With the increasing price of goods and services, here are some tips to cut down on spending, along with other money saving techniques.
Review and Reduce Discretionary Spending-
What is discretionary spending? Simply put, this is voluntary purchases of goods or services that you want to buy, but are not required expenses. In other words, it’s wants, but not needs. Discretionary expenses include entertainment, electronics, vacations, tickets to events, and dining out.
Take an honest look at what ‘wants’ are most important to you, and what expenses you wouldn’t miss.
Start small. Try to cut spending on these items by a small amount, maybe 5% - 10%. Evaluate what monthly discretionary expenses are most important to you, and what expenses you wouldn’t miss paying.
Take a break from cable and streaming services during summer months. As the seasons change, your habits often change as well. With warmer weather, many people are spending more time outside, and less time front of a screen. Streaming services often are paid month to month, with no contract that specifies length of service. In the fall, you can choose to pick up where you left off, or you may realize that you no longer need the cancelled service. If a new show or new season is released that you want to watch, you can always subscribe again and cancel your service after watching.
Most online TV streaming services will allow you to pause service, but you may have a contract for certain cable services, that include early termination fees. Make sure to check your terms of service before cancelling.
Save Money on Necessities-
Save on Gas Costs- Did you know your driving habits can impact your fuel efficiency? Driving the speed limit, avoiding rapid acceleration and braking can increase the gas mileage in your vehicle. Reducing idling and AC use will also have a positive impact. When purchasing gas, consider grocery stores that offer rewards programs, or check and see if your credit card offers rewards on gas.
Electricity Saving Techniques- Residential electricity rates have been increasing, but there are things that you can do to keep your costs down. Unplug unused electronics and lights. Even if electronics are not turned on, they are still using electricity. Take the extra second to plug a device in before use, and try to use natural light when available.
Turn off air conditioners when you are not home. Most central air systems will allow you to set schedules to automate this process, but be sure to turn off window AC units when leaving the house as well.
Groceries- Another cost that cannot be avoided, but you will need to eat throughout the month! Grocery rewards credit cards may be enticing, but these often carry annual fees, and high interest rates. Check to see if grocery stores in your area offer loyalty programs. These are often free to join, your credit is not run, and you can save on member only discounts.
Reviewing store flyers, looking for sale items, and using coupons are other ways to reduce your grocery bill. Go into the store with a list of what you need, and stick to that list. Small impulsive purchases don’t seem like much, but they will add up over time.
Try generic ‘store’ brands. These are cheaper than the alternative name brand items, but you may not be able to notice a difference with certain products.
Depending on your needs, consider joining a wholesale club, such as Sam’s Club or BJs Wholesale Club. These clubs have annual fees, but allow you to save by buying in bulk, and offering gas discounts. They may make sense for a larger family, but the gas savings alone may be enough to justify the membership for an individual or smaller family.
Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags! Most locations are now charging for single use bags. Save your money, while also helping reduce waste.