Save Money and Live Better – Drastically Cut Expenses

save money live better

Saving money in 2019 may seem like an impossible task due to the rising prices of most goods and services. While it’s difficult to save money, it’s not entirely impossible.

It’s the same as getting in shape. Just as we can trim down the fat from our body by exercising to lose weight and transform our shape, so we need to trim down our expenses to save money.

Without further ado, let’s have a look at 35 ideas for saving money and taking control of our financial lives:

Make a Budget

A budget is defined as a document – ideally, in a written form – that identifies your expected income and expenses. While it is important to make a budget, only about 41% of Americans use one.

It’s not very difficult to make a budget, especially if you have a reliable app to help.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Note your income including any extra money that you earn.
  • Divide it into three categories (fixed, flexible and discretionary). The fixed category is for necessary expenses such as bills and rent. Flexible expenses can be reduced as they involve activities such as shopping and eating out. Discretionary expenses can be shifted forward as they are not necessary for the time being. 
  • Make sure never to spend more money than you can earn. 
  • First, pay your debt so that you can get ahead. 
  • Revise your budget from time to time. 

Stick to a Budget

Creating a budget isn’t a triumph, but sticking to one sure is. There are several ways that can help you stick to a budget:

  • Ask your partner or a family member to help you out with the budget.
  • Use the envelope system (make envelopes with labels). For example, if you have budgeted to spend $100 on a shopping trip, only take this amount with you when you go out so that there’s no risk of going over budget.

If you are going over budget then take steps to reduce your expenses and increase your income.

Adopt the 50/20/30 Rule

This strategy involves allocating

  • 50% of your income to important expenses such as bills, rent, groceries, etc.
  • 20% to savings/debt-paying.
  • 30% on lifestyle expenses such as eating out or shopping.  

This rule is designed to ensure all your needs are met.

Rent Out Unused Space

If you have extra space, then consider renting it out. You can use Airbnb and other such platforms to get in touch with people interested in renting your space.

It’s possible to rent out everything, from your basement to your bedroom to your parking space. 

Choose a Vehicle With Good Mileage

If you own a car that’s old and consumes a lot of fuel, then switch to one that offers good mileage. 

One gallon of fuel costs $2.83. Imagine the amount of money you’ll be saving by cutting down on fuel consumption.

Regular maintenance can play a very important role in helping you save money. If it doesn’t work, then consider turning to public transport. You can save about $10,000 per year by choosing public transport. 

Other good options include traveling together (carpooling). It doesn’t only save money but also helps the environment. 

Choose a Credit Card with a Sign-Up Bonus

Since the competition between credit card companies is increasing all the time, some of them have started offering sign-up bonuses to new customers. Such bonuses can give you discounts on tickets, hotels, shopping, etc. 

Consider shopping around for the right credit card to save a good amount of money. 

0% Foreign Transaction Fee

Most credit card companies charge a 3% foreign transaction fee when you swipe the card abroad. You can save this money by using a credit card company that offers a 0% fee on foreign transactions.

If that is not a possibility then consider using prepaid cards when traveling abroad.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Air conditioners add an extra $100 or more to the energy bill. You can reduce this amount by up to 15% by operating the air conditioner at 26 degrees C. Other steps include cleaning the filters every month and having the unit serviced regularly.

Also, pay attention to the heating unit. People who live in cold regions use a lot of heating equipment. Heaters and other such units make up about 40% of the energy bill in such areas.

You can reduce this amount by getting an HVAC unit with a programmable thermostat and operating it between 19 and 21 degrees C. 

Other than this, make sure to use products that are energy efficient. LEDs, for example, can help you save up to 20% of your energy bill. Plus, they last longer and require fewer replacements.

Talk with Your Credit Card Company about Lowering Your Interest

Rate credit cards can be very expensive with the average interest rate standing at about 20%. It’s very high and can cause you to lose your hard-earned money in no time.

