10 Easy Ways to Minimize Your Household Expenses
Are you having trouble building up your savings? Running a household can be expensive. With so many different expenses, it’s easy for costs to get out of control unless you’re careful. You can certainly find more exciting ways to spend your money than paying too much to your auto insurance company! You can even add to your savings account each month.
Related post: Creating a Household Budget
10 Easy Ways to Avoid Spending More than Necessary on Household Expenses:
- Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications. Always ask if a generic version is available for your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Generics can cost as much as 85% less. There are also online services that will inform you of the best prices for your medications. GoodRx.com is a well-known example.
- Entertainment. Find ways to spend less money entertaining your family. Movie night at home costs a fraction of taking your family out to the movies. The park is free. During much of the year, the weekends offer various festivals and fairs that can be both fun and inexpensive.
- Cable TV. How many of your 172 stations do you actually watch? With much less expensive options like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, you might find something that will work for you at a much lower cost. You can check out a free trial for Amazon Prime and get access to thousands of movies and TV shows anytime.
- Cell phone. One of the reasons most monthly plans cell phone plans are so expensive is that the cost of the phone is included. You didn’t really think that fancy phone was free, did you? After your 2-year contract is up, you can continue using your phone and switch to a month-to-month plan that only costs about half as much. If you can do without a smartphone, there are options for as little as $15/month for basic phone and text message service.
- Groceries. Food is a significant and ongoing expense for all families. Eating out is especially expensive. Whether it’s morning gourmet coffee, going out for lunch every day, or taking the family out for dinner. The grocery store can also be an expensive place if you fail to keep the cost in mind. A family of four can easily spend $800 a month on food. This is an excellent category to minimize your expenses. Save by going to less expensive grocery stores such as Aldi, buying what's in season or on sale, and buying store brand items instead of name brands.
- Plant a garden. Not only can you grow a lot of your own food for practically free, but also there always seems to be more than you can eat. We planted eggplants this year and can't get over how many we have! We've had to get pretty creative with recipes. One option to help save money is to take the excess to a local farmers’ market and make a profit. Put that income towards the food purchases your garden can’t satisfy.
- Refinance your home or automobile. Compare the interest rate of your loans to the current interest rate. You might be able to reduce your monthly payment considerably. Be sure to factor in the cost of refinancing.
- Shop around for new insurance quotes. It’s a good idea to check your insurance rates at least every couple of years. Do some research and ensure that you’re paying the lowest rate for the coverage you require. An independent insurance broker can make this an easy task by shopping your rates for you.
- Ask for a reduction in your credit card interest rate. Many credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you just ask. They’d rather receive less interest than risk having you transfer your balance and cancel your current credit card account.
- Buy second-hand clothing. It’s easy to find perfectly good, brand-name clothing for as little as $2 per item. Consider how many pieces of clothing you own that you barely wear. There’s a lot of used clothing out there that’s practically brand new. I've ordered some great items for my kids from ThredUp. I've also sold lots of stuff on the site when clearing out clothes that no longer fit the kids.
It’s easy to believe that you’re already spending as little as possible on your household expenses. However, there are many ways to trim your expenses without dramatically altering your lifestyle. Spend your money on something more enjoyable or grow your savings for the future.
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