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These 10 Tips Have Helped Me Save Thousands On My Household

These 10 Tips Have Helped Me Save Thousands On My Household

Whether you are living alone, with a roommate or a significant other, managing household costs should be a priority if you want to be able to get out of debt and live a fairly comfortable life. It’s nice to know that you have some money on your account that can help you cover emergency costs, as well as a little extra saved up for a few important luxuries like travel, home renovations and so on. However, in order to achieve a certain level of financial stability you need to make sure that you are being efficient with your monthly budget, and there are plenty of simple ways to save money without making it seem like you are punishing yourself.

What we will be looking at in this article are money-saving tips that are practical and sustainable, i.e. things that will help you out in the long run and that can become second nature. I’ve managed to drastically improve my budget using these tips – by spending less on basic everyday things, I have actually allowed my family to spend more on some of the finer things in life, and so can you.

1. Stop buying disposable razors and expensive shaving gels

Electric shaver

    I’ve always admired my old man’s ability to keep his face clean shaven every single day for decades using an old straight razor that his father left him and shaving soap. I on the other hand, have been wasting money on disposable razors and fancy-looking shaving gels until I realized just how much they were costing me.

    Yeah, they’re cheap, but you can go through a bunch of them each month. Since a straight razor takes time and skill to use and has to be maintained, a better solution for the busy modern man or woman would be a safety razor or an electrical shaver. Modern electric shavers give a good shave in a third of the time it takes to shave with safety or disposable razors, they work for women as well as men, and you only need to replace the head every few months. You can also whip up a very good shaving cream at home with a minimal investment. Switching to an electric shaver and making your own shaving cream will save you 20-30% depending on how often you shave.

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    2. Switch to a healthier diet and do some walking

    Many people are under the wrong impression that eating healthy costs more than eating junk food. For one, a healthy diet means cutting back on the calories to shed some of the extra pounds, and less food means less money spent. Second, as long as you don’t go full on organic, you’ll find that fruit and vegetables can be quite cheap and filling. You can even buy frozen vegetables in bulk and keep them in the freezer for months.

    Eggs are quite cheap as well, and you can get chicken, beef and veal relatively cheap when buying in bulk. As long as you go for a brisk walk, say 60-90 minutes each day, do a few workouts here and there, and eat healthy your health will improve and your medical bills will go down. A healthier lifestyle and smart grocery shopping can save you around 20% and save you a trip to the doctor.

    3. Work on your gardening and cooking skills

    Gardening at home

      If you want to take your healthy lifestyle savings to the next level you can grow your own fruit and veggies in the garden or even inside the house, and cook your own food instead of dinning out all the time. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that don’t take up a lot of space, they give you free and fresh organic ingredients and some, like cherries and almonds, are extremely beautiful when they flower.

      You have access to thousands of recipes online and free cooking videos, and you can prepare meals for the next few days and keep them in plastic containers, and bring them to work. Growing your own fruit and vegetables, and cooking more can save you an extra 10% on your grocery bills.

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      4. Be on the lookout for great bargains, even if you don’t need anything right now

      Shopping for something only when you absolutely need it doesn’t leave you with a lot of options. For example, buying a big warm jacket during the winter means you’ll have to pay the full price, while you can buy one in the summer for half price. This is why you should always be on the lookout for great deals when you are running errands around town or going to get some coffee on your lunch break.

      Sometimes an exceptional opportunity presents itself, and the money you spend now saves you a lot more down the road. Depending on the discount or special offer involved, hunting for good deals can save you anywhere between 15% and 50% on a variety of items.

      5. Educate yourself about hygiene products, clothes and gadgets, so you can buy cost-effective items

      Informed customers

        To boost your savings even further you need to become a well-informed consumer. A higher price doesn’t necessarily mean better quality, and sometimes all you are paying for beyond a certain point is the privilege to become a walking billboard for a big company. With hygiene products like shampoos, tooth pastes and soaps in particular, there is no noticeable difference between reasonably priced and top of the line products, apart from packaging and marketing.

        The more you know about phones, cameras, fashion and other areas, the better you will be able to judge whether a product is worth the price tag or not. By being an informed shopper, on top of looking for bargains, you can save another 5-15% while getting the same quality goods.

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        6. Try to ditch some of those bad habits

        About 18% of American adults are smokers and over a third are obese, and the numbers aren’t quite clear on the number of people who drink regularly. Bad habits like smoking, emotional eating, excessive drinking, impulsive shopping and even excessive coffee consumption can take a big bite out of your budget. It takes a strong will and patience to make a positive lifestyle change, but it really pays off. Not only can ditching bad habits do wonders for your overall mental and physical health, which means spending less on medical bills, but it can help you cut your spending by another 10-30%.

        7. Consider switching to a wood-burning stove

        classic wood burning stove

          The heating bill is usually one of the biggest hit to everyone’s budget. When winter comes you don’t have much of a choice than to keep the house warm by any means available. However, even though some DIY insulation solutions can help you keep the place warmer, a wood-burning stove is a very cheap heating solutions and will last for decadences. Getting quality firewood will keep the fire going for a long time and isn’t expensive, but will require some work to chop up and store properly. A stove will require an initial investment, but will quickly pay for itself, as it keeps you warm winter after winter, and will save you up to 20% on your heating bill.

          8. Don’t walk around the house in a t-shirt and shorts during the winter

          You can save on your heating during the coldest months even further if you dress for the season. Most people like to feel warm and cozy, but if you want to walk around the home wearing as little clothes as possible, like you do in the summer, then you will need to heat the home up to summertime temperatures, which is not very energy efficient. A simple solution is to wear warm socks and slippers, and layered clothing, so that you can keep the temperature a bit lower and still stay warm enough. This can cut another 3-5% from your bills.

          9. Learn to limit your water usage during everyday tasks like showers and dish washing

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          Conserving water while washing dishes

            I like to imagine that I am in a dessert environment and that water is very precious and the supply limited – an idea I got from a summer vacation where we had to make do a set amount of water each week. You’d be surprised at how much you’ll save on your water bill if you start turning it off while you brush your teeth or soap up during a shower, use a low flow to quickly rinse the dishes and turning it off until you’ve applied detergent and scrubbed them off and so on. You can also get more efficient shower heads and faucets. This can save you a nice 5-8% on your bills, depending how many people you have in your household.

            10. Hit the library

            Buying books can be expensive, while joining a library costs very little. However, not a lot of people spend plenty of money on books, but they do sometimes need a quiet place to work or do some research, and while coffee shops are a good option, they tend to be pricey. Public libraries offer a calm workspace which doesn’t cost you anything, and as an added bonus, those few hours you spend at the library are a few hours during which you are not actively using electricity at home, so you save a tiny bit on your energy bill as well. Depending on how much time you spend at the library, you can save some 5-10% on coffee shop bills.

            All in all, following these simple and effective cost-cutting measures will allow you to shave a fifth or fourth off your monthly spending. This money can go towards paying off your debt, straight into an emergency fund or into a savings account.

            Featured photo credit: Kitchen 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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