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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 May 7, 2019

        How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

        How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

        When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

        Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

        Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

        You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

        Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

        1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

        Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

        But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

        • Will you spend more time with your family?
        • What does retirement mean to you?
        • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

        Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

        Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

        2. Figure out When to Invest

        “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

        It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

        The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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        A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

        Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

        3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

        Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

        Why?

        Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

        Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

        Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

        Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

        4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

        Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

        If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

        You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

        1. Vanguard
        2. TD Ameritrade
        3. Charles Schwab

        5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

        Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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        Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

        That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

        Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

        A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

        6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

        The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

        Robo Advisors

        Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

        Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

        Bonds

        Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

        Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

        Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

        1. Treasury bonds
        2. Government bonds
        3. Corporate bonds
        4. Foreign bonds
        5. Mortgage-backed bonds
        6. Municipal bonds

        Mutual Funds

        Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

        One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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        Real Estate

        Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

        Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

        This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

        But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

        Savings Accounts

        Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

        7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

        Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

        So how can you master delayed gratification?

        By building your discipline.

        Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

        Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

        8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

        I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

        It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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        More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

        But, how can you invest yourself?

        Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

        Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

        But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

        Retire Happy with Excess Money

        The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

        It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

        I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

        Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

        One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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        Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

        Reference

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