The cost of living these days is hard on everyone. Your expenses increase but your paycheck doesn’t do the same (or at least as often). Even if you have enough to cover your bills, it may not be enough for you to budget for things like savings, future planning, and entertainment. The stress of not having enough money to live life is stressful and, quite frankly, no way to live. The truth is, it is possible to save on things you need and use all the time. You just have to know where to look.
Mortgage or Rent
Your monthly mortgage or rental payments are likely your biggest expenses. Depending on where you live, this expense alone could take up more than a quarter of your income. There are a number of ways you could free up cash or find ways to save on housing costs.
Refinance – for homeowners who feel they’re paying too much for their mortgage each month, there is an option to refinance to find savings. If you qualify, you could receive a lower mortgage payment, shorter loan terms, or lower interest rates – all of which can save you money in the end.
Negotiate – renters may feel they don’t have any options when it comes to housing costs, but they often do. Do some comparative research to see what other tenants are paying in your area. You can use this information to negotiate a lower payment with your landlord. You might also offer to complete your own repairs (of a certain dollar amount) in exchange for a lower rate.
Sublet – both renters and homeowners may have another option to save money on their housing costs – subletting. This is where you allow someone else to move into the home to help cover some of the expenses. You can rent out a room and use the payments to cover all or part of your rent or mortgage. If you’re a renter, make sure subletting isn’t a violation of your lease.
Another monthly expense that can’t be avoided but can also be very costly is the utilities. Paying for gas, water, and electricity can really add up, especially during seasons where it’s extremely hot or cold (as the heater and air conditioner are in constant use). There are, fortunately, a few ways you can save on utilities as well.
Energy audits – hire an electrician to complete an energy audit of your home. This assessment will give you a clear picture of how much energy you’re using and what areas could use improvement.
Solar energy – if you’d like long-term savings on your energy costs, consider solar energy options. You can consult with some of the best solar companies in Utah or wherever you live to find out about installation rates. Though a hefty initial investment, the reduction in energy use will save you money each month on your energy bills.
Weatherizing – if the electrician told you that your home wasn’t efficient, it could mean that you need to weatherize your home. Sealing up holes and cracks, adding insulation in the basement and attic, and potentially investing in better windows and doors for the property can reduce energy waste which saves you money.
Water conservation – to slash the costs of your water bill you’ll need to practice conservation. Installing timers for the shower, and using a low-flow toilet can decrease the amount of water used every month.
Your family has to eat, but paying for groceries each week can be taxing on your budget. Here are a few ways to save on food for your family:
Use coupons – coupons are just like cash and should be used as such. Clip coupons from your local newspapers, hold onto coupons received in the mail and check for printable coupons online to save hundreds of dollars on your groceries each month.
Buy store brand – name brand food products may be what you’re used to, but they generally cost more than generic brands. The truth is, the store brands taste just as great. To save money on your groceries start buying store brand items.
There’s no denying that it’s getting more challenging to raise a family on a budget. There are so many things that your family needs, but finances are often limited. If you can’t change your financial circumstances (like getting a higher paid job), the next best option would be to learn how to find savings. Whether it’s your healthcare, car maintenance, mortgage, rent, or utilities, there are ways around paying full price. Before making a purchase do some research to determine the best ways to slash those prices.