourself if it is a treat you have once every few months. 

30 Days

This is a rule to live by. Anything that doesn’t come under groceries or immediate –  implement a 30-day rule. From the moment you see the item start a 30-day timer, if at the end of the 30 days you really still want it, decide if you could wait for another 30 or have to buy it. This will help curb that impulse buying habit that so many of us have. 

So there you have it, quick ways to save cash – without ditching too much of the stuff you love.

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