Putting a leash on your budget can be as hard as putting a leash on an elephant – sometimes the overall situation seems so overwhelming you get demotivated before you even start. I won’t go so far as to say that cutting household expenses is all about motivation, that would be too presumptuous on my part, but in fact financial difficulties cause problems with motivation and provoke depression. This is why it is recommended as soon as you notice you are under financial strain, to start dealing with those problems immediately.
Most people think cutting their budget will cause a very negative impact on the quality of their lives and they will have to sacrifice a lot of the commodities they really enjoy. This is not necessarily true, since modern living includes a lot of things we can easily do without, or we can find a quality replacement for.
Cable TV subscriptions
Let’s be honest, nobody has the time to watch TV all through the day and all those premium channels you are paying for are going to waste. Pay-per-view shows and movies might seem pricey, but in the long run, you get the bang for your buck instead of constantly paying for subscriptions you are not using. Also, you can use the internet to watch shows online for free or for a small fee.
Branded cleaning products
Most people take buying household products as a necessary expenditure. However, there isn’t much of a difference, in terms of both chemistry and effectiveness, between a mid-priced detergent and the top-of-the-line highly advertised brand-name detergent. Of course, you need to clean your home but you don’t necessarily need to buy the cleaning products in stores. DIY household products are much cheaper to make, better for your health and are eco-friendly – talk about saving and increasing your quality of life.
Bills that stack up to high heavens are the worse kind of household expenses, and can destroy your budget in a matter of months. Don’t forget to make regular payments since sanctions and penalty fees pile up and are the source of sorrow for many people. If you are not able to meet a certain important payment, it might be a better option to bite the bullet and ask somebody who is close to you for a loan. At least they won’t make you pay them back with interest.
Landscaping and gardening
If you are house owner, you probably know landscaping services can cost quite a bit.They are not one of the most important household expenses – you can do all of these things yourself, without calling for professional help, but it takes effort and a bit of research. As far as tools go, you can buy used tools or borrow them from neighbors – just make sure you return them when you are done using them.
Subscriptions and memberships
Some premium memberships can help you save money in the long run. On the other hand, some people get hooked by these and start hoarding every subscription and membership they can get their hands on, but this can be a waste if you are not using the benefits you get from them. Try finding the ones that actually give you discounts on things you need.
Credit monitoring services
Identity theft is on the rise and more and more people are falling prey to all kinds of frauds and phishing scams on a daily basis. Credit monitoring services are a nice option to have if it is free, but in most cases, it does very little apart from notifying you your account has been accessed.
Most common, regular warranties cover a period of 12 months which is enough. If you feel it is a good idea to pay for an extended warranty, go for it, but try to be realistic and avoid panicking yourself into this decision. These days, you can find reviews and comments about products all over the internet and they can range from short, sentence-long general impressions to in-depth reviews. Use them! If you pay extra for a warranty you end up never using, than you’ve wasted your investment.
Simple household medicines
Allergies, low fevers, coughing and so on are just a few common medical conditions you don’t really need medicine to overcome. Different types of herbal tea can help with overcoming and dampening the symptoms caused by different conditions. Some health issues – e.g. diarrhea or constipation – can be resolved with a simple diet change. If you can catch a fever in the early stages, you can often prevent it from taking hold with plenty of liquid, rest and herbal medicine. Combine these household medicines with preventive measures like a healthy diet and exercise and you have a very cheap way of keeping your family healthy.
Buying in bulk
How much of your food goes to waste because it goes unused past its expiration date? If the answer to this question is “some” then you don’t need to buy it in bulk. Don’t buy things because it is cheap to get a lot of them. Always ask yourself: “Do I need a lot of them and will they spoil easily?” Certain items can be stored away for long periods of time – canned goods, toilet paper, household chemicals like laundry detergent, tooth paste, etc. You can easily stack up on a year’s supply of these, e.g. when you get your tax return, and never have to worry about them again.
Always buying cheap
Buying cheaper doesn’t always mean you are getting your money’s worth. Buying poor quality goods means you will be buying them again soon. In some cases, even used and second-hand quality items last longer than new ones which were poorly made. There is a difference between cost-effective and cheap, and this is something you’ll need to learn about through trial and error.
Saving many is mostly about being informed and self-controlled. You will need to make an effort to change habits and find alternatives for things that cost too much. Also, make sure your efforts are helping your budget. A lot of times, people don’t stop to think saving methods through and realize it is actually costing them more instead of saving them money.
Featured photo credit: Sad, depressed young couple paying bills. via shutterstock.com