Many people struggle to balance their monthly budget because they assume there is no way to cut down on essential expenses.
Household expenses, such as groceries, utility bills, housing costs, insurance premiums, and car driving are unavoidable, it is possible to rationalize and lower these costs.
Here are five says to lower monthly expenses now.
Slash grocery bills
One of the best ways to stretch your dollars at the grocery store is to go armed with a list. This will help you control impulse purchases and eliminate the temptation of buying unnecessary items just because they are offered at a discount.
You can save more on grocery shopping with strategies such as weekly meal planning, online price comparisons, buying in-season or local produce, bulk shopping at warehouse clubs, and choosing store brands which are often priced lower than national brands.
To find out the lowest grocery prices in your area ahead of time, scan advertisements in store calculators, and look for coupons and deals at different stores in your area.
Cut utility costs
Everyone needs water and power, but it doesn’t mean you cannot find ways to save on utility costs. When it is time to replace the lights, choose LEDs instead of incandescent light bulbs. Look at the lumen number of the bulb (instead of wattage). Lumens is a measure of how much power it will consume.
Install a programmable thermostat for your HVAC system which will let you adjust how cold or hot you want to keep your home when you are away, and return to the desired temperature just before you’re back from work.
Most electronic or electrical gadgets continue to consume a small amount of power if you keep them plugged in all the time. Make sure unused devices are always unplugged or get a power strip that will shut them off automatically. Seal air leaks to save on energy bills both in summers and winters.
Save on housing costs
If you are living in a large home and struggling to make the monthly mortgage payments or paying the monthly rent, consider moving to a smaller home in a more affordable location.
If you own the home and don’t want to relocate, you may consider renting out an extra room so bring down your net housing costs.
Mortgage refinancing is another prudent strategy to consider in times when the prevailing market interest rates are lower than what you are paying on your existing mortgage.
Cheaper insurance options
When you purchased your home or car, your financial situation may have been more comfortable and you may not have spent much time to shop around for the cheapest insurance. But you don’t have to stay with your existing insurance policies forever. Look for cheaper options with your existing insurance provider or a different insurer.
Many insurance providers may be willing to offer a discount if you bundle your homeowners insurance auto insurance with the same company.
You may also consider increasing your deductibles in order to reduce the amount of monthly premiums.
Trade your luxury car for a cheaper model
Switching to a more affordable car is a wise idea when you are dealing with financial stress or fighting to meet your debt obligations. There is no law that says you must stick to a top-of-the-line SUV or a large, sporty car once you have bought it.
Savings in terms of reduced auto loan payments, gas consumption, maintenance costs and insurance premiums can be substantial when you trade your expensive vehicle for a more mainstream model.