Have you ever felt frustrated with the amount of money you had available, and wondered where it all went? You seem to cut back on everything fun and it can feel like you are working just to get your bills paid. You pay everything you are used to paying, but is there anything else you can do?
Happily, there is hidden money all over our homes! It comes in the form of household expenses that everyone thinks are normal, but really don’t have to be. Some are outdated and others are based on wrong ideas, but they all add up to extra money in your pocket! Read on to see some of the “normal” places you might be wasting your hard-earned cash:
Types of Expenses
Everything in your house can fit under one of three categories of spending:
- Fixed at the same price each month like rent or mortgage payments
- Variable based on consumption such as food or electricity
- An optional discretionary expense, such as eating out.
Categorizing your expenses under these headings can help you decide where to trim your budget, because while fixed expenses will not change, the other two categories leave plenty of room for adjustments. Discretionary expenses have the most room because they can be trimmed back or cut out completely, but even variable bills can be adjusted by moderating the use of goods like foods and toiletries or services such as electricity and water consumption.
Almost everything on cable these days can be found somewhere on the Internet as well, and streaming services like Hulu or Netflix have taken over a lot of the viewership. Premium channels are just that, and often come in packages that include more channels than most people want or are able to watch. If it is specific shows or channels you are interested in, you can subscribe to only those for much less money.
Many people are used to landlines, especially older people who grew up with them, so it seems like a normal expense to have, but an increasing number of people have cut this utility as a discretionary service. These days, everyone has a cell phone, and cell phones have a lot of apps that can do all the things you might need a landline for, such as send faxes or call overseas.
A lot of Internet providers also provide landline service, so if you do need a landline for some reason, you can often find a good package that includes both. If you have Internet, you can also use a variety of apps to help make your phone calls, such as WhatsApp or Skype.
Sometimes late payments happen, and many utilities and services charge a small fee for paying late. This might not seem like a big deal, until those late fees begin to add up, even when they are minimal. For some companies, the late fees might become greater with the number of late payments accrued on the account.
One of the biggest wastes of your money is when a bill has a fixed due date that includes any late fees. This means that if you pay even the late fee late, your next month is charged a late fee as well, causing a cascade of money wasted. A simple thing like keeping bills paid on time can add up into hundreds in monthly savings.
Food affects the house in a couple of ways. The food budget itself can become overwhelming when food items become a free for all, especially if the food is bought already prepared. Consolidating food items, such as cereal flavors or types of lunch meat, can also save money as well as space in your pantry or refrigerator.
Having food in your refrigerator and freezer can actually help save energy, because it takes less to chill or freeze the food (plus, that frozen food can be moved to help cool the fridge like an edible ice block!). Buying items in bulk might save money, but it might also create waste if you can’t eat it all before it perishes. Finally, cooking at home cuts a lot of the cost of eating out; this applies to that $4 cup of coffee in the mornings, too!
Just because people have been doing something for a long time, that doesn’t mean it is “normal.” It is only normal if you don’t watch out for expenses such that these, but it only has to be a fact of life if you let it be. Start looking at the different types of spending in your life, and areas like the ones above will reveal themselves, adding savings to your wallet!