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10 Household Expenses You Should Cut Today

10 Household Expenses You Should Cut Today

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

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Sitting in front of the TV

    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.

    Overdue fees

    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.

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    Landscaping and gardening

    Women 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.

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      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.

      Extended warranties

      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

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      Natural remedies

        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

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Published on January 17, 2020

        How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

        How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

        Have you ever looked at health gurus and wondered how on earth they can afford all that health food? Or maybe you’ve tried multiple times to start eating healthy only to find the $600 monthly budget overwhelming?

        If you’re anything like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about! I absolutely understand the sinking feeling of looking back over a grocery budget and finding you went way over what you intended. And besides that, it can be hard to justify buying a tiny $5 bag of carrot chips while a $1 mound of potato chips is sitting right next door.

        My husband and I recently ran into that struggle. We got married this past year and soon found ourselves trying to balance 12 hour work-days with keeping our relationship strong and trying to keep our personal businesses afloat. Granted, our budget was the one thing that took a hit! After we started tracking our spending, we were shocked to see we were spending over $1000 a month just on food! A little planning cleared that right up.

        So, how to eat healthy on a budget?

        Here’re the top tips I learned that helped us shave over $600 monthly off of our food budget so we could reinvest that in the areas that really mattered to us![1]

        1. Meal Plan

        You’ve probably heard the saying “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” right? Well, this saying couldn’t be any more true than in the area of healthy budgeting! The fact is, most healthy foods don’t actually cost that much… the pre-made time saving ones do!

        If you go about creating a healthy meal plan within your budget, you could easily cut costs down to around the same price you are paying for junk food.

        Meal planning is as simple as working in foods you already have in your fridge/freezer, adding in several meals with simple ingredients and seasonal veggies, and breaking it down into a shopping list.

        Often, finding a few meals to make in big batches will save you the most money in the long run, which leads me to my next point.

        2. Cook in Bulk

        Not only will cooking in bulk save you a whole lot of time, it will save you a whole lot of money too! Believe it or not, if you find meals to make with similar ingredients, you can easily save more money than when you were eating unhealthy.

        Don’t believe me? Just look at a $4 frozen pasta dinner. Now, sub that with a veggie pasta dinner. 5 zuchinni ($3), Pasta sauce ($2.50), and chicken ($5) could last you a full 5 meals which adds up to a whopping total of just over $1 per meal!

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        That’s not even digging in to all the money you will save from fast-food. Trust me, a little $10 spent here and there add up! You’ll be saving a whopping amount from all the meal prep you will do!

        3. Cook all Your Meals in One Day

        The science behind this is 2-fold.

        Number one, if you have lots of meals to grab and go, you will be far less likely to binge on pricier food when you get hungry. Let’s be real, you’re not going to spend 1 hour cooking when hub-n’-grub is at your bekon-call!

        Number 2, meal prepping ahead of time will help you stick to your meal plan better when you’re not in the mood. Let’s face it, we’re all going to have days when protein and veggies doesn’t exactly sound appealing. But, if you have a full meal that’s quick to grab in the fridge, it will be easier for you to fill up on the good stuff rather than spending money on what you don’t really need.

        4. Cut Back on Snacks and Specialty Items

        I can almost hear you from across the screen. “But, I thought snacks were good for me!” Here’s the deal: Snacks are expensive! And healthy snacks, oh my goodness, say goodbye to your paycheck!

        Look, I’m definitely not saying that healthy snacks are bad. Quite frankly, I would much rather you chow down on Halo Top than a triple-butterfinger-fudge sundae. It’s just that… healthy snacks are why eating healthy gets a bad rap for being expensive.

        Look at it this way: You could either buy a week’s worth of groceries full of chicken, fish, beans, veggies, and fruits for $30. Or, you can spend that $30 on six snacks that will leave you hungry for more.

        What’s more, the ingredients for gluten-free baked goods, sugar free substitutes, or protein powders alone will add up to you eating a full week’s budget in one sitting. By all means, if you want to work some yummy items into your budget, do it! But don’t confuse that extra monthly $300 of delicacies as a necessity. Your body and budget will thank you!

        5. Satisfy Yourself with Your Favorite Subs

        We all have an emotional tie to food. Maybe pasta reminds you of home! Or maybe a fresh-baked pizza is what gives you a feeling of comfort. Whatever you favorite food, find a way to work it into your budget in the best way.

        We’re only human, and depriving ourselves of what we love will never end well. More often than not actually, it ends in take-out or a pricey-premade substitute.

        Instead of finding yourself in this situation, find a way to make your favorite foods fit your budget. Zuchinni noodle pasta might just give you that feeling of home without breaking the bank. Or maybe you could google a healthy pizza alternative you would like that you could make at home. Often, something similar to your craving will be enough to give you a sense of satisfaction.

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        Or, just buy your cheat meal and save it for a special day. That’s okay too!

        6. Stick to the Cheaper Proteins

        Okay, I know we all love steak. Unfortunately, buying pre-cooked or expensive cuts of meat are one of the easiest ways to drain a budget.

        Instead of purchasing those, try buying frozen chicken or eggs. A 5 lb bag of frozen chicken can be as cheap as $5, and you can buy a whole weeks worth of eggs for just over $1. You could even try going vegetarian for a few meals if you really want to cut down on costs!

        7. Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies

        I know, we all love our fresh fruits and veggies! However, sometimes frozen might be the way to go if you’re looking to cut costs!

