In this post I will discuss various tips on how to reduce household expenses. Tips that will help save money that you can use to invest or do some other important expenses.
Don’t flush your hard earn money down the drain. Household expenses can really eat away at your personal budget. Before becoming a personal financial consultant, I was never really good at taking control of my utility bills. I’m going to go over a few general tips on how to save on household utility costs that I found helpful when I learned how to manage money. My first step was to develop a comprehensive budget. If the expenses were over what they should have been based on my income, I worked to reduce them. You should do a budget as well, as a first step in your quest to learn how to manage money.
The Four Major Household Utility Expenses
There are so many ways we waste water in North America. Long showers, large flowing toilets, etc. This will be the first utility I will pick on later on in this post. In the meantime, take the first step on how to manage money and diagnose all the ways you’re wasting water in your home.
For those of you reading in warmer climates, this may not be an issue. For us in the north, however, we use a lot of gas to heat our homes. Here in Barrie, we are forced to start up the furnace no later than November 1st due to the cold and it’s usually on until at least mid-April. That’s a minimum of six months of costly heating. One crucial step in how to manage money as it relates to your gas bill, is to find ways to reduce heat escape. We’ll deal with this later on in this post.
Do you have kids or anyone else in the house who constantly leaves the lights on. This is a huge zap to your financial health and is a sign of someone who doesn’t care about how to manage money. Later in this post we will give you a lot of really helpful tips to help you hedge your electrical bill.
Phone / Cable / Internet
This is probably one of my biggest household expenses. There are so many options out there, and we often find out after signing a contract that the extras add up pretty quickly. This is also a need versus want category. Do you need the full cable package, do you subscribe to pay-per-view movies? Well I won’t preach, but in Part 5 I will teach you how to manage money and reduce your phone / cable / internet bills and still enjoy a variety of services.
So, as you’re learning how to manage money and reduce household utility expenses, start with a good budget, and use other useful financial calculators to assist you putting your expenses down on paper. This will help you organize your thoughts on one page so you can see all the areas you can reduce spending. For these, you can search online, check Google, or check our resource link.
How to Reduce Your Water Expenses?
How would you like to reduce your water bill? Do you find that it’s just one more of those bills that adds up and catches you by surprise every month? Once you’ve set up your budget and are looking for more ways to reduce the total in the expense column, you will have to learn how to manage money more efficiently in areas of household utilities. If you haven’t set up a budget yet, I will remind you again to make sure you find a good tool to help you with it online or in our resource link. Here are the three most obvious tips to reduce your water bill.
Reduce Your Toilet’s Water Usage
Your toilet uses approximately 30% of your household water usage. Before the 1950s, toilets used 7 gallons per flush. By 1970, 5.5 gallons per flush, 3.5 gallons in the 80s.Today, a new toilet uses no more than 1.6 gallons of water in the U.S. Let’s assume you flush your toilet 5-10 times a day per person at 1.6 gallons a flush with 4 people in the house. That’s up to 23,360 gallons per year. One simple way to reduce this usage is to fill a pop bottle with water and firmly close the cap. Put it in the toilet’s reserve tank and it will reduce your flow by the volume of the bottle. If you have enough room, you can add more bottles. You can also buy kits in the hardware store. They are basically foam sheets that get affixed to the inside layer of the tank.
A Dripping Faucet is Like Hole in the Pocket
A slow dripping faucet can accumulate over two gallons per hour. This is pretty self-explanatory, but make sure all your faucets are in good repair and closed fully after use. You don’t have to be a genius at how to manage money, but it helps to be handy. If you can’t fix it, save money on the repair by asking a friend who can
Don’t Hang out in the Shower
Did you know that a shower uses approximately 6-10 gallons of water per minute? This is way over the toilet’s usage. It doesn’t take long thinking about how to manage money to figure out that every minute counts. When we were on well water we used to take ‘Army Showers.’ Here’s how it works. Rinse off, stop the water while you lather up, rinse off. This doesn’t sound relaxing, but it could end up saving not only your budget, but the environment too. You can also get low-flow shower head and enjoy a long shower again. Or, try a low-flow head and reduce the time you’re in the shower.
I hope these tips will help you reduce your water usage. It will help your budget, but as a society as a how, I hope this how to manage money tip will also help save the environment. Don’t forget to work on your budget and make it ‘Squeaky Clean.’
How to Save on Gas Bills
Think of all the elements in your home that us Natural Gas to run. My parents have a gas stove, fireplace, furnace, hot water heater and a clothes dryer. Now they are in need of personal finance help if they want to reduce these costs. When they figure out their budget, they’ll know if they gas bill is in line with what it should be based on their income. I’ve sent them to our resource link to get a comprehensive budget spreadsheet and other financial calculators, but they could also search Google. Here are three quick gas saving tips you can implement in your home.
Reduce Your Heating: It’s Getting Hot in Here
I know you’ve heard the song. You shouldn’t get to the point of wearing shorts at home in the dead of winter. Can I offer a simple bit of personal finance help you can use to reduce your heating costs. Drop the thermostat setting by 2 degrees and you’ll save a large 5% on your gas bill.
