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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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        Last Updated on January 2, 2019

        How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

        How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

        Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

        Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

        Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

        This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

        Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

        What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

        Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

        When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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        How It Leads to Financial Improvement

        It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

        Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

        Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

        It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

        Types of Personal Finance Software

        When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

        Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

        For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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        Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

        When to Use Personal Finance Software

        So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

        Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

        1. You Have Multiple Accounts

        There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

        If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

        Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

        2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

        Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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        There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

        With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

        3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

        Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

        Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

        Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

        4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

        Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

        You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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        How to Get Started

        From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

        Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

        It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

        When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

        Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

        Final Thoughts

        Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

        In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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