Do one thing: If you are spending more than you earn, hit the pause button on all but your most basic necessities. The best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging.
Millions of Americans are worried about money, with nearly 75% of U.S. adults saying they are stressed about finances. And a little more than 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
This doesn’t have to be you.
If you could use some ideas on how to cut housing costs (and honestly, who couldn’t right now?) to save more and have a little breathing room at the end of the month, we’re here to help get your household finances in order. Here are some savvy strategies on how to best reduce some typical household costs:
Sneaky Subscriptions. If you don’t have a budget, you should still be regularly checking in on your recurring household expenses, especially those monthly subscription services that often get overlooked.
You could be paying for music and movie streaming you rarely use. The same goes for gym and exercise memberships, plus clothing services and media subscriptions that no longer meet your needs.
Use a spending plan tool to provide more visibility into recurring expenses that can get lost in the monthly budget. SavvyMoney users have access to a budgeting tool that can help make sticking to a spending plan a snap.
Dialing Back Digital. While millions of Americans cut the cord on cable services in recent years, the price for home internet has ballooned right along with our need for ever-present Wi-Fi from the kitchen to the closets.
Internet, cable, and TV bills should be revisited on at least an annual basis to make sure that you are on the best plan offered by your provider. Many subscription prices change, but internet and cable providers do not notify customers of the lower-cost options available. You have to be proactive to ensure you receive the best pricing by checking in regularly.
Stock Up on Sales. Another tip for reducing grocery and household expenses is to stock up on staple items when you see them on sale, instead of waiting until you are about to run out. Take toilet paper – you should try to buy it when you see it on sale instead of waiting to buy it when it is full price. If you have space, buy a six-to-eight-week supply of items including shampoo, paper towels, cleaning products, and even canned goods–things that will keep for at least a few months.
Don’t Defer Maintenance. Homeowners should take a proactive approach to reduce household repairs and maintenance. Regular maintenance on things like your HVAC system will help you avoid more costly repairs that arise when systems are neglected. In other words, you should schedule a once- or twice-a-year checkup of your HVAC system to ensure the ducts are free of debris and your system is heating and cooling properly.
Beware of Extended Warranties. We’ve likely all been there a time or two, credit card in hand, debating silently if we should plunk down an extra $100 or $200 for the extended warranty on a brand-new oven or washer. Not so fast. Extended warranties are intentionally confusing and limiting. Be sure to read the fine print and understand the warranty before you make any decisions.
If you worry you won’t have the funds for a pricey repair, now is the time to create an emergency fund so the next time something breaks, you are better equipped to handle the unexpected expense.
Investigate Your Utilities. They may be boring, but paying for power, sewer, and water can eat up a big chunk of your take-home pay. Don’t just assume there’s nothing you can do to lower these monthly costs. Utility providers in many states now offer their customers an online way to track their usage from month to month and year to year. Call or visit your provider at least once a year to make sure you are taking advantage of any discount plans available. It can’t hurt to ask and it could help.