Hang out Your Clothes to Dry: Mmm Smells Fresh
What ever happened to hanging your clothes out to dry. If your dryer is gas powered, you could save a significant amount of money by hanging your clothes to dry. This is my favorite personal finance help tip as it relates to gas bills, because of the fresh smell it provides. If you find them stiff, tumble them on low for 5 minutes.
Reduce Your Water Heating: I Burnt Myself Again
Have you ever burnt your hands while washing them or doing dishes? Think of all the things you use hot water for. I don’t believe your hot water should be so hot that you can’t hold your hands under it with only mild discomfort. If you can’t hold your hand under it, it’s set too high and is costing you money. My personal finance help tip regarding Hot water heaters is adjust the setting so it’s not scalding, but is warm enough to get your dishes clean.
As a personal financial consultant, I’ve assisted many families reduce their overall costs. Their first step when receiving my personal finance help is to get their budget figured out. Simply doing this has often allowed them to allocate or free up hundreds of dollars a month. The next step is always to see where you can reduce expenses in other areas. In this case, I hope these tips will help you reduce your gas bill. Stay tuned for Part 4.
How to Reduce Your Electricity Bills: Don’t Let Your Electric Bill Zap Your Budget
In a previous paragraph on household saving tips, I wrote about conserving water. This part will focus on your electric bill. We’ll go over some personal finance basics regarding on of your larger utility bills. Hydro bills are especially high in the summer, with air conditioners raging. If you’re in the north and have baseboard heaters, you’ll find that hydro bills skyrocket in the winter as well. Here’s three tips to help reduce your hydro bill.
Turn off your Computer When Not Using It
I work in an office where the computers are on constantly. They don’t even get turned off on the weekends. A little research in personal finance basics will reveal that a computer uses more power per hour than one 14-watt compact fluorescent lamp for 24 hours. My work’s last hydro bill was $700 for one month. They would reduce their costs by at least 28% by turning the computers off in the evenings and weekends.
Is Your Home Energy Efficient?
Simple tasks like putting a plastic heat barrier on the windows in the winter will significantly reduce heat waste, and for goodness’ sake, keep the door shut. Ever heard your parents say, “I’m not paying to heat the outside?” Sounds like they understood a commonsense approach to personal finance basics. Look at other ways to make your home more energy efficient. You’ll not only leave less of an environmental footprint, but you’ll save tons on hydro.
Use a Fan Instead of an Air Conditioner
When you are looking to further your practical skills in personal finance basics one way is to look at how much energy your air conditioner consumes and reduce it if possible. For instance, whenever possible use a fan instead of the air conditioner. Another great way to reduce consumption is to set the thermostat up by 2 degrees. With heating for example, just reducing the heat by 2 degrees can reduce your home heating costs by 5%.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. I’ll mention it again, that as a financial consultant I teach a lot of personal finance basics to people looking to reduce living expenses. It’s important to maintain a comprehensive budget so you know where your living expenses are and to motivate you on ways to reduce those costs. If you haven’t searched google for budget tools yet, you can now, or try the one in our resource link.
Quick Phone / Internet / Cable Saving Tips
Are You Sure This Is the Best Deal?
In general, when I’m spending some time to work through my budget and making sure I’m doing my best to manage my money, I make a little time to go over my phone bill. It includes Internet and cell phones (I’ve completely cut out cable). Do not be afraid to get on the phone with your phone company. Check with your provider for promotions. Ask your provider if they have any new plans that could save you money on long distance, or basic service packages. Don’t be afraid to shop around and let your provider know about any deals their competitor is offering you. Because we made this call, we saved 10% a month just by bundling our three services. That’s $20 a month. Here are three quick tips.
Saving on Home and Cell Phone
Just like budgeting your money, you may need to start budgeting your minutes. I remember when money was really limited and I was starting to manage my money more responsibly. I started answering the call and asking if it was okay for me to call back in a minute or two. I’d call from a land line for free and reduce my minutes. Also, to reduce long distance charges take advantage of sending free emails or social networking sites like Facebook.
Reducing Your Internet Fees
I am an average user of Internet services. I don’t play games. I don’t download tons of movies or music. I simply email, chat and surf. So, I manage my money that’s budgeted towards Internet very well. I have forgone the fastest connection available to man and went with high speed lite. It works very well for my needs. Determine your needs and reduce the service if you can live with it. This saves me $20 a month.
Reduce Your Cable Subscription: Cable Is A Rip Off
I mentioned that TV isn’t too important for me. I watch local television and still get most of the popular shows. I don’t need more. Why? Because it is important for me to manage my money responsibly, I’ve taken the $30 a month and invested it towards my future. In 30 years, I will have an extra $68,000 for my retirement. Small price to pay if you ask me.
This are is tough for most people because it deals with wants versus needs, and we sometimes must develop different habits. For me, to manage my money better and end up with a greater quality of life because of the freed-up cash flow, it’s worth it to take some time to budget my minutes and pare down some of these services. If you haven’t done your budget yet, you should soon. It’s of great importance. You can find some tools on Google.