Cards can be very expensive with the average interest rate standing at about 20%. It’s very high and can cause you to lose your hard-earned money in no time.

A good option is to get in touch with your credit card company to negotiate a lower rate. Believe it or not, some financial institutions are willing to change the interest rate.

There are more chances of your request getting approved if you have a good financial score, i.e., you pay the amount on time.

If this doesn’t work out, then consider transferring your balance. Some providers offer 0% APR, which can help you save a lot of money. However, remember that there may be transfer fees. Best of all, don’t use credit cards.

Consider Buying in Bulk

Most sellers offer discounts on bulk buying. You can use this opportunity to save money. Plus, you may even make a profit by selling such products in a different market at a higher rate.

However, make sure never to buy what you do not need or cannot sell, no matter how cheap it comes. Also, be careful about expiry dates and perishable goods. They do not last long and can cause you to face a loss.

Insulate Your House

You will see a drastic reduction in your energy bill if you insulate your house properly. Properly insulated homes retain heat and cold better, reducing the need for AC units or heaters.

Restrict UV Rays from Entering Your Home

UV rays can be deadly for your health. They can cause skin problems, cataracts, bone issues, and even some forms of cancer. 

Installing platinum films on the windows can restrict UV rays from entering your house. This will reduce the risk of illness, helping you save money on healthcare.

Compare Prices before Purchasing

Create a habit of comparing prices before making a purchase. Try multiple shops and compare products on various online sites before you make a final purchase decision.

A lot of people make the mistake of not comparing prices without realizing the difference a single dollar can make. 

Reduce Dine Outs and Eat at Home

It’s important to go out and have fun but if you’re spending too much on dining out then it’s time to stop and consider your budget.

Do not completely skip eating out. It’s important to go out and have fun as it helps families stay together. To get the best of both worlds, prepare food at home and go out to a park to enjoy it together. 

Cancel Subscriptions

The average American subscriber has subscribed to 3.4 streaming services paying a total of $29. While it’s cheaper than the monthly average cable bill – which comes to $107 – it’s still a lot.

Plus, it does not even take into account other subscriptions one may have. Make sure to cancel all subscriptions you do not need as some companies will continue to charge you in the name of recurring fees.

Have a good look at your bank statement and identify charges you do not recognize. 

Pay Debt on Time

If you are pressed under a pile of debt then you need to pay it off as fast as you can. The increasing interest rate will stress you out and make it difficult to make ends meet. 

You can try different methods to get rid of the debt. Some popular options include debt consolidation and snowballing.

Take Up Gardening and Grow Your Food

About 35% of US families now grow their food. This is 200% higher compared to 2008 figures.

Growing your own food will not only help you save money – up to $600 – but it will also keep diseases at bay since organic food is known to be healthier. 

Plus, if you have a lot of space, you can grow more and sell it in the farmers’ market to make some quick cash.

Purchase Used Items

You can save 35% to 40% by purchasing used items. Check out Amazon, eBay and nearby physical stores to find goods at a discount. 

Invest in Insurance

Buying insurance on health, car, home or your child’s education will save you a lot of money in the long-run. It’s a long term investment but it’s worth it. Look here for the ultimate investment ideas.

Look Out for Discounts on Special Occasions

Companies offer generous discounts on Christmas, Easter and other such occasions. Wait for such holidays to get goods at a discount. 

Make Minor Repairs Yourself

This is the era of DIY. If you are good with tools then consider doing small tasks on your own. You can save a few hundred dollars by being a bit careful. However, make sure only to take on things you are good at, you may otherwise end up causing more damage. 

Coupon Apps

Make use of discount coupons and vouchers to save money. Many businesses offer special discounts to get rid of stock or to attract more customers. You can use this opportunity to save money.

Plus, apps such as Checkout 51 can also make it easier to find products at a discount.

Other than this, your credit card company may also offer discounts on certain products. Check out all the special perks to save money. Some apps are there to pay you money, see here for more on this.

