5 Household Expenses Ravaging Your Budget
If you’re barely squeaking by each paycheck with just enough money to pay your bills, you need to find areas where you can free up some money. Certain expenses such as groceries and your cellphone are necessary costs. But there are probably areas of your household budget that you may be overpaying. The following are five expenses that could be ravaging your budget.
When you set your budget, there may be expenses you can’t do without such as your gym membership, personal trainer, landscaper and cleaning person. Your cable bill is another area that can continuously grow if you don’t do something about it. The average bill typically runs around $85 per month. But thanks to the Internet, you may be paying for unnecessary charges. If you have favorite shows that you watch, you don’t want to shell out money for a loaded package. Netflix, Hulu, Roku and YouTube are options where you can locate your shows and at a reduced price. You may even be able to catch some programs for free.
Hire the Professionals
DIY projects can save you a lot of money. But if you aren’t a handy person, there are certain jobs that only the professionals should tackle. If you have leaks in your roof, and you need the area patched, you don’t want to risk injuries. A roofing expert also has the tools to get the job done right in the first place. Because the experts have the knowledge and experience, maybe repave your driveway or have them fill in any noticeable cracks. When you find someone with a long history in the industry, you can feel secure knowing that you won’t have to pay double the money for your DIY mistakes.
Your smartphone and tablet provider may put pressure on you to sign a long and costly contract. But with the number of providers today and options available, you are sitting in the driver’s seat. Before you settle on a company, weigh the plans and offerings. Depending on your data usage, texting and talk needs, you may be able to find something under $50 per month. If you have a security system, Internet and cable, you may want to bundle the items with your cellphone provider for additional savings.
Nothing depletes your checking account more than your utility bills. Thankfully, you can save money on utility bills by keeping your thermostat at a certain temperature. During the winter months, try to set it a few degrees cooler in your home. Simply going from 76 to 73 can allow you to save as much as 3 percent on your gas bill. If you use your air condition in the summer, a programmable thermostat can keep the temperature warmer during the day and cooler upon your arrival after work. If your utility bills are still outrageous, you can ask the company if they have a budget plan available. This allows you to pay a set amount each month, instead of skyrocket bills during the peak season.
Dining out often can cost significantly more than if you would stay at home and cook your meals. Whether you’re a gourmet in the kitchen or a novice, there are meals that are easy and healthy to prepare. Even your daily lunch runs to a local fast food joint can quickly add up. To help cut costs on your food bill, plan your menus ahead of time. This will also help when you make your weekly trip to the grocery store. If your budget allows, plan to eat out at least once each week.
Drawing up a budget is the easy part. But keeping your household on track to stay within your financial plan can be challenging. By keeping in mind the above ravaging household expenses and finding ways to keep them on target, you’ll be able to pay your bills and watch your savings grow.