Proven Ways to Save
Another method of generating cash for savings is cutting expenses. For some that’s like pulling teeth, but for those serious about savings and meeting their retirement goals; that should be easy. Below are 8 expenses to reduce or cut now that will save you money. All you need is your bank and credit card statements for a year. You can choose either to document your expenditures on paper or you can input to an excel spreadsheet or word document. Using your excel program may be the best choice as there is no limit to how much information you can enter. You can input comments or notes, which will be easily accessible, and eliminate the paperwork.
Pull out a year’s bank and credit card statements to get a clear picture of all your expenses. Begin by separating your worksheet into two headings “needs” and “wants. Your needs are those things you cannot do without and to some extent cannot live without. Your wants are things you desire: things you like to have to suffice your emotional urge. Underneath your needs and wants create categories for all your expenses. Make sure you’re familiar with every transaction, if not; clarify with your bank or credit card institution.
After determining that the expense is a need or want, start documenting each transaction under the correct heading; add additional categories if needed. Add up the amounts, and compare totals. Carefully review each category, you will get a clear picture of your overall spending habits, but most importantly how much you can save by taking a stance to eliminate your wants and reduce your needs.
Below are some proven ways of reducing expenses and saving money.
1. Reduce the Cost of Utility Bill
- Lower the cost of your utility bill by keeping as many of you electrical appliances such as tv, microwave, computers, lamps and any gadget that is not in use unplugged. Although not in use, they continue to drain energy if left unplugged.
- Have all your electrical appliances and equipment connected to a power strip to prevent damage when there’s a power outage.
- Turn off lights when you’re not in a room and keep them off as much as possible.
- Use your washer and dry once or twice per month and do full loads of laundry, or wash your clothes and hang on a line. In many parts of the world that’s the norm and their clothes are as fresh and clean as the morning air.
- If you’re not using energy saver bulbs, replace all your bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) or Light Emitting Diode (LED), which is now available for the home. These bulbs are said to be four times more efficient and 10 times longer than our once popular incandescent bulb.
- Utility companies, recommend keeping your thermostat programmed or set at 72 degrees during the summer.
- Limit the use of your gas or electric oven
- Prevent heat or cold air from entering or escaping by sealing openings around windows and doors.
2. Eliminate Buying Meals
- Preparing all your meals is a big money saver. Stop eating out, ordering take out meals and buying prepared frozen foods. Not only will you save money by cooking your own food, your meals will be more nutritious and delicious. Reserve an occasional eating out for family and friends visiting. If you don’t know how to cook; learn, it’s fun and easy to do.
- Make it a habit or routine to prepare you lunch for work. Relinquish the habit of going out for lunch with co-worker. At first it may be tough to say “I brought my lunch” but with practice it gets easier and very soon everyone will stop asking or ask only when there’s an upcoming special event, then it’s probably worth the trip, in order to be accepted as one of the “team players” and not to be categorized as “anti-social.” that’s if you care.
3. Cut Telecommunication Expenses
- Researching and comparing different provider plans. You probably could do without your landline and save even more by using your cell phone.
- If landline is truly a need, remove all additional features such as long distance, caller id, call waiting etc. and settle for a basic plan.
- For long distance services VOIP is a good alternative. With VOIP you use your computer broadband or landline connection to make calls. The best providers are Google, Skype and Vonage. I’ve had great experience using Skype.
- If those features are truly a must, you can save by bundling your services. Most telecommunication companies will offer reduced rates if you use all their services.
- Cable is also another luxury you can eliminate. Watch all your favorite shows online at Hulu, Crackle, Cokencorn and Joost. You can borrow movies from the library or subscribe to Blockbuster or Netflix. You movies arrive in the mail with return envelopes. The process is simple, quick and a lot cheaper than cable.
4. Avoid Retail Stores
- Stop going to the mall and department stores. You can get the most outrageous deals on just about anything by shopping at thrifts stores (not just any); real outlets like a pound store, yard and church sales, flea markets and special discount days at Salvation Army and Goodwill. With regards to electrical appliances, take extra pre-caution before purchasing. Be certain items are in good working condition. If you cannot test or return, do not buy. Usually most items fall under the “no refund policy” so thoroughly inspect and test items before handing over your money. Not only can you save big on items such as clothing and toys, but you probably could start a business selling great finds on marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay and Etsy.
- If you have kids or you’re one of those who just love Christmas gift giving, don’t wait for the holiday season to begin shopping, keep an eye out for Christmas gifts and wrappings while on your thrifting spree. You will certainly find new items in the original packages that would make the perfect Christmas or birthday gift. You can also purchase gift wrappings inexpensively at the dollar stores.
