Ways to Save on Household Expenses Right Now
Finding ways to save money every month is the backbone of the Financial Freedom Roadmap. If you haven't checked out that free road map yet, I highly recommend you do! (No email address required.)
I think that 2019 is a really good time to be alive. We have so many opportunities available to us, almost none of us know what to do with them all! Technology gives us so many new ways to connect with each other and share information in a blink of an eye, and that translates to the financial world as well.
If you want to save more money than you currently are right now, it's only a matter of finding the right strategies for your family.
In this post, I'm sharing 12 of the things our family has done to reduce our expenses and put more money towards savings and investments each month.
We Changed Our Phone Plans to Save Money
Just 5 months ago, Mr Cents and I were paying $170 per month for two smartphones. Ouch!
I always thought that amount was crazy for phone service, but I couldn't figure out a good way to reduce it. We'd already called our cell phone provider and asked for options. That was about as low as they were willing to go for service that worked for us.
Then one day as I was reading another financial blog, I was introduced to the world of MVNOs. MVNOs are simply companies that purchase data packages in bulk from one of the big four (Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T) and resell it to cell phone users like you and me for pennies on the dollar. I was shocked to say the least!
After that Mr Cents and I changed our phone plan right away. We now pay $40 per month for two phones with 8GB of data each. And that other $130 per month? Straight to the savings account, baby!
Read the full post- How We Reduced Our Cell Phone Bill from $170 to $40 Per Month
Install A Thermostat to Reduce Heating and Cooling Expenses
This one has been on my to-do list forever, so at the moment we still don't have a thermostat. That being said, I know so many people who've seen significant monthly savings on their electric bill after installing one.
If you're thinking about getting one, make sure to check with your utility company first! Electric companies often give them away or sell them at a steep discount because they know you will be using less power in the future.
We Started The Easiest Meal Plan Ever
Don't scroll past this one just yet!
Let me guess... You think you don't have time to meal plan and you never stick to one anyway, so why bother?
We've reduced our food bill by over $1,000 per month after getting on a meal plan. I know, that's an outrageous amount of money for food!
But when was the last time you calculated your monthly spending on groceries and restaurants? My guess is that it's way more than you'd like to be spending!
So do you have 30 minutes per week that you can spend in exchange for a grand? Yes, yes you do!
And to make it easier, I have a super simple, crazy effective free meal plan that will revolutionize your table and your budget.
Get my entire meal planning strategy- Easy Meal Planning That Won’t Make You Want to Tear Your Hair Out
We Started Shopping in Bulk to Save Money
Now that you are following a proper meal plan every week or every month (right??), my next tip to save even more money is to shop in bulk.
But what if you have a very small family?
Right now our household consists of me, my husband, and our toddler. We're a pretty small family, but we still benefit from purchasing a lot of our food and supplies from Costco!
Now if you are a foodie who likes to try new meals every single day, buying in bulk probably isn't going to work well for you. If you tend to use a lot of the same ingredients for your meals however, you could probably stock up on those.
Purchasing in bulk works best for families who eat many of the same 20 or 30 meals month after month. If this is you, there's no reason to shop at standard grocery stores. You're going to pay more per unit for the exact same product, and you could save a ton by buying in bulk.
Here are a few of the things our family routinely buys from Costco:
- Organic flour
- Chicken broth
- Almond milk
- Frozen fruit and veggies
We Got Really Freaking Good At Making Our Own Coffee and Tea
By this point I think we all know that coffee can be a real budget killer if you are heading to cafes and coffee houses to get it.
The solution is to round up all of the things you would need to make a really delicious cup of coffee or tea from home, and prepare to LOVE making it yourself. Yes, you can make coffee that is as good as or even better than the coffeehouse down the street!
And when you do, you'll be excited to make your own coffee and save that five bucks. Right now our family likes to make espresso with a moka pot, drip with our French press, and cold brew in a mason jar. Then we'll add a few tablespoons of milk and a few drops of stevia to give it that latte like consistency.
I'm a bit of a princess so I'll usually sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon and cacao powder on top to make it even more decadent.
We Ask Our Buy Nothing Facebook Group Before We Buy Something
One of the biggest ways I've cut our household spending this year is by becoming active on our local Facebook Buy Nothing group. These groups are set up by neighborhood, and they give neighbors a place to give and receive items from each other for free.
