Building an emergency savings isn’t easy when life’s little necessities get in the way. You can’t not pay your electricity, nor can you avoid grocery shopping (lest the lights go out, and your family slowly starves). From monthly utility bills to your shopping list, the following tips are designed to help you save money on your household expenses.
Save Money on Your Electric Bill
If you dread your electrical bill, employ the following strategies to help reduce costs.
• Make sure your appliances and lights are turned off/ unplugged when you are not using them.
• To keep your cooling costs down, shut your blinds and cover your windows. Yes, you may miss the sunlight, but it will keep your home cooler so that your HVAC doesn’t have to run as much.
• Set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Turn it down low when no one is home. Energy Star reports that this simple reduction can save you as much as $180 a year.
• Clean or replace your air conditioner filters once a month.
• Use cold water to wash your clothes (if you’re using an electric water heater).
• Buy energy efficient appliances.
Save Money on Cable, Internet, and Phone Services
Cable, internet, and phone services have become necessary in most American households, but they’re not cheap. Enact the following strategies to help lower these monthly bills.
• Bundle your services. Opting for a triple play package with a single provider can significantly lower your bill.
• Purchase your own cable modem. Cable providers charge at least $6 a month to lease a modem for internet access. Purchase your own and return the leased modem. This will save you a minimum of $72 a year, less than the price of a modem.
• Do your research. Fiber optic Internet is faster than other Internet types (cable, dial-up, etc.), which makes it a better deal when you consider its price is comparable to slower Internet providers. Follow the link here for more info on Internet service from AT&T U-verse.
Save Money on Water
• Get leaks fixed immediately!
• Only run the dishwasher and laundry machine with full loads.
• Turn off the water. This includes when you are brushing your teeth, shaving, washing dishes, and cleaning vegetables.
• Cut down on long showers. A four minute shower uses an average of 20 to 40 gallons of water.
Save Money on Groceries and Other Necessities
• USE coupons. You don’t have to become an extreme couponer (although they do save a ton of money), but do make a serious effort to use them. However, don’t use them irresponsibly. If you never eat yogurt, don’t bother cutting that $1 coupon. It’s simply an extra purchase that you probably won’t eat anyway.
• Know your store’s policy. Some stores double manufacturer’s coupons, which will definitely come in handy.
• Make your list beforehand and do not divert from it. Impulse buys can increase your grocery bill by as much as 20 to 30 percent. This is also a good reason to try and make your trips alone. Kids are definitely fans of impulse buys!
• Check for sales, especially in regards to meat and fresh produce. These are two items that tend to be expensive, so try to purchase them only when they are on sale.
Saving money isn’t easy, but if you’re frugal you should be able to squirrel away an emergency fund. Be diligent about the things you’ve learned, and spread the knowledge to your family. Let them know how much you’re saving by using your resources conservatively.