Save Money on Monthly Expenses
No matter what your income, on one wants to overspend on expenses. But, if you are on a budget, at some point the question comes into play – How to save money on monthly expenses. The answer is not simple, though a little bit of behavioral change, can help you find a lot of ways to save money on monthly expenses; and therefore strengthening your finances. Here are 10 great ways, illustrating, some easy ways to save money on monthly expenses.
1. PHONE AND INTERNET FACILITIES
- Don’t keep several phone lines at home when you can use a single cell phone to receive most of your calls.
- For internet packages, research different service providers and select a package based on your monthly service use.
- Try to use a WiFi device to connect with multiple devices including tablets, cell phones, PC’s etc.
- Use email and online chat to communicate with friends and associates to reduce costs on phone bills. Most landline phone services offer free long distance.
2. COUPON CODES
Today you can find several legitimate sites flooded with lots of coupon codes, offering discounts, points to receive free samples, free shipping offers, and much more. Sources like Groupon, are great to receive coupons for groceries, clothing, restaurants, and many other purchases. I caution you to make sure you absolutely need and can afford the discounted item. In other words, don’t get caught in the trap of purchasing items, just for the discounts. It is best to get manufacture coupons directly from the company or stores website to make sure they are legitimate.
3. DIY METHODS
Maid Services: Many people are busy, and therefore hire out home services. Some of the services are affordable, but some are not. One of the most common services hired on a regular basis is a maid for cleaning services. You can place cleaning chores on a schedule and do your own household chores. This will require a bit of effort, but the weekly savings is substantial.
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Laundry Services: Do your own laundry. Some folks get so busy, they drop off laundry to have it done at a Laundry Mat. Do your own laundry, while you are watching TV or some other mundane activity. Dry cleaning is another story, some clothes must be dry cleaned, check to see if some of your dry cleanable clothes can be carefully hand washed to avoid the dry cleaning bill.
You can apply DIY methods in a lot of areas of household tasks; including general household painting, sewing your clothes or curtains, decorating your home, making small fancy items such as bags or belts. Always make sure you have conducted detailed research before implementing DIY projects. There is qualified research all over google.
4. ELECTRICITY BILLS
Many people do not realize the importance of resorting to research, for saving money on electrical bills. If you are eager to know the many ways to save money on electrical bills, then here are a few tricks you can follow.
- During the winter you can keep the windows closed and let the light come in during the day, avoiding the use electrical lighting.
- Some LED lights, chargers, and appliances are available with solar panels that help you charge devices or energize light, using solar energy. This will help you save money on electrical bills.
- While purchasing electronic appliances, choose products with a five-star rating that consumes minimal energy.
- While using a water heater to warm up water for washing utensils, clothes, or bathing purposes, the maximum temperature required is 120 degrees. Lowering the temperature settings to this level helps to cut cost on power usage. If you will be out of town for an extended period of time, you will definitely want to lower your hot water heater settings.
- Always remember to turn off appliances when they are not in use, or switch off the lights when you are not in the room.
5. USE REWARDS CREDIT CARDS
There is competition among the credit card providers that prompt them to offer cash back and discounts on the products purchased using your card. Hence, if you are shopping in a mall, you will have to pay the full price if you opt for cash/check payment methods. A credit card, used sparingly, can help you save up to 15% to 30% through discount offers. I caution those who have spending addictions, to use cash instead, so they will not overspend. The airline rewards can be substantial if you are in a business of frequent travel or other business spending where a credit card is necessary.
6. REDUCE COST OF FUEL
The fuel costs are rising with undue intensity. Expenses on gas for cars, homes, and other uses can be controlled, but with work.
For saving money on cooking gas you can either use solar if you have the panels or use electrical kitchenware, such as a microwave or induction ovens to prepare food faster. Some municipalities offer a huge rebate for installing solar panels. In some cases, the rebate pays for the installation and cost.
While traveling to your office, schools and regular grocery shopping to locations near your home, avoid taking your car. Use public transportation facilities such as bus, train, tram etc. Alternatively, you can also establish a group of people who can travel in a single vehicle and share the fuel costs in a carpool.
7. FOOD ITEMS
You can save a lot of money limiting your expenses on daily grocery shopping.
