In the United States food prices shot up by 5 % during the last year. The highest annual increase in almost 20 years, according to the Labor Department. Some staples have risen well beyond that.
The average family spends over $ 7,000 per year on groceries, electricity, heating, water and cell phones bills.
Decrease your utility expenses to increase the size of your savings account.
One way to decrease your household expenses is to trim your grocery list and stick to it. Bulk purchases do not necessarily mean spending less money;
It requires practice, expertise to find the perfect balance between bulk shopping and saving money. Apply for a warehouse club membership like costco.com, Sam’s club and boxed.com.
There is a big difference between stockpiling and hoarding of groceries. Do not be tempted into overbuying.
In today’s society where everyone is busy, bulk grocery shopping saves you a lot of time as you will not have to go as often.
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Stock up on different brands, in case your baby/child breaks out from one brand, switch to another brand.
Stretch your diaper budget, switch to cloth diapers. Quality cloth diapers will last you through more than one child.
Beef takes a chunk of from the food budget, stock up on it every time you see it on sale.
You can never go wrong on stocking up on meat. Divide in to meal portions according to the size of your family, then freeze.
There are very good deals napkins, paper towels, kitchen towels etc in different stores out there. However they will take up a lot of space. I would rather stack them under the bed, in order to save a buck.
Laundry detergent has a longer shelf life, you save lots of money by stocking up.
With modern manufacturing technology, all you need is a little amount to wash. A few containers will last you a long time.
Eating out at restaurants can be costly depending on where you go. Drinks, tips to restaurant staff can be up to 25% of your bill, taxes on meals, all this can quickly add up.
In addition, restaurant food has more calories, artificial ingredients and the portions are usually huge.
List down 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners, 7 snacks, etc for one person- say mom. That is roughly 28 meals for one person.
Multiply by all family members. That is over 100 meals for a week for an average family.
However, when the same family goes out to eat at a restaurant, they will most likely spend way over $ 200 in one afternoon.
Food, drinks, tips and taxes not to mention gas. The total cost is usually way more than you think it is.
While grocery shopping, concentrate on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, beans, nuts and fish.
Start with cheaper ingredients and simple recipes to make delicious meals for your family during weekdays.You can settle for the more complicated recipes during the weekends.
Do not get discouraged, cooking will get better eventually.Instant pot and slow cooker help tenderize the less expensive meat cuts; bring out more aroma in food.
They come in handy when preparing casseroles, stews and soups. Compared to the oven, the slow cooker does not heat up the house during summertime.
I found out that it is best to buy at least 1 extra inner pot. That way you do not have to wash in between cooking.
Instant pot saves time, preserves nutrients and saves 70% electricity according to its website.
There are very good reviews about the Instant pot. Within no time you be trying out complicated recipes during weekdays.
- Invest some time in finding practical recipes for each coming week.
- Get yourself a weekly meal planner like the one below
- Incorporate theme days like meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, pizza Friday and soup Sundays.
- Inquire from family members what they would like to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Pinterest has a wide selection of recipes.
There is no right or wrong way of planning your family meals or organizing your recipes. Do what is effective for your family. What matters is meals are planned for a week.
The gym membership you rarely use. Consider working out from home using free online workout videos and mobile phone apps if you have space.
There are so many apps out there to help you track your monthly bills. For example, every dollar lets you create different budgets, connect it to your bank account and view your account balance with this app.
I use the good old excel spread sheet to track our expenses, it works just fine for us.
You can also track your expenses using a spreadsheet. Or a small notepad where you write down every penny that you spend.
Be it deposit to savings/investments account, chewing gum, parking fine/fees, school lunch or mortgage payment.
The “beauty” with the notepad is you must pull it out every time you want to purchase something. Pulling out the notebook every time will uncomfortable, hence less spending.
Before you “touch” your income every month, write down all your bills, debt repayment, savings, investments, accounts, sinking fund, emergency fund.
Saving for a car or a vacation (basically anything you spend money on) in a spreadsheet, notepad or app.
Then allocate your money to the different categories until every penny is directed where to go. Many money experts believe that money without a job will get wasted.
Leave your credit/debit at home. You realize you spend less when you pay cash because you feel the money leave your pocket unlike credit card.
One way to do it is by using the envelope system. You put money in different envelops allocated to budget items like groceries, gas, entertainment, clothes etc.
Unlike credit cards, envelopes do not have unending cash streams. When you use all your allocated money at the beginning of the month.
You will feel the pain towards the end of the month when your family must feed on peanut butter sandwiches- i.e lesson learned.
Paying cash is convenient, you pay for whatever you must pay, then you are done.
Unlike putting the bill on your credit card with higher interest rates and hidden fees.
There are different envelope systems out there. Some people normal different colored envelopes for different categories.
I use this Savvy cents wallet with inbuilt cash slots for the different categories like food, fuel, clothes etc.
Cars take a huge chunk of money from the monthly budget. They constantly depreciate, need maintenance, car payments, interest, insurance and parking.
Use public transportation if you have access. It will save you a small fortune on gas, parking and maintenance in the long run.
Consider renting a car for the monthly bulky shopping. Uber made life simpler for people living in bigger cities.
Decrease utility expenses by simply switching to energy saving light bulbs.
Install dimmer lighting, so you only use as much light as you need. Switch off all lights in the rooms that are not in use.
Consider replacing your 10 years or older electric appliances with green energy star models, this will reduce your electricity bill.
Did you know keeping your fridge/freezer full saves energy. Food acts as an insulation, reducing the amount of time the fridge runs to stay cool.
Inspect and clean your heating ventilating and air-conditioning system.
Change the filters as per manufacturer’s recommendations. It saves electricity and gives you cleaner air in your home.
Install a programmable thermostat, set it to heat/cool your house moments before you get home;
Automatically changes the heating and cooling in case you are not at home and during the night when everyone is asleep.
Most people simply use the same hot water level year around. During the spring and summer months, adjust the temperature on your water heater.
It is warmer outside, the water heater does not have to work as hard. Decrease your hot water temperature by 10 degrees, you will save good money from spring to fall.
Auto insurance is a necessity, which of course adds to your expenses. There are different premiums with different factors.
Shop around for the insurance policy with affordable insurance rates which suits your needs.
How do you decrease expenses on your utility bills? Share with us in the comments section below.