We’ve talked before about how important it is to take control of your finances. Part of that is taking a good hard look at how much you are spending–both on fixed and discretionary expenses and figuring out where you can make cuts and reduce the amount of money you’re paying out every month.
Sometimes this is easy. Everybody knows about the “giving up the latte” and buying in bulk. Sometimes this is harder because we feel like we’re being forced to give up things we think we need in order to save money. But what if you didn’t have to give up all the stuff you like? There are, after all, lots of ways to save money–ways that you can start implementing immediately and savings that you’ll see in as little as a week or two!
Here are just a few of them.
Grill, Baby, Grill
People are still on the fence about whether or not grilling is healthier for you than roasting or frying, but it is definitely cheaper than using your stove or oven to cook, especially now that you can buy briquets in bulk (or use propane, which is cheaper but many say doesn’t offer the same good grilling taste as briquets). Plus, grilling won’t heat up the inside of your house which, during the summer months, would increase your use of fans and air conditioning to keep your home at a livable temperature.
No More Long Hot Showers
Look, we all love a good, long, and hot shower. It can be a great way to relax after a long day. Nobody is going to tell you to give them up completely. Most of the time, though, the shorter the shower the better. Try to keep your showers to around 5-10 minutes, maximum. Or you can use your shower the way you would a faucet, only running the water for wetting and rinsing your skin. You’ll use less water, which will reduce your utility bills considerably.
While you’re at it, try to get used to cooler showers too. You don’t necessarily have to give up hot water completely. Instead, try to keep the water temperature hovering around cool to luke warm. This way you’re not burning power to heat up the water. Additionally, cold showers are seen by many to be better for your health than hot showers.
Go to the Source
Get proactive with your bills. If you’ve got a solid six months to a year of on-time payments in your history, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to negotiate down your interest rate on your credit accounts. Refinancing and consolidation of larger debts like students loans, auto loans, and mortgages might also be a good option.
Go over all of your utility bills as scrutinously as possible. Make sure that every charge, tax, and fee is legit and challenge the ones that aren’t to reduce the cost of those bills. If you live in a state with a deregulated energy industry, like Texas, shop around for a better deal on your rates!
Instead of paying separate companies for cable, phone, cellular, and internet service, bundle up as many services as possible. Bundling allows you to keep all of the services you want, while reducing both the amount you pay and the number of companies to which you pay your hard earned income. For example, you can find the best TV package with DirecTV and bundle that with your internet to save some cash.
Why are you paying for a gym membership if you hate going to the gym? There are a lot of great free apps out there like Couch to 5K, Gorilla Workout, and others that will help you get in shape without charging you more than a few dollars at most–and you can use them in the privacy of your own home, which is a bonus! There are also apps that can help you track your food intake and nutrition plan, which is much cheaper than working with a nutritionist.
Apps like Mint, GoodBudget, and Wally will give you a good sense of what you earn, what and how you spend, etc. If you still need help or if you’re trying to managed advanced finances like retirement accounts or other investments, you might want to hire a professional but for everyday spending and budgeting, apps are a lot cheaper.
There are also great apps to help you save money like iBotta, Shopkick, Groupon, Living Social, etc. Use them to save money on everyday expenses.
Every method mentioned here can be implemented right now and will give you results that you can see by the time your next billing cycle starts. Did we miss something? Share your tips in the comments!