5. Cut Beauty Treatment Costs
Become your own beautician
- Do your own hair incorporating natural products. Learn how to groom your hair by researching topics such as: how to maintain healthy hair, how to cut your hair, natural ways to care for your hair; experiment with different styles, you will be amazed at how beautiful your hair will become. Practice makes perfect, but equally important are the hundreds of dollar and time you could save by skipping the hair or beauty salon.
- If the hair salon is a must, try getting your hair done for free. Many beauty schools are always looking for candidates. Even some of the well established salons like Supercuts have free haircut quite frequently.
- Stop wasting money on skin and beauty treatments. Make your own diy skincare by using many of the ingredients from your cupboard and refrigerator. For instance you can make your own exfoliator, moisturizer, and makeup remover. Saving money is only one aspect of the benefits you’ll receive by making your own product. Over time you will see the most amazing results when you stop using chemical based products that tend to do more harm than good.
6. Save on Insurance
- Never ask an insurance agent or anyone for that matter to make a decision for you. You’ll certainly be at a disadvantage and most likely pay for more insurance than you need. Do your own research. There is a ton of information on the web to guide you.
- Determine how much insurance your car really needs then compare rates between providers. Most providers offer special rates or discounts for bundling life, homeowners and automobile insurance. If there is more than one vehicle in the home you can also save by insuring them with the same company.
- Be informed about car ratings before you purchase your next vehicle. Some vehicles cost more to insure, not only because of the value but also due to the high rate of theft and accidents.
- Instead of making monthly premiums, pay for a year’s coverage at once. You will save at least one or maybe even two month’s premium.
- Many employers’ health insurance plan has become very expensive. Gone are the days when you could pay your $10 or $15 co-pay and visit a specialist or have any treatment done and that would be the end of it. Today employers are paying thousand of dollars of out-of-pocket expense along with employers’ health coverage. You may be at an advantage buying your own individual health insurance.
7. Lower Automobile Expense
- Find a trustworthy mechanic. It’s extremely important to have one of those, and one that is skilled and knowledgeable and honest. There are many dishonest quacks in the business.
- Make a list and do all your errands in one trip.
- Make sure you tires are properly inflated for optimum performance. This will prevent blowouts and save on gas.
- Avoid the craziness of rush hour. Frequent stop and accelerating sudden changes in speed decreases gas mileage.
- Clean air filter monthly or replace if needed. You will save on gas mileage.
- Maintain a steady speed below 60. Fuel efficiency decreases rapidly above 60 mph.
- It’s perfectly alright to use recondition parts. These are used parts that have been repaired. And in most cases deemed just as good when compared to new parts. Find a honest mechanic and be sure there’s a warranty in place. You can save big especially on major repairs.
- Don’t buy premium gas, it’s a waste of money. Research has shown that regular car engines do just as well on regular gas.
8. Reduce Grocery Expense
- Find and cut coupons on items you actually use. Consumers have a tendency to cut coupons and purchase items just because it’s a good deal. Don’t develop or practice that habit.
- Grow your own food. You probably have lots of yard space that could yield a variety of fresh fruits and vegetable. Start with a vegetable garden and share you harvest with friends and family, and freeze or preserve excess.
- Shop at discount grocery stores. You could save a lot on items that do rather poorly in the mainstream groceries and supermarkets, and purchase many high quality foreign and organic items at great prices.
- Don’t buy water; your regular tap water is in no way inferior to bottled water. There are strict federal and local guidelines to ensure the cleanliness and quality of our tap water. Many bottled water company do not follow neither are they subjected to these same strict guidelines. Research has revealed that 22% of the brands tested were contaminated with chemicals above the state rules. If you’re uneasy about drinking city water, there a number of reusable water filtering pitchers from which to choose.
- Return unwanted items for credit. Don’t leave them lying around the house until you finally decide to throw them out. If fruits or produce are spoiling and can be secured until your next shopping trip, wrap properly and refrigerate. This will slow down the chemical change.
- Always keep a running grocery list of items you need as you run out of them. Never shop for groceries without your list, you will either buy items you don’t need or purchase more of what you already have.
- Last but not least; no impulse shopping.
9. Stop Using Credit Cards
- Destroy those credit cards, unless you are disciplined to payoff the entire balance, instead use your own money. Some financial experts advise cutting up all credit cards, while others advise keeping one for big purchases, travels or any unforeseen happenings. Don’t cancel those cards; you may be doing more harm than good. Canceling credit cards will lower your FICO score.
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