Five ways to save money this year
The new year is here, guys! There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year (after all that crazy Christmas spending) to get serious about saving money. And one simple way to do that is by looking for ways to save around the house. So, here are five practical ways to cut back on household costs.
DIY like a boss
Okay, so maybe you and your spouse aren’t Chip and Joanna Gaines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a few awesome DIY projects and save some cash in the process. You could reupholster your couch, paint your kitchen table, or even make your own wall art instead of buying new decor. YouTube tutorials are your friend here.
And while you’re on a DIY roll, look for ways you can do the jobs you might typically pay someone else to do. The savings can really add up when you do all your yard work, repairs, cleaning, pet grooming, car washing, and other maintenance yourself, as your skill set allows.
Pay attention to utilities
You can save a lot on utility bills by making a few simple changes. It may sound totally obvious, but we don’t always remember to do things like turn off the lights whenever we leave a room, take shorter showers, only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they’re completely full, and use cold water instead of hot whenever possible.
You might also be able to save money by fixing leaky pipes, installing dimmer switches and LED light bulbs, and checking to make sure your home is well insulated. Every little bit helps!
When it comes to any expense for your household – insurance, phone, internet, streaming services, you name it – shopping around can really pay off. Take the time to research all your available options, and don’t be afraid to negotiate with or switch providers if you find a better deal. A small hassle in the short term can save you a lot of money in the long term.
Along with that, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your subscriptions, and unsubscribe from any plans you don’t use or need. That could include music and movie services, meal kits, fashion and beauty boxes, expensive data plans, pizza-of-the-month club (guilty), and anything that’s not a necessity or that you could get cheaper somewhere else.
Plan your meals in advance
Meal planning is deciding ahead of time what you’re going to eat and when, and it can seriously help you take fewer grocery store trips, waste less food, and stop eating out so much.
Here are some basic meal-planning guidelines:
• Set a specific day and time in your schedule to plan
• Look through your kitchen to see what you already have.
• Search for sales and coupons.
• Consult your food line item in your budget.
• Find budget-friendly recipes online that make enough servings for leftovers.
• Build your grocery list based on all the above.
Then, take time to prep your meals before the week starts so that after a busy workday, dinner can be ready in no time.
Save on groceries
Speaking of grocery lists, there are plenty of ways to save money at the store. Think of your shopping list as a firm boundary for what you won’t buy (sorry, spontaneous candy bar in the checkout line – you don’t make the cut). Buy generic instead of name brand, and buy in bulk for things you know you’ll need and use. Choose your produce based on what’s in season, because if it’s easier to get, it’s usually cheaper. And of course, it will really help if you find the most affordable grocery stores in your area, too. It’s crazy how much the prices can vary between stores for the exact same items.
Get ready to start stacking those savings this year!
• Rachel Cruze is a two-time #1 national bestselling author, financial expert and host of The Rachel Cruze Show. She has appeared on Good Morning America, TODAY Show and Live! With Kelly & Ryan, among others. Since 2010, Rachel has served at Ramsey Solutions, where she teaches people to avoid debt, save money, budget and how to win with money at any stage in life. Follow Rachel on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube or online at rachelcruze.com.