- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
Cutting down your expenses
Most people think that building a budget is hard and to some extent they are right. Itemizing everything you spend your money on in different categories is not easy, however the rewards are well worth the effort. While not simple to do, analysis of your spending trends after you’ve had a budget in place for a couple of months can be an eye-opening experience.
By making some simple and small changes in your daily life and with your budget in hand it is actually possible to save hundreds on a monthly basis – all it takes is a little willpower and some forethought and planning to make it possible.
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Saving on your Utilities
Once you know how much you’re spending for your heating, water and electricity you’ll probably be very depressed. While these are an absolute necessity (especially in some colder climates) there are things that you can do to control the amount that you are spending on each of them.
Water - invest in some low flow toilets and showerheads. While you might not get as much force out of them as you were used to, the small upfront cost will pay major dividends in the long run.
Heating – make sure that you have an energy efficient boiler (this is my next major investment). While the upfront cost can be measured in thousands of dollars or pounds, the monthly savings are fairly significant – up to almost 30% of your normal heating bill! In addition if you’re able to take advantage of some government grants you can save some or all of this upfront cost!
Electricity – have you considered solar? If you have a house with a south facing roof, it’s possible to not only save money on your monthly electricity bill, but if you have the capital for an upfront investment you can actually make money from it!
Food & Groceries
Brown bagging might be a bit old fashioned, but once you take a look at the amount you are probably spending on lunch away from home on a weekly basis you will be shocked and dismayed. While it is difficult perhaps to juggle everything you do on a regular basis and make lunch, I think you will find that simply moving your alarm clock back by five minutes (and no that does not mean you can hit snooze one more time!) will save you hundreds a year. Its old fashioned, but it’s a solution that has stuck with us because it works!
Shopping & Transport
I am obviously a big fan of online shopping. I think having the flexibility to look for what you need in the comfort of your own home and compare multiple different shops without having to troop through a mall is well worth it. In addition, doing my shopping in this fashion easily allows me to take advantage of the plethora of coupon and cashback sites that are out there looking for your business. However sometimes you just need to go to the shop – the best suggestion I have for you here is to ensure that you combine your multiple trips into one. While it might be a bit more difficult having to visit multiple shops in one day, the savings that you will make with Gas prices at an all time high are probably also worth the aggravation.
As you can see, there are lots of simple and complex things that you can do to help you find a couple of extra bucks. Nothing here will change your life overnight, but in the long run you will definitely get a much bigger return than you are expecting!