Beverages: Avoid costly beverages at coffee shops or restaurants. Opting for a simple cup of coffee over a Cappuccino, can save $3 per cup, or roughly or $90 to $180 per month on 1-2 cups of coffee.
Office Lunch: Try to carry your lunch from home. This costs around $5-$20 everyday compared to the cost of preparing lunch at home can save you as much as $5-$10 per day.
Shop for Ingredients: Always purchase unpacked fresh fruits, vegetables, and unprepared food. They are cheap and healthy too.
- Research the opportunities to buy clothes during seasonal sales for greater discounts.
- Do not purchase too many clothes for daily wear that require dry cleaning.
- While washing clothes use mild detergents, cold water, and avoid dryers. All of these will add to the longevity of your clothes.
- Check your wardrobe before going out so that you purchase only necessary replacements. Save money by avoiding random and unplanned shopping, in other words — stay out of the stores, if you don’t absolutely need anything.
Friends and relatives are of great importance to everyone. So sending gifts and messages on special occasions such as birthdays, marriages, Christmas etc. is extremely important. Try to purchase combo packages that cost less. Wrap your own gifts, it is cheaper. While ordering gifts online, always take the “free shipping” option. Purchase less expensive items, and use coupons to reduce costs during the holiday shopping season. Create a holiday budget, and shop from your budget.
[sociallocker] Every year people spend a whole lot of money on watching TV, movies, reading books etc. The expenses with monthly cable bills, can be far more expensive than watching free TV online. Be selective in watching new films and use coupon codes to receive discounts on movie ticket prices.
For watching old movies, get free videos from your library. You can also get a library membership for reading books for free, of course and using their computers.
While passing through financial crunches, people often wonder- “How do I save money on monthly expenses”, on daily living, while at the same time, taking care of themselves of their family. A little bit of budgeting and wise spending can help you save a lot of money without compromising the essentials or your lifestyle.[/sociallocker]
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Saving money is not that difficult, as many of you think. In fact, for most of you saving money is very easy, the problem is, you are not aware of your options when it comes to various vehicles of savings. Here is a quick list of five savings vehicles.
1. Pay off your most expensive debt first
The best investment most borrowers can make is to pay off consumer debt with double-digit interest rates. For example, if you have a $3,000 credit card balance at 19.8%, and you pay the required minimum balance of 2% of the balance or $15, whichever is greater, it
will take 39 years to pay off the loan. And you will pay more than $10,000 in interest charges. You can pay off that card early by adding an extra $30 to $100 a month to principle only, and avoid thousands of dollars in interest.
2. Purchase a home and pay it off before retirement
The largest asset most middle-income families have is their home equity. Once you have made your last mortgage payment, you have far lower housing expenses, since your monthly payment can be one of your highest cost. You also have an asset that can be borrowed on in emergency or converted into cash through the sale of your home. Borrowing against your home turns it from an asset to a liability again, which I do not recommend. Even when the home is paid off, you will still have to pay taxes, utilities and maintenance cost.
3. Fund your employee retirement program or loose
Many employees turn down free money from their employer by not signing up for a work-related retirement program such as a 401(k) plan. If you do participate, with a dollar-for-dollar match you would likely receive an annual yield of greater than 100% on your
investment. Not all employees match to that extent, and some do not match at all, but even if they don’t match, if you participate, you
will have tax-free savings and retirement for the future.
4. Save monthly through an automatic transfer from checking to savings
A savings account will provide funds for emergencies, home purchase, school tuition, or even retirement. Almost all banking institutions will, on request, automatically do a monthly transfer of funds from your checking account to your savings account, in the form of a U.S. savings bond, mutual fund, certificate of deposit, or money market account. You have a whole host of options for savings. What you don’t see, you probably won’t miss.
5. Learn and understand low cost mutual funds
If you choose the right mutual funds you can increase your wealth substantially over the years. Some mutual funds have horribly high cost and use high risk financial sources to fund them. Learn how to evaluate low risk, low cost mutual funds as a means of investing. There are low cost low risk mutual funds that average 3% – 9% interest, and everything in-between, see fidelity mutual funds.
Understand how to research mutual funds with this easy to use eBook, Learn Investing., and understand how to choose a mutual fund through research.
Career Transition Financial Tips and Budget Planning
Budget Planning, Career, and Finances are at the top of everyone’s minds these days. You can’t listen to the news or read the newspaper without hearing some mention of the economy. Those who are in a career transition—or soon to be—may already be stressed out by financial issues.
