6 Ways to Master Your Living Expenses
Begin with a budget. Evaluate your current expenses and be honest with yourself. Are you spending more money on wants than needs? Are you having to rely on credit cards to get by? Have you been remembering to save as well as spend? These are all questions that should be considered carefully. Once you have a sturdy plan in place, you can start figuring out where to cut unreasonable spending.
Start with your home expenses.
Before renting or purchasing a home, research the neighborhood. It may cost less to live in an area that is more secluded or further from downtown. If you are planning on leasing, find somewhere with the most utilities included as possible. Once you have your home established, look for ways to save around the house. Did you know that you can 3% on your heating and cooling bill for the year by lowering or raising your thermostat one degree?
Are you travelling efficiently?
If you know your car isn’t long for this world, start shopping BEFORE it breaks down. By waiting until the worst happens, you may not allow yourself enough time to research and choose the most cost-effective vehicle for your lifestyle. When purchasing a vehicle, look for something that has low gas mileage and has affordable replacement parts. Price comparing and looking for discounts can save hundreds a year when shopping for car insurance.
Analyze your family’s healthcare needs.
When selecting health insurance, think about the medical needs of your family. For example, if you have children and one has asthma, it may be best to spend more on your monthly premium to avoid large, unexpected medical bills in the future. Once in a while, you may have an emergency room visit or need to see a specialist. Try to find financing for large medical bills from a reputable lender before they are sent to a collection agency. Even though you may pay interest, you will be protecting your credit history and possible judgements or garnishments in the future.
Be a responsible pet owner.
Instead of buying a pet on a whim, save and plan for ALL of their expenses. Many people only save for the purchase or adoption fee, forgetting about vet bills, food, toys, etc. As well as those costs, try to save some extra money for pet emergencies as well as items that may be damaged or destroyed during the training process. One way to alleviate the heavy cost of vet bills may be to consider purchasing pet insurance. If you are a renter, check your lease to see if there are extra fees BEFORE you adopt a pet.
You can be frugal AND eat healthy.
The key is to shop for produce that is in season. If your favorite fruit or vegetable is higher in price, consider switching to the frozen or canned options during the winter months. Speaking of substitutions, look at your grocery list to determine which goods can be swapped for generic versions. Sometimes evaluating your grocery shopping location can save money. To avoid spending money on unnecessary items, skip the one-stop-shop convenience stores and buy food from a grocery store. By doing so, you may avoid those last-minute impulse purchases that were not on your list.