When you ask a financial expert for advice about how to cut costs, you will generally be given tips that will pretty much require you to alter your lifestyle. For instance, if your specific goal is to slash your monthly credit card bills, a money expert might advise you to apply for a debt consolidation loan.
Doing so might lessen the burden of the credit card bills that you have to pay on a monthly basis, but at the expense of not having the extra money to pay for your other necessities. This requires having to alter your lifestyle in a major way.
What if you would like to save money, but without making major alterations with the way that you currently live? When you put together the small amount that you will save out of these little changes or improvements that you will make, the money is bound to add up to a bigger figure later on.
One great example is cutting off your electricity bills by 10% to 15%. If you already have energy-efficient light bulbs, you can slash the bill simply by turning off all the electrical appliances which are not in use.
When you put the TV or the computer on standby mode all night instead of completely turning them off, they are consuming phantom electricity.
The same thing holds true for gadget chargers and all your other electronic devices. With the help of a power strip, you can turn everything off all in one go and save as much as 15% on your electric bills. What other small changes like this can you make inside your home for you to save money on your daily expenses? Find out in the next section.
What Are the Ways to Cut Costs This Week?
When looking for ways to cut costs on a weekly basis, you need to do things which take very little effort, but have a lot of impact on reducing your bills. Before coming up with ways to cut costs for an entire week, think about why you are doing it in the first place. Is your goal to slash your bills so you can put more money towards your savings account?
Are you saving up for a down payment for a new car? Are you trying to pay off all your debts so you can have a financially worry-free life? No matter what the reason is behind your want or need to save money, the purpose should be clear. This way, you can become more motivated to reach your goal which is to save money by cutting costs.
Now, here are the individual ways that you can cut costs this week, without having to go through major lifestyle alterations:
Opt out of those newsletters that alert you to sales
If you’re serious about cutting costs and saving money, why not start by avoiding the temptation to spend in the first place? When you first signed up for those newsletters, e-mail deals and sale alerts, your goal was probably to get the best prices on your favorite items. But what if there’s this really cute but totally unnecessary item that’s up for sale and you received an e-mail alert for it?
You are pretty much tempting yourself to buy something totally unnecessary and is probably out of your budget range. To resist such impulse buys in the first place, opt out of any newsletters and e-mail alerts that you signed up for. You will thank yourself later on for your diligence in trying to save money.
Make it a rule to save before you spend
If you’re in your late twenties or early thirties and you still have not found the self-discipline to save up for the future, force yourself to start saving. Have an auto-debit arrangement with your bank where a certain percentage of your earnings or a specific amount is deducted from your account each month.
Make sure not to touch this money so that you can keep it in safekeeping for those financial emergencies. By forcing yourself to save, you can have an emergency fund to rely on before actually spending on anything.
Be firm with your budget
One of the biggest challenges that people face when it comes to saving money is not having a budget in the first place – or not being able to stick to it. By now, you should already have an idea about how much money you need to pay for all the utilities, bills, loans and other expenses per month. Deduct this amount from how much money is coming in and make adjustments as necessary.
Once you have already drafted a budget, sticking to it means that you have to follow the budget to the letter. You may have to exercise a lot of restraint and practice self-discipline in order to stick to your budget, but it will be all worth it in the end once you see how your finances are finally in order.
Make a shopping list
Before driving to the supermarket or grocery store, make an inventory of the kitchen staples, food items and supplies that you still have. If there are leftover veggies, think of a healthy but cheap dish that you can make by adding just a couple of ingredients. Add this to your shopping list.
Take advantage of clipped coupons and online vouchers that you can use when going grocery shopping. It also pays to eat before going shopping – browsing through those food-filled aisled while you are hungry will bring out cravings, and will make you spend more than you intend to on items which are not included in your list.
While you are filling that shopping cart with the items that you need for a week, make sure to consider buying generic and store-brand items. These are available at superstores and drugstores for a significantly lower price. For example, that brand of chocolate cereal that your kid loves so much is more expensive than a store brand box – but simply because the company is spending too much on advertising and packaging.
The same thing holds true for cosmetic items, over-the-counter medication, toiletries and other household items. When you put together the savings that you will incur from buying generic and store-brand items, you will be surprised at how much money you can actually save.
Cancel unnecessary subscriptions
Review all the subscriptions that you are paying serious money for. When you gained a lot of weight last January, you may have impulsively signed up for a gym membership which you end up using only once or twice a month. This is definitely not worth your money, so cancel the subscription.
If you love celebrity gossip, get your dose of Hollywood news online instead of subscribing to magazines. If you still have a landline phone which nobody is using, cancel that as well. These expenses do add up and by simply cancelling unnecessary subscriptions, you will end up saving a lot of money.
Sell unused items
Even if it’s not time to go spring cleaning yet, you can make some extra cash by selling unused items. Make an inventory of your closet and bring out the clothes which still have tags in them.
If you have worn an outfit once and never again, you are not bound to find occasion to wear it in the future – so the item is better off sold or donated. Relieve your home of clutter and let go of the things which simply hold a sentimental instead of a monetary value.
Once you have a voluminous collection of unused items, sell them online or hold a garage sale in your neighborhood.
Analyse your credit situation
Did you know that you can actually request for a credit card rate reduction? If you have been paying the minimum amount on your card on a regular basis, you can request for a rate reduction.
If your credit card company won’t grant your request, there are plenty of other companies that you can switch to. The competition in the industry is quite stiff so you can easily find financial institutions who are more than willing to offer you a 0% interest for balance transfers. While you’re at it, make sure to stop buying things on credit – at least while you are still paying off your existing debts.
Save up on gas
Websites like GasBuddy.com allows you to determine which gasoline station offers a lower rate on gas. When filling up that tank, even a few cents off will make a huge difference with the total price.
Make sure that your home’s cooling and heating system is efficient
As mentioned earlier, you can easily cut back up to 15% of your electrical bills by simply unplugging all appliances which are not in use. Another way to slash off your utility bills is to ensure that the cooling and heating system that you have is efficient. Use a programmable thermostat, if possible. Insulate your hot water heater to reduce the temperature and make sure that your entire home is air sealed.
As you can see, there are plenty of small but effective ways for you to cut back on costs. Starting from your grocery bills to your utility bills, even the smallest savings will go a long way – and you don’t even have to make major lifestyle changes in order to save money.