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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

        Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on July 10, 2020

        The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

        The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

        Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

        Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

        Identifying All of Your Debts

        The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

        Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

        1. Own Your Debt

        Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

        Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

        2. Make a Debt Tracker

        It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

        Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

        3. Get Your Debt Number

        Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

        Prioritizing Your Debts

        All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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        1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

        Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

        There are three main types of bad debt:

        • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
        • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
        • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

        Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

        • Student Loan Debt
        • Mortgage Loan
        • Business Loans

        2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

        Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

        Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

        If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

        3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

        Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

        Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

        Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

        1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

        “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

        It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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        Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

        Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

        2. Hide Your Credit Cards

        If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

        Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

        3. Automate Everything

        Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

        4. Plan Ahead

        Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

        For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

        5. Live Cheaply

        The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

        • Live with roommates
        • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
        • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
        • Take public transit or bike to work

        Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

        The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

        If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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        1. Maintain a High Credit Score

        Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

        • Never miss a payment
        • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
        • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
        • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
        • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

        2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

        Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

        Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

        If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

        How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

        Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

        1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

        Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

        Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

        2. Earn More Money

        There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

        Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

        Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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        Talk to Your Boss

        Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

        Start a Side Hustle

        This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

        Build an Online Business

        There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

        3. Celebrate Your Wins

        As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

        While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

        4. Set New Financial Goals

        Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

        Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

        These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

        Conclusion

        Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

        Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

        More Tips on Getting out of Debt

        Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

        Reference

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