It’s no secret that it’s becoming harder for people to own and maintain their own home. Costs keep going up while wages struggle to keep up. When managing a household, costs that might seem like a small part of the total can become a matter of real stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a bit of organization and clever techniques, you can live frugal whilst not having to go without. Below, we’ll look at what’s really going to save you from those huge bills and monthly costs.
Let’s start with one of the biggest regular bills you’re going to have to contend with. Given how much we use it, it’s no surprise energy bills can shoot through the roof. Promoting more efficient energy use is going to make it easier to cut costs while still staying warm and keeping the lights on. For example, look at replacing old heating and air conditioning units. The older they get, the more likely they are to become incredibly energy inefficient. Caulk and insulate your home from the outside as much as you can to make the indoors temperature a lot more manageable. If your pipes aren’t yet insulated, get on that, too. Otherwise, it’s your water heating that will be one of the most energy ineffective parts of the home.
Is there a phantom in your house?
It’s not just heating and temperature control you need to watch as well. A tremendous number of people are paying high on their electricity costs because of nothing but inattentiveness. One of the biggest causes and culprits is phantom electricity. The standby option available on a lot of electronic goods these days makes them more convenient. But what’s convenient for your TV and computers isn’t convenient for your energy bills. Don’t leave things lying in standby when you leave the room or go to sleep. Turn off the power at the socket.
It’s not considered as often as electricity, but water bills can be lowered just as effectively. Not to mention, it’s just as good for sustaining our environment. Water is all about reducing and reusing. You can fit in water reducing measures to taps and showers, for instance, making sure you’re not overusing. When you’re doing dishes in the sink, let them build up so you can get everything done in one wash and one rinse afterward. Then think about how you reuse water, too. There’s nothing wrong at all with reusing water (gray water, as it’s known) for watering your garden, for instance. Or reusing hot bath water for a hot water bottle. It’s almost surprising how little water you can get away with using in a day when you really try.
It’s not just your resources that you can try and tackle as well. Another of the big costs on any home is the insurance. We’re not going to suggest you try and skimp on insurance costs by downsizing your plan or trying to go without. Insurance is an important financial consideration for any homeowner when or if disaster strikes. But you can do a lot to decrease the insurance you’re paying. You do that simply by making your home a lot safer. Do things like reinforcing your entrances and exits. You might even look to invest in electronic security options like ADT home security. The safer a home is, the less at risk the insurance company considers it. That means lower insurance payments. It can be worth the short-term payment to make your long-term expenses a lot more manageable.
Phone & internet
To many people, being connected is just as important as keeping all their stuff safe. So you’re likely not going to get rid of your internet service, either. But consider the different options that your provider offers. If you don’t use enough data to really need unlimited packages, then go for limited ones. It’s also a good idea to learn how to negotiate with different providers, as well. By looking into their competition and their prices, you can use that information to negotiate yourself a better deal. Threatening to switch providers can keep them on their feet, too.
Be food smart
Your household spending is about your expenditures as much as it is about your bills. One of those biggest expenditures is in your food. A lot of people think that getting processed food is cheaper than buying fresh. That’s wrong. It can be more expensive, but only if you’re not smart about how you use your fresh whole food ingredients. Start planning your meals. You can reduce the amount of leftovers and get healthier meals by making sure ingredients you buy are going towards more than one meal. For example, avoiding leftover bananas by using them with cereal one day, then as part of a toasted snack the next. Sites like Recipe Puppy can make it even easier to make sure you’re using all the ingredients in your cupboard.
Go second hand
When it comes to extra costs, second hand can often be a great way to make sure you’re not stretching your budget to its limit. If you read or love movies, then you should never go full-price when it’s easier to source pre-owned copies. Similarly, you can find lots of furniture in great condition if it’s pre-owned. The fact is that pre-owned is a stigma to a lot of people. They will assume that good quality furniture isn’t good quality simply because it’s been used before. The fact is that you can even upgrade old furniture you find at a garage sale by getting into upcycling. Not only can you improve its condition but you can improve its style as well.
Cut the bad habits
It’s not easy, but the fact is that your habits are expensive and reducing them can improve your overall financial situation. Avoid the hunger pangs that draw you towards fast food options when you’re out and about. Prepare breakfast and lunch more often. Eat more little meals throughout the day to avoid the risk of feeling lazy and calling for a takeout. Consider if you smoke, as well. Switching to electronic cigarettes isn’t only healthier. It’s also significantly cheaper. One 50ml bottle of e-fluid is the equivalent of 25 packs of cigarettes. You only need to compare the prices of those two to see which is a lot gentler on your wallet.
Become the fixer
Costs in a home don’t remain fixed. They creep up, usually in the form of some maintenance and repairs that need done. There are two ways to tackle these problems. First, get any electronics problems fixed as soon as they appear. They might seem ‘manageable’ now, but they’ll get worse. And when they get worse, they get more expensive to fix, too. The other method is to become a lot more adept at fixing yourself. Learn handy DIY techniques for the home and you’ll have to rely on services a lot less often. Of course, you also have to recognize when certain tasks are best left to professionals. Don’t go poking about your own electrics or trying to handle serious plumbing issues.
There are a lot of changes that you can implement to how you run your home. It’s all about choosing those which make the most sense for you. Sometimes, it’s about an investment that can save you money over all. Other times, it’s about being more responsible with how you use resources. Mix and match the tips above and you’ll see a real difference.