Ways to Cut Costs Part 2: Quick Cost-Cutting Strategies in Your Home & Lifestyle
When you want to take control of your budget, sometimes you need to cut costs. We’re bringing you this article as the second part of our realistic cost cutting strategies series. Read on to learn more about how to effectively cut costs.
PART 2: Cut Your Home & Lifestyle Costs
There are many painless ways to cut costs that will reduce your financial stress – more than you realize. One of the easiest methods is to lower your infuriating utility bills for electricity, gas, and water. Yes – infuriating – because these are bills that seem to increase nearly every month.
Check for drippy faucets and fix them. Check if the toilet(s) seem to run on flush for longer than normal and if there are any signs of a slow leak. If you rent, notify your landlord or the management company immediately. If a new toilet is needed, insist on an energy efficient toilet.
Electricity bills can soar – so let’s get that under control first.
Hot Water Temperature
The fastest way to cut costs is to lower the heat setting on your hot water tank. Manufacturers set heat level to 140 ºF, which is higher than needed. Lowering the thermostat to 120 ºF will save between 4% and 22% of your bill annually, plus you won’t feel the difference. If you own your home or are renting a house where the lease makes you responsible for items such as the hot water tank, lowering the water temperature also saves you serious money in tank replacement costs.
Run your washing machine on the cold water setting. A good detergent works as well in cold as in hot water and makes your clothes last longer.
Air Conditioning and Heating
Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature during summer and winter usually means running the AC or heat. There are ways to lower costs associated with HVAC usage. Check that windows and doors fit properly and are insulated. A window or exterior door that doesn’t fit flush to the outside wall lets in air and plays havoc with trying to control costs.
Buy inexpensive filters and change them monthly. Have the unit inspected/serviced as recommended or at least every other year.
If you are renting and it is permissible, install a programmable device to your thermostat. This gives you greater control over when the AC or heat is actually on.
Ceiling fans are a huge plus in lowering electrical bills. Set the blades to rotate in the proper direction to push warm air down in the winter and up in the summer. The cost of running ceiling fans is minimal. Be sure to keep the blades clean.
Replace as many light bulbs as possible with LED (preferable) or CFL bulbs. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they last a lot longer.
Power Strips and Timers
Unplug unused devices or use power strips. Using a timer for that morning coffee not only saves money but lets you wake up to the aroma of a freshly brewed cup. A smart power strip will manage electricity flow based on a control device; as an example, a DVD player will only receive power if the TV is turned on first.
These are easy and small changes that will amount to substantial savings on your utility bills.
If you are renting, consider moving to a more cost-effective property. If your current location is great for the kids’ school district, work proximity, or you just love where you are – look at saving elsewhere.
Transportation Savings Tips
Consider using public transportation. If you are lucky enough to live in a city where public transportation is superb (Boston, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle to name a few), you’ll not only save money but time too. By relying on public transportation, your feet and the occasional Uber ride, you won’t even need to own a car. This means zero car insurance, gas, upkeep and parking fees. Some forward thinking employers even contribute to monthly public transportation packages. Check if your company is one of them.
If you must have a car, look into carpooling; everyone will save gas and parking fees.
Check into various plans to lower your costs; this is usually best done face-to-face with your current provider before considering other options. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Generic and Store Brands
From medicine to cereal, buying generic brands can result in sizable savings. Read and compare the contents of the generic vs your favorite brand; if they are basically the same, buy the generic.
Put an end to impulse buying. Just because something looks really fun and trendy doesn’t mean you need it. Every fashionista and style maven suggests buying less but buying better!
Look for clothing that is well-made and somewhat classic in style. Funk up your looks with inexpensive accessories and imagination.
Refinancing of Loans
Refinancing loans is another option. Because of the multiple factors involved such as type of loan, early payment penalties, etc., loan refinancing is a topic we will be addressing soon as an in-depth stand-alone entity.
Cut Costs In Your Home & Lifestyle Today
These suggestions may work for you when taking control of your budget; others will be less realistic. It is important to understand that budgeting is an ongoing process. The best way to approach it is figure out what is feasible for you and then stick with it. Then sit back and watch your savings accumulate.