Owning a home is certainly an accomplishment worth applauding. But if you’re like most homeowners you also understand how financially draining it can be at times to sustain even the bare necessities. Keeping the lights on, having food in the fridge, and even home entertainment subscription services can become a huge financial responsibility to take care of. The cost of living is constantly rising; however, most incomes remain the same.
So, how does one stay afloat…essentially by finding frugal ways to stay within the household budget. Not sure how to accomplish this?
Below are a few popular methods for saving money around the house:
Saving Money on Your Utilities
It costs a lot more money to have heat, electricity, and water in your home than it would in an apartment or subsidized unit (where all or a portion of your utilities are covered by your landlord). According to the US Energy Information Administration, the cost of energy went up by about 1.8% in 2014 with the projection to continue to rise in the near future. Not to mention that many local governments are warning residents about a spike in water and sewage rates. With those kinds of costs increasing annually, the best option is to find ways to cut back.
- Have an energy audit – one of the first things you should do is have an energy audit. This can usually be completed by someone from your energy company. They will come out to your home and do a full inspection of the interior and exterior of your home. Upon completion of the inspection, they will give you a detailed description on the areas of your home that are wasting a lot of energy. From there you can make the necessary adjustments.
- Seal cracks in the home – Older homes in particular lose a lot of energy because of the various cracks throughout the home. Check near your entryways and windows to see if there is air coming in. If so, you’ll want to seal this off to save energy.
- Install water efficient fixtures – there are now fixtures on the market that allow you to conserve water. By installing things such as a new faucet aerator, and water efficient shower heads, you can save a great deal of money each month.
Saving Money on Your Groceries
Another necessity in the household is food. Obviously, we need food to survive, but if you’ve noticed the cost of food has skyrocketed beyond belief. Finding ways to cut back and save on groceries however is very easy.
- Clip Coupons – it is probably safe to say that for every food item you might need, there is some type of coupon available for you to get it at a better price. Many of us toss coupons or forget about them until they expire. In any event, coupons are the equivalent of money, and if you play your cards right you can walk out of the grocery store having paid cents on the dollar for your groceries. You can find coupons online, in stores, and in your weekly newspapers. Matching them up with weekly sales can save you even more money.
- By Store Brands – a lot of us are picky about the types of food we’ll eat. Once you get a favorite brand in your mind you don’t want to switch. However, what might come as a surprise to you is the fact that many store brand products taste just the same as the name brand products and can often be purchased at a cheaper rate.
- Build a Stockpile – last but not least, another method for saving on your grocery bill each month is to build a stockpile in your home. If you have enough food stored away for a few months, you can significantly lower your grocery bill each month. Start by buying items that are on sale. Instead of buying just one, but two or three and put them up for another day. Eventually, you’ll only have to shop for minimal groceries each week.
Saving on Home Entertainment
Home entertainment services such as cable, phone, and internet are often a hot commodity in the house. However, they are also very costly, often ranging from $150 – $200 per month. The good news is there are alternatives for this as well:
- Switch to satellite services – satellite television, phone, and internet packages are often a lot cheaper than cable services. Satellitetv-deals.com gives suggestions on how to get the most out of your home entertainment packages by customizing your channel lineup, investing in HD technology, and considering bundling services for additional savings.
- Streaming Services – If you’re looking for an even cheaper option then signing up for streaming services and eliminating cable altogether can often be a great option for saving money around the house. There are several services that allow you to watch the latest shows, movies, and news online for about $8-$20 per month.
Saving on Household Repairs
Last but not least, the unexpected household repairs. You’re doing find and suddenly the plumbing isn’t working well or the air conditioning suddenly needs servicing. This can set you back hundreds if not thousands of dollars. While you can’t prevent things from breaking down with time, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize the possibility and lower the costs:
- Keep up with routine maintenance – just as your car needs routine oil changes and tire rotations to remain operational, so do most of the systems and appliances in your home. Make sure that you keep up to date with those maintenance schedules to avoid having to pay huge costs later on.
- When in doubt skip the DIY – many homeowners like to save a few bucks by completing household repairs on their own. However, when they’re not necessarily skilled in a particular area, they also run the risk of doing more harm than good. A good rule of thumb to really save money is to skip DIY measures when you’re not sure. Hiring a professional not only ensures that your systems and appliances will be repaired accurately, but it also provides you with additional warranty coverage should something go wrong in the future.
These are the most common expenses in the household that can really add up if you’re not careful. Effective budgeting and a few money saving investments can save you money over the course of a year. When all else fails, finding ways to save for a rain day can give you the financial cushion you need to get through those economically challenging times.