Try to Utilize Leftover Food

Do not waste food. Instead, be creative and use leftover food. For example, you can use yesterday’s chicken to make soup. 

Keep Your Car Well Maintained

Replacing a single-car component can cost between $300-$600 which is why it is in your best interests to perform regular maintenance on your car.

Change the oil when it’s due, get the car serviced regularly, keep the tires inflated, etc. You can buy an OBD2 code reader to read engine code issues and reduce trips to the mechanic.

Such steps will also make your car economical to run, allowing you to save more on fuel.

Live in a Small House

If you’re on a tight budget and want to save money then consider switching to a smaller house. This can be a real money saver if you are renting as smaller homes typically cost less. 

Moreover, a smaller home will be easier and cheaper to run and maintain, allowing you to save money. 

Install Low-Pressure Showers

Showers rank third when it comes to most water usage. On average, a person uses up to 17.2 gallons for a total showering time of 8 minutes under a high-pressure shower.

You can reduce water usage by replacing high powered showers with low-pressure units. They can reduce water usage by 1 gallon per minute, allowing you to save money. 

Get Rid Of Bad Habits That Costs Money

Smoking a packet of cigarettes per day costs about $200 per week. This adds up to $800 a month. Imagine what a drastic change you can bring to your budget if you save $800 a month!

Plus, consider the health effects of smoking and other such habits. Smokers are more likely to fall ill, hence require more trips to the doctor. Plus, you may have to pay a higher premium if you are a smoker or drinker. 

In light of this, consider getting rid of these and all other habits that cause you to waste money. These include gambling, wasting energy and food. 

Turn to Natural Remedies to Treat Conventional Health Problems 

Regular health issues such as cough, headache, body pain can be treated at home using natural remedies. Americans spend more than $100 on medications for these types of regular health problems when it’s not even necessary.

You can simply try honey and black pepper to treat a cough, for instance In case of a headache, consume fruits or foods that are rich in vitamin B or use cold compression therapy. For body pain, ask a family member to give you a massage or provide warmth to the aching area to treat the pain.

This will save you hundreds of dollars on medications. However, be sure to visit a doctor if your condition is serious. 

Keep the Mobile Bill Low

Texting and calling can cost you many dollars on a daily basis. You can instead turn to free calling and texting apps such as WhatsApp, Vonage, and Skype to save money on communication.

However, such apps consume data hence, make sure to be careful about it. 

Unplug Devices Not in Use

A plugged-in device can still consume energy even if it is not in use. They are known as energy vampires as there’s no stopping to their energy feeding unless you plug them out.

Therefore, make sure to unplug your DVD players, mobile phones, computers, television sets, laptops when not in use to minimize electricity consumption.

Some reports suggest that keeping such appliances plugged in can destroy their battery. Being careful would allow you to save the battery as well. 

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

Washing clothes in cold water can save 90% of energy on heating. You can try cold water to do the laundry. It might be a bit difficult if you do not have a washing machine, though. 

Cancel Your Gym Membership

Don’t get us wrong. It’s important to hit the gym and stay fit but it’s an expense you do not need. Most people spend about $800 per year on a gym membership, including the initiating fee.

You can save this money by choosing to work out at home, go to public parks for a jog, and doing bodyweight training. 

Be Smart When Paying Taxes

Get in touch with a consultant to know all about how you can save tax money. For example, the federal government is currently offering tax reductions to homes with a solar panel. Some grants are available as well.

Similarly, there are other benefits for people in specific fields. Be aware of such offers to enjoy their benefits.

Save Commission and Agents’ Fees 

Do not pay a commission when you do not need to. Why hire the services of someone else when you can do it on your own?

Conclusion

Consider these tips if you are serious about saving money. The most important thing is to make a list of all your expenses so you know where your money goes. This will help you decide how to save money.

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About the Author: Jay

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