Money worries have you down? Follow these tips to help you stick to a budget, find energy savings at home and lower your bills.
Have you made a New Year’s resolution to save money in the coming year? Sticking to a budget can be challenging for a lot of people, but this year is a great time to start practicing some new financial habits. Here are some easy tips to help you save money throughout the year:
- The early bird catches the savings. Start each day by doing something to save money in the morning. Say no to spending $4 or more a day at the coffee shop and brew your own cup at home. (This could potentially save you $20 a week, which translates to almost $1,000 a year.) Instead of grabbing a fast-food breakfast every morning, eat before you leave the house and you’ll likely save even more and be healthier, too.
- Perform an energy assessment or energy audit on your home. Seal air leaks around doors and windows to save on heating and air conditioning costs, and check your attic insulation to see if it needs to be beefed up. Perform annual maintenance on your HVAC systems to ensure that they are running at peak efficiency, and change the filters regularly.
- Install a programmable or learning thermostat. These devices automatically regulate the temperatures in your home for energy efficiency and comfort.
- Turn down your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Energystar.gov, heating water is the second-largest energy user in your home. Adjusting the temperature can help you save money on water bills and help prevent scalding accidents.
- Reduce your water bill. Fix leaks promptly, install water-efficient shower heads and high efficiency toilets, and run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they have full loads. You can also take steps to conserve water outdoors on lawns and gardens by watering only when needed and using soaker hoses.
- Organize your pantry. That’s right; orderly food storage can help you save money. When you can easily see what you have on hand, you’ll be less likely to buy unneeded or duplicate items at the grocery store. And, by placing older items in the front of shelves, you’ll be less likely to waste expired foods. If you have inexpensive staples on hand and in plain sight, such as rice, beans, pastas, and grains, you’ll be more likely to plan menus around them.
- Recycle and reuse. In addition to being good for the environment, recycling can also be good for your wallet. Use a lunch box or insulated bag instead of paper sacks, rinse out and reuse plastic containers and jars for food storage, use cloths instead of paper towels for clean up, and use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic ones. You can also save money by using cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
- Reduce the number of cleaning products that you purchase. Instead of having special cleaners for every area of your home, try some thrifty homemade cleaning solutions. Many DIY cleaning recipes have the added bonus of using natural ingredients.
- Ask for lower bills. Contact your cable television, internet, and telephone service providers and find out if you are getting the best available rates. Especially if you’ve been a long-time customer, you may be eligible for special promotions, loyalty programs, or newly structured rate deals.
Make saving money a family affair. Call a family meeting and ask for savings suggestions from each member of your household. Start an entertainment or vacation fund with the savings to encourage everyone to participate throughout the year.