The economy is changing, but there are also changes you can make, ways to cut living costs, and start saving today. I know how it feels to get a paycheck only to see it out the door before it had time to sit in your wallet. However, there is no need to fret because there are manageable ways to cut living costs and I’m here to help!
In a society that’s obsessed with plugging in, why not unplug? One of the simplest ways to cut living costs is to save on energy. Taking the time to unplug household items such as a toasters, TVs, lamps, and coffee makers can help decrease on your monthly electricity bill. It may seem like a hassle but if you only use your DVD player on Friday nights, then only plug it in when needed.
2. Kill the Engine
We’ve all been in those situations where you are sitting in your Volvo, debating whether or not to keep the car running or kill the engine. You may be waiting for someone to come out, which makes gauging time difficult. My rule of thumb is two minutes. If you sit idly in your car for longer than two minutes, you actually use more gas than turning the engine off then back on. Sneaky ways like this help cut down on your gas bill and thicken your wallet.
3. Turn off the TV
It’s not a big surprise that turning off the lights when you leave a room can help decrease your bills, but what about leaving the TV on when you aren’t there? Sometimes I’m sitting down watching a rerun of Gilmore Girls when the doorbell unexpectedly rings and I spend twenty minutes talking and not watching. If you leave the room for more than a second, turn off the TV. I guarantee you the program will still be there when you turn it back on.
4. Change for Change
It’s time for change! Another easy way to start saving more is to collect loose change you find around your house. Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are currency too! Though pennies are too small to use for toll roads, why not take a jar of coins to the bank? You might just discover that you’ve had dollars hiding around your house.
5. Dine in
When money gets tight, you may feel socially isolated from your friends as they go out for dinner without you. Why not host a dinner party? Invite friends over, asking them to bring a dish to share, anything from appetizers to side dishes to deserts. That way, you only have to prepare one item and you get to trade yummy recipes.
6. Family Bonding
Instead of taking the kids out to see a movie, why not make your home a movie theater? Make some popcorn, turn off the lights and curl up under the blankets for a fun night in. Whether it’s something from your home collection, Redbox or Netflix, it is drastically less expensive than the overpriced movie tickets and over-sized popcorn. What better, and cheaper, way to bond with the family?
7. Think outside the Box
With Christmas just around the corner, the numbers are starting to add up to more than I can afford. A creative way to spread the holiday cheer is through a Pollyanna or white elephant gift exchange. That way, you only have to buy one gift rather than twenty. You can also try out homemade gifts such as knit scarves, which are both thoughtful and cost-effective.
Little changes like these make big differences in the long-run. I know I’m always a fan of having friends over to cut back on extraneous costs. What tips work for you? Do you have any saving secrets of your own?