4 Common Budgeting Mistakes
- No specific motivation
- Unrealistic spending estimates
- Overlooked expenses
- Too many restrictions
Although saving money can seem daunting, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated or time-consuming. A few simple changes might be all that’s needed to put money back in your wallet. Here are five money-saving tips that are easy to implement and can help now and in the future.
1. Use energy efficient light bulbs
According to Energy.gov, LED light bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs also last up to 25 times longer. The small upfront investment in replacing your light bulbs can pay for itself in the long run.
Some other great ways to save money on utility costs are to wash clothes with cold or warm water rather than hot, unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, and using a programmable or smart thermostat.
2. Cancel unnecessary services
Another way to save money is to stop paying for services you don’t need or use.
If you’re paying for a gym membership but only make it to the gym a few times a month, consider saving money by working out at home instead.
Try lowering your monthly expenses by “cutting the cord.” You may be able to save by canceling your cable subscription and opting for getting entertainment from alternative sources.
3. Negotiate whenever you can
It’s common to negotiate when you’re buying a car, but negotiations aren’t just for the car lot. You can save by negotiating medical bills, insurance or mortgage rates, or your internet bill. Other big-ticket items that might be up for discussion include furniture or yard work contracts.
Some negotiations are hard won, but that’s not always the case. If you don’t want to cut the cord, lowering your cable bill might be as easy as only using one cable box. Consider downsizing your current cable package to only having the channels used most often. This tactic may also work with internet providers.
4. Avoid fees when traveling
Many airlines, hotels, and rental car companies tack on extra fees, but there may be ways around them. One of the best money saving tips when traveling is to do a little research and plan ahead of time. It may leave you with more money to enjoy your trip.
Think about bringing your own snacks and a refillable water container rather than buying food or drinks at the airport or onboard the plane.
Some hotels charge for Wi-Fi, but you may be able to get free access by joining the hotel’s rewards program or booking the room directly from the hotel’s website.
Rental car agencies may charge more for vehicles rented at the airport. Compare prices with the agencies located nearby, but not within, the airport. You may find that with a short shuttle or taxi ride you can save money on the rental.
5. Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is an easy way to save on everyday household goods like paper towels and cleaning supplies, as well as non-perishable food products. Some grocery stores have bulk bins where you can load up on staples, and warehouse stores offer big potential savings. You’ll also help the environment by using less packaging.
If your home has limited space, or you don’t need such a large stockpile, shop with friends and split the purchase. Those without a vehicle can buy in bulk and have items shipped from warehouses’ online stores and e-commerce sites.
Put your savings to work.
What could you do with all this extra money? If you might need the funds in the next few years, think about putting the money into a savings account. Consider setting up your account with a particular goal in mind, such as a vacation or rainy day fund, or learning how to budget your money better. The savings from these 5 simple tips may help you reach those goals even sooner.
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1 “Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015,” Revised March 2017, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, United States Department of Agriculture.
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