10 Tips To Reduce Your Monthly Bills
Looking to make a fresh financial start this summer? You can reap immediate savings by reducing your monthly spending without having to make massive changes to your lifestyle. Here are 10 small tips that can add up to big savings over time:
1. Reduce Electricity
One of the easiest — but most often overlooked-ways to save money is to actively cut your electricity use. Who hasn't left a light on all day in a room by accident? Remembering to shut off lights, turn off computers and TVs and wait until you have a full load before doing dishes or laundry can yield solid savings over the long run.
Standby power (also called “vampire power") also increases your utility bills. An easy fix is to plug TVs and other electronics into a power strip that can be turned off when you leave.
2. Boost Your Home's Efficiency
Cooling costs can hit your wallet hard in the summer. Keeping your air-conditioner filters clean can help improve efficiency — and reduce your energy bill. Making sure all taps are in tip-top shape and not leaking will help keep water bills manageable, especially when you may be watering the lawn or filling a pool on the regular.
3. Review Your Insurance Coverage
Make it a habit each summer to call your insurance broker to see if you can renegotiate your auto and home insurance. If your present broker can't help you reduce your rates, consider going elsewhere. You can also comparison-shop online.
4. Walk, Bike Instead of Driving
Lower your gasoline bills — and your blood pressure — by biking and walking to destinations instead of driving during the warm weather months. When gas prices are at their peak, try using public transportation.
You can make it a family adventure by teaching your kids how to use public transportation, an environmentally-friendly habit that will serve them well as they get older. Try planning car pools with co-workers or your children's camp or school friends.
5. Reconsider the Gym
Are you paying $50 a month (or more) for a gym membership you rarely use? Giving up your membership doesn't mean you have to sacrifice staying fit. There are many ways to keep in shape at home with a weight regimen. Or you can hit the great outdoors by walking or jogging — you can use a fitness app to set goals and track your progress or join a running club for added motivation.
6. Caffeine Up — at Home
One of the easiest ways to spend hundreds of dollars each year is to purchase coffee at a cafe, rather than making your own — that $3-$5 tab really adds up. Invest in a good cappuccino maker for your home, if you really can't do without a fancy coffee. Even with the initial investment, it will still be cheaper than buying one (or more) daily at a coffee shop.
7. Make Your Own Lunch
Buying lunch every day will eat up your food budget over time. Making your own lunch and taking it to work can reduce your lunch costs by more than half — and you will enjoy it that much more during the summer by going to a local park or plaza near your office. Furthermore, putting together your lunch is generally a healthier option, and you can make it a fun task by getting the kids
involved in creating weekly sandwich concoctions.
8. Dine In
Making your own lunch also applies to dinner time. Even going to a familystyle, “affordable" restaurant can run three to four times the cost of eating at home. Summer is the perfect time to prepare simple, grilled meals or pack a picnic to take to a local park.
9. Go Generic
You may automatically reach for brand names on store shelves, but remember the adage — it's what's inside that counts. Generic brands are often nearly indistinguishable from the much pricier brand names (especially when it comes to things like canned goods and frozen foods) and they typically cost much less.
10. Discover Your Green Thumb
If you have a yard, plant a few vegetables to further reduce grocery expenses — many veggies are easy to grow even if you don't think you have a green thumb. Kids especially love getting their hands dirty and watching a seedling grow into a veggie that they may have only seen in a store. If you don't have a yard, you may be able to join a local community garden or green space.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Sandra MacGregor and is for informational
purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to
the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any
link within this blog.