Many people today live under an illusion of invincibility. The good times will continue to roll and that means spending without much concern about what may happen tomorrow. Savings gives way to excessive spending. But when the economy takes a nosedive, many are unprepared to face the reality of the need to cut back on those home expenses they’ve taken for granted. Often, they don’t know what they should eliminate beyond that morning cup of coffee on the way to work.
While cutting back on the grocery shopping is a step in the right direction, there are expenses that are often overlooked in many family households. Saving money on household expenses doesn’t have to cut down on the standard of living when done correctly.
Cable and Satellite Services
Considering the hectic pace of life, many people simply have little time to watch a thousand channels provided by their cable network and satellite service. It’s an expense that isn’t necessary for many households.
Scaling back to basic channels, switching from digital cable to regular cable and eliminating those set-top boxes and hook ups to every room can add up to considerable savings.
Telephone Service and Utilities
Chances are, those calling features and voice mail aren’t often put to use to justify their expense. Paying for long distance service may not be worthwhile if few calls are made. A pre-purchased phone card could be a better alternative to make those necessary calls when needed.
Paying for and using a cell phone can eliminate the need to have a telephone entirely. And a cheaper cell phone plan can save additional money if those extras like text messaging and other features aren’t needed.
Saving on the utilities for power and heating just requires the habit of turning off lights when not in use and lowering the thermostat when no one is home or sleeping.
Eating at Restaurants
It’s become a tradition to dine out regularly. But when the tips, taxes and alcohol are factored in, dining out can become a major expense. Eating at home is a far better alternative and far healthier as many of the foods served in restaurants come with excess salt, sugar, fat and other unhealthy ingredients.
The working man loves to head out to the local deli for a sandwich during his lunch hour. But bringing along a sandwich prepared at home is a better alternative. So is bringing along a thermos of coffer or hot chocolate than buying it in the drive through. Bring along the snacks instead of buying them at the vending machines.
Movie Theater and Vacations
Renting movies are a better alternative as a family can spend a few hundred dollars at the theater once the concession stand purchases and taxes are factored in. The price of a matinee is cheaper than the evenings or weekends. Many towns and cities host free concerts and events that can be as entertaining as paid events.
Vacations don’t need to be a major expense that includes airfare to exotic locations. A lot less money can be spent by taking local area holidays. A staycation helps the local economy and can provide fun seeing sites that are otherwise missed.
Staying in Fashion Without Breaking the Bank
Looking good and fashionable has its place, but trying to maintain an up-to-date wardrobe can put a severe dent in family finances. Those unused clothes can be mixed and matched to produce different styles that can make unique fashion statements.
Repair and reuse old clothes. The beginning of the school year has many students searching for new clothes to stay in vogue. But clothing can be swapped, bought second-hand or even sold at flea markets or garage sales to make the money to pay for better clothes.
Memberships and Subscriptions
Magazine subscriptions that aren’t often read should be canceled. Gym memberships are often an unnecessary expense. Exercise can be effectively done at home without the embarrassment of revealing spare tires in the gym environment. Videos and books can be rented or picked up at the library. Book and video clubs are a needless expense.
There are many non-essential services that the average householder can do without. And that translates to a great deal of money that could be put into long-term investments, something that most American household don’t have enough of.