Even if you’re not going on outlandish or lavish shopping sprees, your life is probably already very expensive. It’s amazing how even the most basic and important necessities like heat and running water can add up so quickly! In the interest of trying to live a more frugal lifestyle, we went hunting through our homes to identify the biggest “budget busters” and the best ways to fix them. Here is what we found.
Yeah, yeah, you’ve already stopped using lightbulbs altogether and you built a fire pit in your yard so you’ll never have to use the oven. We’ve been there. But guess what? There are ways to still love and use modern conveniences without having to fork over a sizable chunk of your paycheck every month. Here is one of them:
Switch providers – if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that has deregulated its energy market, switch to a provider that offers you better rates. For example, Green Mountain in Corpus Christi, TX offers a green energy plan that starts at less than 9 cents per kilowatt hour. Do you know what your rates are? You should make sure you aren’t being overcharged and, if you are, make the switch.
In today’s landscape, it is the landline not the smartphone that is considered “optional.” So don’t listen to anybody telling you to give up your mobile device to save money. In fact, there are many ways that having a smartphone can help you save money, but that is a post for another time. If you really want to save money on your phone service, bundle it with your internet services. Many companies offer lower rates for people willing to bundle their services into a single package. Another option if you must have a landline is to bundle that with your mobile service.
Another option–and this is a good idea for people who work from home–is to get a free phone number from Google Voice. You can forward the number to your mobile device, or call people over the web. It saves you the cost of multiple phone numbers and multiple devices while giving you a secondary number and all for free!
Ditch The Cable
Yes, do this even if you are someone who loves to watch programs live. When you ditch your cable subscription you don’t have to pay for a set top box, DVR, etc and their associated fees. If you hate the idea of missing your favorite network shows as they air, you can get the digital antenna to get the network channels for free (well, the box comes with a one-time fee).
The simple fact is that there are enough streaming media services out there now that you can watch pretty much anything you want whenever you want to watch it. And even if your network doesn’t send recent releases to Hulu or Netflix, you can usually watch the latest episodes on the network’s website.
One thing we are going to caution against, however, is the purchasing of a season of currently airing television. Most seasons will go on sale once they’ve wrapped up their episodes. Currently airing season passes cost much more than you would pay if you waited to buy them until the next round of shows are released.
Homeowner’s insurance and car insurance can be very expensive if you purchase them separately. It is better to bundle them together through a single provider. Check out this article where I cover my top tips for saving on insurance. Why do you save when you bundle your insurance? Because most insurance providers offer special discounts and deals to customers who are willing to bundle their insurance services into a single policy. Shop around for the best deal.
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to advocate that you adopt a ramen-based diet. Far from it! The higher the quality of your food, the healthier you will be and the better you will feel. And eating good quality and nutritious food isn’t as difficult as you might think. Pick up a copy of Good and Cheap, a book that was written to help families on food assistance programs create awesome meals on four dollars (or less) per day. The other great thing is that when you pick up a copy of the book one gets sent to your local food pantry!!
Top 5 Budget Busters and How to Fix Them – Final Thoughts
There are so many ways to save money on your basic necessities. It can be hard to find them, though, especially if you already feel like you’re living on a bare bones budget. Use the tips we’ve shared here to help you save even more money and maybe even create some wiggle room for fun in your budget!