Five Ways to Cut Costs at Home
It's Time to Cut Costs
Every summer I look for ways to cut current costs of living. I'm always surprised by the ways that I end up doing it, having not realized it was possible before hand. As a teacher I have found that my pay has not been increased for several years now, but the cost of living keeps getting higher. If you are in the same boat, take a few hours to cut your costs of living by reading this hub and taking action.
Reduce Cable Bill
One sure way to reduce your monthly cable bill is to negotiate. Do some research, find out what is being offered by other cable companies and call your current cable company. Tell them you are unable to afford their rates and have been looking elsewhere, shopping around. Ask them if they can reduce your costs. Many people do not realize that this is completely possible, as your cable company would rather keep you as a customer than lose your business.
According to Consumer Reports, "When we surveyed almost 21,000 Consumer Reports readers who had a triple play deal (TV, phone, and Internet), we found that only one out of three had negotiated with their provider. But close to half of those bargainers got a reduction in their monthly bill or more services for the same money."
Lastly, look carefully at your most recent bill. Are you paying for things that you really don't need? For instance, if you use the DVR option infrequently, then get rid of it. You can always add it back on later.
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Minimize Eating Out
A great way to truly understand how much of an impact eating out has on your budget, is to scan through your most recent bank statement. Add up all of the restaurant charges. Of course, this won't include cash spent. Even so, you will probably be very surprised by what you find.
Now you need to set some limits that you can live comfortably with. Below are a few ideas to choose from that are effective. Sticking with them is the key.
- Eat out only once a month. Make it a family night and something everyone looks forward to.
- Put a set amount of cash aside each month for eating out. Once this is gone, wait until the next month before eating out again.
- Eat breakfast at home and take your lunch to work. If you must eat out at work sometimes, set a limit (once every two weeks).
- Stop going to quick-stop restaurants. A lot of spending can be accounted for here. Find ways to curb this desire. For instance, get a coffee brand you love and make it at home.
Installing a Programmable Thermostat
Purchase a programmable thermostat. These are inexpensive (less than $100) and easy to install. By controlling the temperature of your home, you can start saving money immediately. Write down your weekly schedule (when you are home and when you are not). Program your thermostat so that your heating and cooling systems are not working hard until you are home to enjoy them.
According to Honeywell, "A programmable thermostat can save you up to 33-Percent off your energy bill, if used as directed. You set it up to adjust the temperature when you are away or asleep-times when you don't necessarily need to heat or cool your home to optimum comfort-and your HVAC equipment runs less. Plus, your heating or cooling comes back to the comfort level you desire before you come home or wake up. Honeywell programmable thermostats are easy to install and are pre-programmed for your convenience."
Which of the following do you plan to do this year?
Cancel Newspapers and Magazines
While this bill may be one of your smallest, it adds up to a lot over the course of a year. By canceling all magazine and newpaper subscriptions, quite a bit of money can be saved. By no means do you have to give up looking at the news or your favorite magazines. There are ways to do this for no cost at all.
Make library visits a regular occurrence. Visit your local library and check out the magazines there for free. They often carry newspapers as well. My local library gives away magazines. Just recently I picked up several issues of Coastal Living and All About You for free.
You most likely have a computer with internet access for news reports. Visit your local news website or any news website for that matter. In the United States, some of the most popular news websites are: CNN.com, CBSNews.com, and ABCNews.go.com. Visit Weather.com for all your weather information as well.
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Maximize Home Entertainment
If you go to the movies often, you may want to consider opening a Netflix account. You will get access to an unlimited number of movies for a small price that the whole family can enjoy. You will also get access to television series that you may want to revisit or series that you never had a chance to watch before. You can try this service for one month free, and then pay only $7.99 per month. Netflix allows you to choose from moviies that are available instantly via an internet-connected screen or movies that must be delivered at no extra charge.
Create a fire pit in your back yard with some sand and bricks or rocks. Make smores and sit around the campfire. Grill-out and have a feast in the backyard. Set up ladder ball and cornhole for outside fun. Visit This Old House, for written instructions on how to create your own cornhole game set.
For inside games, there are so many to choose from. Monopoly, Rummikub and Life are probably the most popular in my house. And then there are the card and dice games such as Farkle, Yahtzee, Rummy and Spite and Malice. Break out the popcorn, chips and dip and enjoy saving money.