If your family budget is already feeling the cinch and you need to tighten it a little more, here are five simple tips to help shave money off your family’s monthly expenses:
1. Conserve Electricity: Change out all your bulbs to energy-efficient ones. It may be more costly to start, but they last a lot longer and are easier on your electric bill. Turn off all lights before leaving a room, even if you are only leaving for a minute or two. During the day, try not to use lights at all. Utilize the sunlight shining through the windows instead. If you have ceiling fans or chandeliers that have multiple bulbs, remove one. You’ll find they still produce enough light with one less bulb.
Use a programmable thermostat that turns off when you leave in the morning, then turns back on shortly before you return in the evening. In the winter, keep your heat lower than normal and warm up with sweatshirts and blankets. In the summer, keep it higher than normal and wear less clothing indoors, or use the breeze blowing from a fan to cool the house.
Unplug electrical items after using them, especially those that you only use once per day or less. You should also stop paying for phantom power. When you leave many appliances and electronics plugged in, even if they are off, they are still using power. Using power strips for multiple electrical items makes it very easy to turn them off at night and back on in the morning.
2. Stop Eating Out: There is an incredible amount of money to be saved by families who stop eating out. Whether you are a family of two or six, eating out is expensive. Avoid restaurants altogether and only order pizza for special occasions during a cheap promotional sale. Pack lunches for work and school. Buy a travel mug and fill it with coffee for your commute to work instead of paying for expensive daily lattes.
3. Get Rid of Unnecessary Bills: Cancel your cable bill since no one honestly watches the hundreds of available channels, and subscribe to a TV service like Netflix instead. Downgrade your cell phone plan to meet your actual needs. If you have a land line and don’t use it, cancel it.
4. Save on Grocery Bills: Buy the generic store brand instead of the name brand items. Grow a garden for some of your produce in the summer. Never shop when you are hungry and try to avoid buying costly pre-packaged junk food items. Buy meat on sale when it’s close to or at the expiration date and freeze it.
5. Utilize the Internet: You can make so many things at home that will save you a lot of money in the long run, all of which can be found on the Internet with lists of ingredients and how-to instructions. Make your own laundry soap, cleaners and shampoo, just to name a few.