        Fruits and veggies are easiest to ship when frozen, making them a much cheaper option. Contrary to popular belief, scientists have actually found that frozen might be better for you too![2]

        The reason is, frozen produce is picked at its prime and shipped immediately. Fresh fruit tends to be picked much earlier so it will ripen while being shipped. Not only does this make it less nutrient dense, but sometimes the fruits are actually pumped with artificial flavors to make up for the lack of real nutrients.

        While I’m all for fresh fruits and veggies, don’t feel guilty if you opt for frozen foods due to a budget.

        8. Bump up the Calories with Rice and Beans

        The problem some people find when trying to eat healthy is that it can be hard to get the amount of calories you need without relying on expensive “specialty” items. Instead of stocking up on pricey gluten-free breads and pasta, I say stick to simple rice and beans as the bulk of your meals.

        Brown Rice is very cheap and easy to use as a base for bowls and dishes. Likewise, beans can add a bit of fiber making you feel full and satisfied without having to spend a lot of money.

        If you are trying to cut on body fat, use extra veggies as the bulk of your meal and add in rice and beans as a filler.

        9. Try Acai Bowls

        Acai Bowls can be a really cheap and satisfying meal as long as you do it right.

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        You can find cheap fruits at most stores or just freeze your fresh fruits before it goes bad.

        Making your own granola can save you a lot of money as well. The total cost for this delicious meal should only add up to a few dollars compared to triple that price if you were to buy one pre-made.

        10. Make Your Own Meal Kits

        Do you like your meals freshly cooked? Sending meal kits to your doorstep is an easy way to drain your budget. Instead, try making your meal kit at home! Not only is it fun, you will easily get a delicious taste.

        Simply find a few simple meal cards or print some out and fill a ziplock with the ingredients for each specific day. Don’t know what recipe to make? Another option is to order one month of meal kits and recycle the recipe into ingredients for the upcoming months with ingredients you picked up from the store.

        11. Don’t Drink Your Calories

        A few dollars spent here and there can really add up! Just as with specialty items, healthy drinks can be a blackhole for you. An energy drink and kombucha and coffee each day could easily have you spending and extra $300 each month!

        I you really need a special drink fix, try making your favorites at home. Bring a coffee in, make kombucha, or even try making lemonade with stevia or a healthy soda. You’ll be surprised w hat a big difference such a small change can make on your budget!

        12. Buy Cheap Online

        Just like anything else, it pays to be prepared. Buying foods from online retailers can be a really affordable way to save money as long as you’re prepared.

        Plan ahead for those more expensive specialty items you can’t live without. It will save you tons of money compared to having to buy food from a specialty store.

        13. Don’t Fret about the Clean Fifteen

        One of the huge things that can mess with a person’s budget is eating organic. For the record, I am 110% all for eating organic whenever you can. However, for some people, it can be hard to make organic food fit into a budget.

        Instead of scratching healthy eating for a smaller budget, try to buy meat and the dirty dozen organic, and don’t go crazy about the rest. The clean fifteen are the fifteen safest foods to buy that aren’t organic! Meanwhile, the dirty dozen is the most worthwhile avoiding. According to Produce Retailer, these are the dirty dozens:[3]

        1. Strawberries
        2. Spinach
        3. Kale
        4. Nectarines
        5. Apples
        6. Grapes
        7. Peaches
        8. Cherries
        9. Pears
        10. Tomatoes
        11. Celery
        12. Potatoes

        14. Pay Attention to Storage

        Keeping the food you have is just as important as how much food is in the first place. Try to stay on top of how much produce you can actually use before it goes bad. It might not be a bad idea to pencil an extra shopping trip in the middle of the week to keep food fresh.

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        Investing in good food storage containers could go a long way in saving you in the long run as well.

        15. Freeze Food Before it Goes Bad

        Instead of getting mad at yourself at the end of the week for all the wilted produce you need to throw out, try freezing it before you get to that point.

        Most frozen veggies will taste delicious in stir fries and soups. You can freeze fruits to make sorbet or smoothies. Frozen greens can be chopped up and tossed into just about anything for a nutrient boost!

        16. Consider Ditching Most Supplements and Powders

        I have nothing against superfood powders and supplements. However, if your budget is tight, it can be hard to fit supplements and powders in.

        Instead of adding in powders, add extra nutrients to you food. Add lots of greens and veggies to all your meals to meet your nutrient needs. If you need a specific supplement, you can find great deals online as well!

        17. Use Budget App

        There are so many great apps you can download for free. One of my current favorite is HoneyDue because you can track your budget easily with your spouse. There are many options available, just find the one that you’re most likely to use. The ones that download your spendings automatically are often the easiest and will give you a more accurate number.

        My husband and I use the same app, but have a separate budget for each of our weekly food plan and for our additional snacks. Keeping things separate can often be helpful to know exactly where your money is going. Plus, it can help hold you accountable if you have a significant other you are sharing money with.

        18. Use What you Have

        Most people have unused protein powders lying around in their cabinets. Instead of letting that go to waste, work them into your meal plan. Protein powders can make amazing doughnuts, pastries, or pancakes!

        19. Enjoy the Process!

        Finding ways to enjoy your new lifestyle will be helpful in sticking to it long term. Find fun in seeing how much you can save each month. Make a competition with someone to see who can stick to the lowest budget and create something fun to do for the winner with some of the money saved! Blast some music in the kitchen while cooking your new recipes.

        Budgeting and health doesn’t have to be a drag. Make it fun and you’ll enjoy your new lifestyle long-term!

        Featured photo credit: kevin laminto via unsplash.com

        Reference

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