Household expenses are some of the main expenses that eat up a person’s budget. It comprises of food, furniture, utilities, and all other extra expenditures like services and decor.
If you are a cost-conscious person, you might have noticed how big of an impact household expenses can have on your finances.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your living expense, below are ten ideas you can implement. These are ranked from the easiest to the most extreme.
Turn off the lights
The most obvious way to save money is to simply switch off what isn’t used. According to this chart, the efficiency of residential energy consumption is only 65%. That means that a lot of energy goes to waste.
Maybe you have a bad habit of leaving lights on in the middle of the day. Maybe you keep all of your appliances plugged in and on standby mode. These little bad habits build up every day and eventually result in a gigantic power bill at the end of the month.
However, that does not have to be the case. You don’t have to financially suffer due to energy inefficiency. You can start out by being more conscious about your energy consumption. Switch off electrical appliances and lights when not in use, and hold off from using them unless you truly need to.
To complement building good power-saving habits, you can gradually switch to more energy-efficient appliances that can efficiently shave off a significant portion of your bill. You can swap, barter, or simply sell appliances in exchange for more energy-efficient models.
Control your food cravings
Another factor that negatively affects your household expenses is your eating habits. While your grocery trips don’t feel like they cost a lot, if you add up the amount you spend on food in a month, you’ll find that Americans spend almost 10 percent of their disposable income on food.
There are several factors that affect your food shopping habits. Sometimes it can be as simple as shopping with an empty stomach. Hunger can make you spend more than you originally intended. You can counter this with a comprehensive grocery list, but only if you’re disciplined enough to stick to it.
If you can, make your supermarket trips a fortnightly or at least a weekly thing. Plot out a meal plan that will last you for two weeks and shop accordingly. It is always cheaper to buy in bulk, and you get to save on gas money from not having to make multiple trips a week.
Also, as much as you can, avoid making a habit out of ordering takeout or eating out. Ready to eat food sold in restaurants cost significantly more than preparing it yourself at home. You can help yourself by learning different food recipes online to avoid monotony and boredom in your meals.
Try out home gardening
To further cut down on your food budget and household expenses, why not try your hand out at home gardening? Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is not only economical and sustainable. It is also a good way to get some sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.
To top it all off, your food will taste better and have more nutrients since it is much fresher and does not contain harmful pesticides.
You are also helping the planet by reducing your carbon footprint since your food does not rely on gas or fossil fuels for transport from farm to market.
Think twice before getting a pet
While getting a pet may seem like a really nice idea, you better hold off for now. Or at least put it off until you are financially capable of supporting one. Pets can cost a lot.
While adoption is is usually free, you will still have to shell out for your new pet’s food, medicine, shots, hygiene, and overall maintenance. Those things don’t come cheap if you add them all up.
Also, having a pet can eat up a lot of your time because you have to feed them, clean them, and spend time with them.
You can instead spend this time doing something productive or profitable like doing a side-job, managing a small business, or learning a new skill that can help you get a better-paying job.
Cut back or bundle your phone, internet, and cable charges
When your mobile service also allows you to have data access, why bother having an internet connection at home? And if you can watch your favorite shows online and just hook it up to your smart TV, why have cable?
These are things you have to strategize in order to lessen your household expenses.
If you have done a lot of assessment and you are convinced that you need all three, are you stuck with all of that expense? Not necessarily, if you go for a bundle plan that comes with discounts.
Having a separate bill for your phone, your cable and your internet can cost you a whole lot more than if you avail of a bundle instead.
Take a step back from the weekend spending habit
Some people develop this itch to spend just because it’s the weekend. It could be shopping, clubbing, going to an amusement park, or having drinks or dinner out with friends.
There is truly something about weekends that make people lose their sense of financial consciousness.
Instead of going for the usual route of looking for ways to blow up your wallet, why not try something free for a change? Instead of going out for a movie, why not binge on your favorite series and trilogies?
In lieu of a date night, why not cook for your significant other? A candle-lit meal at home can be just as romantic, if not more romantic, than dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Rent out that spare room
If you live in a large house with a room or two to spare, you can make the most out of it by renting it out. If you’re still paying your mortgage, this can be a great way to lessen that particular household expense.
If not, you can use the money to buffer your expenses on utilities, or for savings and investments.
Renting out a room in your property may seem a bit too much, but if it’s someone you can trust like a friend or a colleague at work, then this should not be a problem.
Just make sure to do a thorough background check on the person you’d let in as a boarder.
Move to a smaller home
If you’re not comfortable having a stranger live with you in your big house, why have a big house at all? All those spare rooms mean additional maintenance, a bigger energy consumption, and therefore bigger household expenses.
More and more people nowadays know the benefits of living small. There is less space to heat in the winter, less space to cool in the summer, less room to light, and small houses usually have fewer appliances.
As an added benefit, it’s easier to clean and maintain a smaller space, so it adds a bit of peace of mind for the homeowner.
Sell your car
If you think switching houses is too bold of a move, you can still make a big enough impact on your household expenses by getting rid of your car. If you have schools, stores, and hospitals nearby, and if you can walk or comfortably take the public commute, this is a great move.
Cars are not only expensive outright, but they are also expensive to maintain in the long run. Apart from gas, you have to factor in regular maintenance. Finally, you can top that off with repairs which tend to compound the older the car gets.
Getting rid of your car (if you can afford to live without it) gets rid of a major source of expense. If you can walk or bike to important destinations, it also provides good exercise.
Realize that some of the best things in life are free
There is a reason why this tip is at the end of the list. It is often the most difficult one to achieve. That’s because naturally, people have the mentality that more is better, and therefore live like they need to buy and spend non-stop.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of consumerism these days. Regular exposure to several media and advertising can easily make anyone feel that they need a lot of things, wherein they really don’t. Take the time to really think about your purchases and their essence.
Most of the time, you may be buying things out of boredom. Sometimes you might just have been influenced by what you saw while scrolling through social media.
Be wary of following celebrities who heavily endorse commercial products. To cut down on your emotional purchases, take a break from media, and appreciate the things that are already in your possession.
Above all else, when trying to cut household expenses, try to adopt an attitude of gratitude so you don’t really feel like you need more things.
Take pleasure in activities that virtually cost nothing but give immense satisfaction like going out for a hike, spending time with loved ones at home, playing with your pets, or cleaning your home.