It can be easy to continue on with the way things have been, we have always had services like a home phone and cable television. Times are changing and there is a definite ability to rid our homes and wallets of some of these expensive dinosaurs that we are still using, but really have no valuable use for. Life is pricey, and I know that most families could sure use a few tips on how to save some hard earned money on their monthly budgets and expenses. Most of these are right in front of your nose, but you’ve been so busy doing things the way you’ve always done them that you just haven’t noticed.
1. Cancel your landline. Cancel it! Why pay upwards of $50.00 per month for a landline that you never use? For many, a cell phone is enough, but for some there is a need for a home phone. Get hooked up with a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service provider like Magicjack. VoIP takes your Internet connection and allows you to place phone calls over it, for a fraction of the cost! Long-distance, local, caller ID, and call waiting, it’s all there, and it’s so easy, even my parents did it! Head to your local department or electronics store and pick up the box for $69.96, hook it up online, pay a one-time fee for a phone number and sign up for a yearly fee of around $35.00. I have noticed that they regularly run promotions, so when you sign-up, take advantage of a promo, and when it’s time to re-up, do it again! Taking advantage of promotional offers will save you even more cash! Magicjack is just one of many providers, do a little click research to decide which provider best suits your needs. So, for around two months worth of telephone fees, you’re hooked up with unlimited calling and long-distance for at least a year! At around $100 for the year, the first year is the most expensive, next year will work out to more like $3.00 a month.
2. Unplug your electronics. According to the USA Department of Energy, 5-10% of the average energy used is that used by appliances and electronics sitting idle in between uses. Unplugging coffee pots, lamps, televisions, gadgets, toasters, computers, and radios while they are not in use will both save you a few bucks and be more environmentally friendly.
3. Switch to LED bulbs. This may seem like a bit of an investment off the hop, but your bank account, and the planet will thank you. EnergyStar gives us a good idea of the savings: an LED bulb will cost you $2.64 annually in bulb and energy costs, while an incandescent will run you about $23.61 (depending on varying energy rates). If the initial cost of outfitting your entire home with new LED bulbs is not within reach, work your way around bit by bit, starting by replacing the high use bulbs first and getting around to the lower traffic areas in time. Sales can often be found on LED light bulbs making this venture a little easier on the pocketbook, and IKEA is a great place to find a huge variety of bulbs at very reasonable prices.
4. Cancel your cable/satellite. Cable and what? Exactly, these are becoming a thing of the past. And why shouldn’t they with Netflix, android boxes for streaming, and Apple TV. If there’s something you want to watch, you can find it for a lot cheaper than local cable or satellite. Heck, you’ll probably find shows that you didn’t even know you wanted to see! Risk: Binge-watching warning is in effect.
5. Stretch out your shower. I said shower, not bath. Filling a bathtub consumes much more water than taking a shower does! If you ask your hairdresser how often you should wash your hair, they will almost definitely NOT say every day. In fact, most will tell you that the longer you can go in between shampoos, the better your hair will be. It can be a bit of a process working up to the point where you can get away with one or two shampoos a week, but the less you wash, the less oil your hair will produce, and the less you will need to wash, saving you costs on toiletries, water, and the heating of water!
6. Hang your clothes to dry and wash in cold. That's right, just like Grandma used to do. Guess what? Your clothes will dry faster, last longer, and smell fresher, your dryer will also last longer, and your wallet will be fatter!
7. Meal plan. Plan your meals for the week ahead and grocery shop according to your plan. By having your week of chow mapped out, you are going to have less waste and be eating healthier, too, saving you money and reducing your impact on the environment! Nothing makes for poor choices (for the waistline and the wallet) like not being prepared. If your fridge is full of fresh and delicious foods that you have already decided to use for meals that week, you are a lot less likely to make unplanned purchases on expensive and unhealthy convenience food. Plan for work and include groceries for yummy on-the-go lunches, too. When you are hungry and ready for dinner, everything is there, ready and waiting, leaving you less prone to ordering a pizza because you just don’t know what to create for dinner.
8. Use a rain barrel. Collecting rainwater and using it to water plants, grass, and gardens can offer some relief on your water bill. Check with your community, often there will be green initiatives in place that will get you a portion of the cost of your water barrel reimbursed. It won’t take you long to recoup the cash you spent getting set up, and start saving!