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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 June 6, 2019

            The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

            The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

            Are you on track for retirement?

            If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

            Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

            But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

            If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

            What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

            Saving for retirement is tricky.

            Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

            Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

            Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

            Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

            20’s – $16,000

            During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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            Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

            30’s – $45,000

            At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

            Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

            40’s – $63,000

            This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

            50’s – $115,000

            During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

            60’s – $172,000

            By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

            Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

            The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

            Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

            First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

            Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

            Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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            How to Save Money Each Month

            By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

            But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

            Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

            Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

            Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

            Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

            Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

            To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

            How?

            By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

            Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

            If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

            Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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            Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

            Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

            When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

            Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

            Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

            If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

            Why?

            You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

            Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

            Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

            Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

            After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

            You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

            By starting a side-business.

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            This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

            The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

            So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

            Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

            Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

            What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

            My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

            Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

            For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

            If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

            Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

            Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

            Reference

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