Reducing Expenses

Spend less on energy costs

  • Set your air conditioner at 78 degrees rather than 72 degrees and save up to 30%.
  • Check your furnace to make sure it is in proper working condition.
  • Winterize the doors and windows in your home. Call your local power company and have them do an energy audit.
  • Set your thermostat at a lower setting and use a programmable thermostat
  • Turn off lights, televisions, and other items when not in use or when you leave a room.
  • When you finish using your computer, shut it down instead of letting it run in hibernation mode.
  • Keep your water heater at a lower setting.
  • Talk to your utility company about a budget payment plan. This plan averages your payments for the previous twelve months of service to determine the amount you'll pay monthly.

Spend less on groceries

  • Don't shop when you're hungry. You're more likely to pick up items that you want but don't need.
  • Use a shopping list to ensure that you won't forget anything and get only what is on the list.
  • Read the sale papers. It's okay to shop at more than one store if the savings make it worthwhile.
  • Get serious about using coupons. Some stores double or triple coupon values to save you more.
  • If possible, leave your kids at home. They continually want to buy things that are not on your list.
  • Limit your purchases of prepared foods. They are very expensive.
  • Bring your calculator and add up the cost of the items in your cart. Don't go over your budget.
  • Shop early in the morning on the weekend. You're likely to be more rested and make better choices.
  • Cook from scratch and make enough to have leftovers. This approach can save money and time.
  • Plan a menu. This will take the guesswork out of daily meal preparation.
  • Keep it simple. Elaborate meals are for dinner parties and special occasions.
  • Keep your cupboard stocked with the basics. Which items do you use for more than just one meal? Stock up on these when they're on sale.
  • Check the unit pricing on the shelf tags. This helps you compare prices on items which are different amounts or sizes.

Save on clothing

  • Shopping for clothes in the off-season. The best time to buy clothing is when there is a sale and most big sales occur at the end of the season. As the sale draws to a close, the prices get lower. So if possible, wait until the last minute to buy.
  • Shop the outlet malls for good deals on name brand clothing.
  • Only purchase what you need to make it through the season.
  • Thrift stores and consignment stores are great places to find clothing bargains. You'll find gently used clothing of all kinds at a fraction of the retail prices.

Save on home repairs - do it yourself

  • Cut your own grass. A lawnmower will pay for itself in no time, especially in the summer months.
  • Ask a friend with a truck to help you get big items home from the store and avoid delivery charges.
  • Hire a professional for major things like electrical or plumbing. Shop around to get the best deal.
  • Learn how to paint and make simple repairs by asking for advice at your friendly home store.

Save on entertainment

  • Instead of going out to the movies, borrow them from the library or sign up for an online service.
  • Trade off babysitting nights with a friend so that you can go out without the expense of a babysitter.
  • Check out the community calendar for free entertainment such as concerts, festivals and movies.
  • Parks and beaches are often free. Take your lunch or have a low cost barbecue.
  • Historical locations and museums are often free or low cost to the public. Enjoy them.

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