There is no trading, bartering, or money allowed. The spirit of these groups is giving!
Not only have we been able to give away a ton of things we no longer needed, such as baby clothes, home decor pieces, and furniture, but we've received a lot of items that I otherwise would have needed to buy.
The next time you're planning a garden and remember that you don't own a shovel, or you want to try out a new recipe and you need a lemon zester, ask your Buy Nothing group first! There's a good chance somebody in your neighborhood has one that they are looking to get rid of, and you'll save a chunk of change.
Just be sure to be a good member by giving as much as you received and picking up your items promptly.
Check your Library for Free Passes
This tip won't apply to everyone, but many library systems offer free passes to local museums, zoos, children's play places, and more.
It's definitely worth contacting your local library to see if they offer these types of services. And if not, they might consider doing so if you call and ask!
Try Groupon and Beauty School Salons for Affordable Services
Want to look good while keeping your expenses low each month? Yeah, me too. That can be difficult if you're trying to factor in the costs of haircuts, coloring, manicures, pedicures, and massage into your monthly budget! Thankfully, there are some really good ways to save money here.
First, check with your health insurance to see if they cover massage. Many policies do, and you might get a dozen or two of them per year at no cost.
Another way I like to save money on beauty and grooming is by checking out Groupon deals and local beauty school student salons. Many beauty schools have a salon that offers steep discounts on beauty services to give their students a chance to practice their skills.
While I might not necessarily get a haircut there, this can be a great way to get a mani-pedi or a blowout super cheap.
Read the full post- 7 Ways to Save Money on Beauty and Look Fantastic
Make Sure You Aren't Paying Monthly Bank Fees
If you're banking with one of the major banks, there's a good chance that you are paying monthly fees like checking account fees just for the privilege of banking there. Don't do it!
Banks already make money off of the funds you deposit with them, and because of that I see routine banking fees as totally needless. Now is the time to find a good credit union that will give you a higher percent back in interest, and not charge you a penny to bank with them.
We Put Curtains Around All of Our Windows
One of the best ways to lower your electric bill is to stop the heat escaping from your home in winter, and prevent the sun from heating your home up in the summer. Curtains work super well for this!
If it's a hot summer day, close the curtains in windows where direct light is coming through. This will block the sun and help keep the house a little bit cooler. In winter, you want to let sunlight in and block shaded windows that might otherwise be letting heat escape.
When it's cold out I try to close all of our curtains before I leave the house to help insulate the windows and keep the heat from escaping. You can always open them back up when you get home to let some light in!
Sell One of Your Cars
Most American families have more cars than they need, and it's simply a huge extra yearly expense to keep and maintain one. If you'd like to reduce your monthly spending, talk with your spouse and consider selling one of the cars you don't use as much.
Between the cost of insurance, tires, oil changes, and registration fees, even a sitting car can cost a lot in yearly fees.
Do a No Spend Weekend
My last tip to help you reduce your monthly expenses is to do one or two no spend weekends per month! And if you get really good at them, do more than that. No-spend weekends can be a lot of fun if you come up with some creative ideas to stay busy.
Personally, I like to do several no spend weekends per month, and then have one weekend where we spend a good amount and really do something awesome. This seems to be a good balance for us between saving money and making the most of our weekend time.
There are so many small things families can do to reduce their household spending! We’ve made a lot of simple changes as a family that have put hundreds of dollars per month back in our pocket to use on things we love like traveling, fun experiences, and savings.
Here are a few ideas to help you reduce your household spending this year:
Change your cell phone plan to an MVNO company!
Install a thermostat to reduce utility expenses.
Follow my super simple and effective meal plan for families.
Start shopping in bulk to save even more money on groceries
Get really good at making delicious coffee and tea from home.
Ask your local Buy Nothing group before you buy something.
Check your library for free passes and weekend tickets.
Head to Groupon and beauty school salons for deep discounts on beauty services.
Make sure you aren’t paying monthly bank fees!
Put curtains around all of your windows to keep your temperature stable.
Sell one of your cars.
Do a no-spend weekend or two to reduce your expenses even further.
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