Like many of us out there are, you are probably wondering how to drastically cut your household expenses increase the size of your savings account.
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.
In this post, you will find out about ways to drastically cut your household expenses.
- While cutting expenses to the bone, consider shopping for groceries in bulk. Bulk purchases do not necessarily mean spending less money; But when done properly, it will help you save money on grocery shopping.
- There are many bulk stores online. 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.
You might get overwhelmed by the cheaper prices at warehouse clubs, will might end up buying lots of stuff because of all the good deals you missed in the past.
Shopping groceries in bulk saves you a lot of money. We save around 40% on certain items by buying them in bulk.
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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Dry pasta will last for months as long as you store it a dry place.
Keep a well stocked pantry of bulk canned foods you regularly use like tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, tuna, corn etc. Aldi’s canned foods at very reasonable prices.
The average baby wears between 3,500 to 4,600 diapers a year. Buying diapers in bulk is a huge money saver.
Amazon, Boxed, and Costco are some of stores that have good prices on diapers in bulk. I know of some moms who stocked up on a year’s diapers.
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.
- Buy huge bags of oats, cereals, quinoa, granola, nuts and seeds from Azure, and Bulk Nation.
- Nuts and seeds are expensive, you will definitely save a lot of money; store them in a cool dry place.
- The downside is those huge bags take a lot of space. Store your oats, cereals, quinoa, granola and nuts in big mason jars for everyday use.
- I store my chia seeds in a cupboard for use in puddings and smoothies; many people i know freeze them.
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.
- Let me break it down for you. Take your food stuffs receipt for say $200 for a family of four for whole week.
This includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks etc for the whole family.
- 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.
It is way more cheaper to cook at home, than eat out often.
Meal planning saves you from “suddenly” spending money on take -out breakfast, lunch or and dinner when you get home late in the evening.
Plan your meals say on weekly basis, even when you get home late, you know what to prepare for dinner. you are more likely to make healthier meals when you plan.
Build your weekly meals around sales ads, stick to a shopping list, you will save money on groceries.
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. 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 instant cooker and slow cooker do not heat up the house during summertime.
- The Instant pot does the job of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, saluting(browning) and warming pot.
- Can you believe the space you will save in your kitchen? There are over twenty thousand positive reviews, that definitely says about how good it is.
I found out that it is best to buy at least 1 extra inner pot, 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.
The next step is to review your monthly payments, look at your account statements to get a clear picture of where your money is going instead of your wondering where it went.
- In order for you to track your expenses, you need to create a budget.
- Record all your expenses, the parking ticket, the gum you buy from the 7 Eleven, everything you buy, write it down. I found this tip to be very effective, many times i find it uncomfortable to write certain things down. This makes me think twice before spending money.
- Tracking will help you realize what areas you need to cut back on. There are many personal budgeting tools you can choose from. I use both excel and Ynab. I know how someone who is very contented with a pen and paper.
- Reduce your cable bill by switching to streaming TV. Streaming TV is flexible and cheaper compared to cable TV.
- There no monthly charges for digital boxes.
- The quality and sound of the images are superb, provided you have access to high speed internet.
- You have access to your programs anytime anywhere, as long as you have good internet access.
- Call your service providers and see whether you can get a better deal on TV, internet & mobile phone subscriptions.
- I used to be one of those people who associated budgeting with depriving myself of the things i enjoyed.
- With budgeting, you can still enjoy your favorite Starbucks beverage, just include them in your budget, so there is money allocated to them.
- Before you “touch” your income check, write down all your bills, debt repayment, savings, investments, accounts, sinking fund, emergency fund etc.
- With zero budgeting, you allocate every dollar a job. After making your monthly budget, the balance between income and expenses must be zero. If your still have a few hundred dollars left, try to find a job for them. i.e make extra payments toward your mortgage or student loan.
- Zero budgeting helps you to scrutinize your expenses, before making your budget. The ultimate goal is to curb unnecessary spending. Many money experts believe that money without a job will get wasted.
- Put money in different envelops allocated to budget items like groceries, gas, entertainment, clothes etc.
- The trick is discipline and consistency, do NOT borrow from one envelope to another.
- Remaining money from this month, is carried forward to next month – meaning more savings or more payment money towards something the following month.
- 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 pinch towards the end of the month when your family must feed on peanut butter sandwiches- i.e lesson learned.
- 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.
- 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 system wallets out there. Some people use the cash envelope binder with usual colored envelopes for different household categories. I use the Savvy cents wallet i am contented with it.
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, is one way to reduce your electricity consumption at home.
- 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, decrease the water temperature on your water heater by 10 degrees to lower your water bill.
- Since it is warmer outside, the water heater does not have to work as hard. 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 are you cutting your household expenses? Share with us in the comments section below.