There’s no doubt about it, the costs-of-living are rising, as they always do. However, the current fear for many is that wages are stagnating while those costs continue to go up. The same household that might have been manageable five years ago might be stretching any family’s budget further and further. There’s no point waiting for the situation to fix itself. Instead, it’s worth thinking about taking the time to make the cuts and even the investments that can help you make household costs a lot more sustainable.
Let’s start with the most active way that households tend to spend their money. Rather than figuring out the inner-workings of bills, there are a lot of comparatively direct ways to reduce your grocery costs. The single best way is to shop according to the sales. Visit the store in advance, figure out what the weekly sales are and start making meal plans around those. In general, if you plan to make use of them through various different meals, buying ingredients directly instead of processed and prepared meals can save you a lot of money, too. If you’re a lover of fresh produce, then learning when your favorites are in-season is a must. When food is out of season, it’s a lot scarcer and thus a lot pricier.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
Now, onto the matter of those dread house bills. It may seem like they’re all fixed costs, but the truth is that you might have more wiggle room than you think you do. There are bills you can negotiate, including cable/satellite TV, internet services, medical bills, credit cards, and your car insurance, just to start. The best way to go about it is by doing your research first and foremost. Find the average costs on the market and use them as a basis to keep your requests reasonable. Negotiating with the right person is just as important. The average clerk of those services that don’t work on commission won’t have any need to drop prices. However, a manager or salesperson whose job directly depends on keeping you as a customer might be more inclined to offer some help.
Bundle them up
There are a lot of service providers who provide more than just one service, too. Many insurance companies handle more than one kind of policy, just as many of the media and communications moguls have reached over TV, internet, and phone lines or some combination of the three. Mixing and matching individual services between different providers is a smart way to pick and choose the best deals on the market. But the biggest overall savings can be made if you choose one provider for several services and specifically request a bundle package with them. Go to each telecom, insurance, and banking service to see who offers the best value bundle.
Loyalty rarely pays
Companies say they value loyal customers all the time, but they don’t necessarily show it. Time and time again, we see that they offer the very best packages to new customers. A lot of people stick with these same companies not out of loyalty, but simply because it seems like the most convenient option at the time of a contract renewal. It’s time to get out of that mindset. Study the market every time a contract renewal is coming up. For instance, most oil and heating companies offer a discounted rate for a whole year. While it’s worth sticking around with someone if you find their service superior to anyone else you’ve used, it’s worth bouncing around the market a couple of times.
It’s time to go green
Sustainable living has come to a lot further in the past decade than ever in the past and it’s benefiting homeowners almost as much as it benefits the environment. It’s an investment to start installing features like solar energy panels into the home, but it can reduce your energy costs by replacing traditional fuel usage at an average of 84%. Given how many local and state incentives there are to help homeowners make the switch to a greener way of life, the costs of the initial investment might not be as much as you think, either. It’s worth getting in touch with the services that can make sustainable energy changes to the home just to check.
Give yourself some protection
The costs of a household don’t only cover the day-to-day or month-to-month expenses, too. Planning for a frugal life also means planning for those situations that might call for a lot more spending. We’re talking about all the little and big incidents that can damage your home and property and the need for insurance. There are a lot of ways to save money on home insurance, too. While you want to make sure you’re not underinsured, you should take a closer look at the offered policies and discern how prevalent the different risks cover really are and whether you’re not paying for something that you’re not going have any reason to use. Again, you can consider bundling different coverage policies with the same provider to take advantage of bundle deals they have, too.
Sit down with your money
We don’t always notice all the costs that come out of our bank randomly. Direct transfers can be convenient, but they’re an excuse to be complacent, too. In particular, with the rise of digital subscription services, many of us are still signed on and paying for things we don’t use. Every three months, take a closer look at your bank statements. Beyond spotting places where you’ve spent too much to be more cautious in future, keep an eye out for streaming services, gym memberships, music services, and other subscription programs you’re not using anymore. Hundreds of dollars are wasted every year because these costs just slip a homeowner’s mind.
It’s worrying time for the spending power of the average family, so learning to become frugal is becoming a talent more important than ever. The tips above can help you manage some measure of control over your finances once more.