A recent financial adviser forum I attended provided five Budget Planning Financial tips on financial management for those in transition at a Career Networking Group.
1) Write Down Your Monthly Budget
Budget Planning 101: This is a scary and painful word for some people but having a written budget plan is a critical first step for those who need to manage their money—especially those in transition. A written budget plan spelling out the exact dollar amounts of where your money is going will help you make necessary cuts.
For example, you might discover that eating out is costing you $50 a week. Staying at home or bringing a snack could drastically cut this cost.
A budget will also help you determine how long you can stay afloat without working.
Another bonus to having a written budget is motivation. Knowing the number of weeks you can manage without dipping into savings will often motivate you to step up your networking and other job search activities.
2) Work With Creditors to Avoid Hits to Your Credit Report
Procrastination is a big problem for people facing a financial crisis. However, financial problems won’t go away just because you ignore them. Having a written budget can help you reallocate money to pay down your bills. You could even send your budget to a company when negotiating a payment schedule.
Working with creditors may also help with FICA scores. Many companies report delinquent and failed payment to the credit bureaus. This can negatively impact your job search because many companies screen applicant’s financial backgrounds before offering a position.
It is impossible to plan without knowing exactly where your money is going. Writing down your budget plan is a way for families to make positive steps to staying financially fluent. In the event that you don’t find a job before feeling the financial pinch, you should try to work out a payment agreement with creditors as soon as possible.
3) Consider Opening a Home Equity Line of Credit or Using the HARP and 72T Programs
Many people are under the mistaken impression that opening up a home equity line of credit will negatively impact your credit report. However, if you are only approved for the money, but don’t start using it, your credit score won’t be impacted.
This step is best done when you and/or your spouse are working because it may be harder to obtain once you lose your job. You may never need the money but using a home equity line of credit often offers better interest rates than using credit cards. This is a last resort option, using money from savings or an extra job is a primary option.
There are several federal and state programs that help people stay in their homes:
HARP is a federal program that gives people in their primary residence, who do not have enough equity to refinance, get a lower interest rate. This is especially helpful for those who find that their home is worth significantly less than when they bought it. Contact a mortgage professional if you are interested in this option.
72T is a provision in the IRS code that has been around a while. It is more beneficial to individuals aged 50-59 and gives them the option of taking money out of a 401k without the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. This program works as a bridge to retirement.
4) Continue or Purchase Term Insurance as a Budget Planning Tool
Many people in career transition make the mistake of dropping term insurance. Companies often carry this type of insurance or something similar for employees; however, this insurance isn’t portable. Once you are no longer working for the company the coverage stops.
Term insurance, which usually just covers a select time period, tends to be less expensive than permanent insurance. Permanent insurance has a cash value but insurance premiums are much more expensive than term insurance. Once you start working it may make sense for you to upgrade your term insurance policy to a permanent one.
The advantage is that you lock in the lower rate (the earlier you purchase the insurance policy the better the price), you don’t have to re-qualify with a medical exam or medical questions and you get the benefit of building cash value.
5) Work With an Independent Financial Adviser
Being out of work for longer than a few months forces people to make some tough decisions. Sometimes you and other family members are too close to the situation to be objective even after you have actively engaged in budget planning.
Your financial adviser can help you develop a plan for you and your family to get through this difficult time.
Choose your financial adviser carefully because they are not all the same. Some financial advisers are tied to certain products which they will try to push their clients to purchase in order to increase their own numbers and/or commissions. Find an adviser who can give you the facts and a plan without being influenced by the need to push certain products. Do plenty of research before you decide on a financial planner as part of your budget planning process.
Check your credit history for free at AnnualCreditreport.com. Once you know what information is on these reports you can ensure accuracy, send in a note explaining a particular situation and track how your credit is being reported.
Individuals are eligible for one free report each year from each of the three credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian). Check your credit report every four months by contacting a different bureau and requesting a report.
Easy Budget Planner is a great tool for clean, crisp budget planning. You can use it over and over, and it will grow with you as your budget grows.
Easy Budget Planner is clear, concise and has sound advice along with MsfinancialSavvy Saving Money Articles and Budget Planner eBooks for creating a sustainable budget and getting out of debt.