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After I Read This, I Have Saved Thousands On My Household

After I Read This, I Have Saved Thousands On My Household

These days being frugal is rather trendy. You probably already know how to save money on online shopping, cut down business costs, and get education for free, however it is the monthly utility bill that sucks up a pretty penny out of your paycheck. Start following these simple household money saving tips today and save at least an extra thousand dollar this year!

1. Fix your pipes and install low-flow water faucets

Did you know that 7 billion gallons of drinking water a day are wasted in the US? That’s enough to fill over 11,000 swimming pools! Make sure you conduct timely inspections of your pipes (at least once a year) and fix all the leaks. A dripping faucet adds extra 10% to your water bill.  Moreover, consider installing low-flow faucets which cost around 10-20$ per item. Ask yourself: do you really need a fire hydrant flow to wash your dishes or would you prefer to drastically reduce your bills?

Money saved: up to 60% on water.

2. Keep the electronics unplugged at night

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    How many electric appliances do you have at home? Think TV, microwaves, all your cell phone gadgets, laptops etc. What you may not realize is that all of them still use electricity even when they are powered off. An average US household has around 40 electronic devices powered up at any given time of the day, sucking over 100$ a year without owners even realizing it! The solution is surprisingly simple: keep all your appliances plugged into a power strip and disconnect them by the end of the day.

    Money saved: up to 5% on electricity.

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    3. Invest into Energy-star equipment

    If you work from home at least once a week or even run a home office, investing into Energy-star devices will save you a few hundred dollars per year as they consume at least 50% less electricity compared to standard equipment. For example, merely switching to energy star-labeled laptops and computers will cut down your energy consumption twice. The same goes with printers, fax machines, VoIP phones and other equipment you need to keep your small business running smooth and efficient.

    Also, think about installing access floors in your home office room to hide all the cables and wires, thus protecting them from mechanical damages (think riding with your chair over your laptop cord). Cables working at half-power drastically increase energy consumption and definitely will not help your equipment to last longer. Besides, you can use the extra space to store large items and avoid clutter. A clutter-free office looks better and makes you work harder.

    Money saved: up to 65% on electricity.

    4. Insulate your hot water heater

    By adding an extra layer of protection to your hot water heater and water pipes, you’ll save an extra 40% of heat from being wasted during cold months. There are numerous options available – from buying a 10-20$ insulating blanket (up to 40% of heat loss reduced) to spray foam insulation that typically cost around 400-500$, but will save you much more in the long run.

    Money saved: up to 9% on utilities.

    5. Seal the windows and doors properly

    Did you know that your household probably loses one-third of the heat due to drafty windows and doors? It’s the same with the cooling during warm seasons. Instead of paying extra, you can easily fix the issue by:

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    • Using insulated blinds and drapes on glass doors and large windows to regulate the heat. Also, cover up windows facing west, east and south on hot days and leave the shades up on sunny cold days, but do not forget to close them at night.
    • Replace single-pane windows with storm windows for cold seasons. That will reduce heat loss by 50%.
    • Use “low-e” transparent film to seal the drafty window for winter. It costs pennies, yet reduces the losses up to 20%.
    • Fill up all the window, floor and door cracks with caulk.

    Money saved: up to 40% on heating.

    6. Switch to fluorescent light bulbs

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      Only 6% out of all consumed electricity is turned into light by old traditional bulbs. Everything else goes into waste heat you obviously don’t need. Fluorescent bulbs cost a bit more, however they last up to 25 times longer, plus transform more energy into actual light. For example, replacing 15 bulbs could save you up to 600$ over the life of the bulbs.

      Money saved: up to 75% on electricity.

      7. Stop spending on bottled water

      Let’s do some simple arithmetic. Approximately, you pay 6$ for a standard case of water that is 0.40$ per bottle. An average family of four consumes up to 2 gallons per day which is 5.3 bottles per person a day and 2.13$. Multiplied by four and then by 365 we have over 3.000$ spent on plain water! The most basic model of a water filtration system will cost you roughly 20$ + a new filter required for every 40 gallons.

      Money saved: 2.900$ per year

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      8. Get a programmable thermostat

      If you work endlessly long hours, often go on business trips or have a lot of time to travel, getting a programmable thermostat should be your priority. It will automatically adjust heat/cooling settings according to the schedule you’ve set, thus reducing electricity and heat wastes. That’s extra 180$ saved per year.

      Money saved: up to 15% per year on electricity

      9. Use the right-sized cookware

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        Not only makes it your food cook faster and taste better, but using appropriately sized pans and pots can significantly reduce energy consumption. A 6″ pot placed on 8″ burner wastes 40% of heat. Depending whether you use an electricity or a gas cooker, you can save up to 36$ and 18$ respectively per year.

        Money saved: up to 9% annually on electricity

        10. Use the microwave to boil water

        On average, it takes four minutes less to boil a cup of water in the microwave comparing to the same action done on the stove. Besides, the appliance consumes 60% less energy. Imagine that each time you spend 3 cents less on your bill. Multiply the number by 365 and get a pretty decent amount of savings to spend on a weekend trip.

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        Money saved: 6-10% on electricity.

        11. Clean your dryer lint trap

        It seems pretty obvious, yet you probably forget cleaning the lint trap anyway. However, you should realize that this simple action will make your appliance work at least 75% more effective (less energy consumed) and increase its overall lifespan. Also, consider cleaning the dryer vent completely once in a while and occasionally washing your lint filter to reduce the bills even more and let your appliance serve you well for decades.

        Money saved: 4-8% on electricity.

        12. Take shorter showers

        Soaking in a warm bath requires 70 gallons of water on average, plus extra heating costs. While having a quick refreshing shower uses just around 10-25 gallons. It’s a no brainier that taking a shower is cheaper. But how much? Say, you like taking a 12 minute shower on average and your shower head pours around 2 gallons/per min. By opting for a 5 min shower instead, you’ll save nearly 3000 gallons per year. That’s from 10$ to 100$ saved annually depending on your current water rates.

        Money saved: 25-40% on water.

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        Elena Prokopets

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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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