Saving money can be difficult, even when you stick to a budget. It’s easy to feel like you’re not getting anywhere. You wish you could save more. But where do you start?
At home. Implement these simple strategies around your home to cut consumption and increase your funds every month.
Utility bills are a monthly expense every homeowner or renter has to deal with. But the cost is not fixed. If you use less water and electricity, you spend less of your hard-earned money. Every little bit helps, and small things like closing closet doors so you don’t heat or cool unnecessary spaces can make a big difference over an extended time.
You could also challenge yourself to only use air conditioning for one month the summer, use your fireplace during colder months so you can lower your heat, and set your hot water heater to a lower temperature. There’s no reason your water has to be hot enough to scald you.
Make mini upgrades.
Want to make the first tip a little easier? A few small home upgrades can do just that. For instance, installing ceiling fans can help cut air conditioning costs; in the winter, reversing the direction of your fan can help you use heat more efficiently. And adding dimmers on your light switches is another affordable upgrade that can help you save on your electric every month.
Get healthy and wealthy.
What packaged meals and snacks save you in time, you more than pay for in cash. Opt for homemade versions for more affordable options. And as if saving money weren’t reason enough, you’ll look and feel better, too. Buying whole foods is beneficial for both your waistline and your wallet.
Do your own landscaping.
Curb appeal is important. But hiring people to keep your lawn and garden looking its best can get pricey. Doing it yourself doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little research, you can find plants for your climate that require little maintenance.
If you make smart decisions, DIY landscaping won’t just save you on labor, but on related expenses as well. For example, you can collect rainwater in a barrel, and use it to water your lawn. That will help you lower your water bill every month.
Create visual reminders.
It’s easy to get excited and start saving. Keeping with it can be more difficult. Seeing the amount of debt or the cost of something you’re saving for can help you commit. Create something to remind you of these numbers at a glance on a regular basis. It could be something as simple as a sign you create or an ad from a catalog you pin up in a visible area. Or you could mark your savings goals on a calendar and chart your progress on a daily or monthly basis.
Use shopping lists.
Retailers have selling down to a science. Everything from the layout of the store, to the height at which the items are displayed, and even the sounds and smells are carefully chosen to get you to buy more. The best way to combat this is to go in with a list of specifically what you need.
Many people do this at the grocery store, so that’s probably what comes immediately to your mind. But it can work at other types of stores as well. For instance, if you make a list of the clothes you plan to purchase, you can ensure you come home with what you need, rather than what looks good in the store.
Paper towels, napkins, and plates aren’t major expenses, so you probably never give them a second thought. But did you ever stop to think about how much they cost you over the course of a year or more? Compare that to the one-time expense of dish towels, cloth napkins, and washable plates, and your choice is a no-brainer.
These strategies are small, to be sure. But those small savings add up quickly. Best of all, you can implement them immediately for instant gratification.