The nation is suffering and with inflation only increasing, on top of already high fixed-monthly expenses, our paychecks just are not going as far.
🔹In 2021, only 39% of Americans could afford an unexpected $1,000 expense. The immediate future looks to be even more challenging.
Making your dollar stretch further is a personal long-term task. Rather, it is a lifestyle change. With hard work and dedication, your mind and wallet will exponentially grow if you remember only a few items from this money-saving list.
Set Your Goals (and Budget)
It’s impossible to measure the success of your task and growth without some hard-defined financial goals. It may be difficult but sit down and take a good hard look at your current financial responsibilities. It’s imperative that you do. Where can you cut back? Where are you splurging? If you can’t keep track of your daily expenses and incomes easily, consider phone apps that will keep a digital financial ledger for you.
Check out one (or several) of these budgeting apps to determine which will provide the most value:
– You Need a Budget (YNAB)
Take Charge of Your Credit Card Debt
Although the phrase “never spend more than you can afford” certainly has its merits, sometimes life gets in the way. Sadly, banks and credit card companies are more than happy to throw you a lifeline in the form of credit with high APRs (Annual Percentage Rate). However, when you are unable to pay back the balance due within a certain timeframe, these companies will be expecting some form of compensation in the form of interest. With the average individual APR standing at 16%, you’re throwing money to the banks if you don’t pay off your debt in time.
To minimize your payments, interest and all, look into the following credit-card debt tactics:
– The Debt Snowball Method
– The Debt Avalance Method
– A Debt Consolidation Loan
Don’t Waste Your Raise
Raises are a dime-a-dozen. When you do reach that higher number, don’t instantly fall into the trap of “lifestyle inflation.” Avoid the pitfalls of the luxuries and novelties of your next “perceived” lifestyle. Don’t let these splurge purchases steal all your financial increases in a one-fell swoop. Play it smart and be aware.
A space where this massive inflation is most readily felt is at the grocery store. Milk, eggs, bread, produce… the staples, are becoming more and more expensive. Even if the price increase is subtle, the yearly cost for your weekly supermarket trips will be substantially more. Even then, if you and your family depend on restaurant take-out and delivery, the price surges will be even more eye-opening.
Keep your mind and body focused on the food you need. Don’t fall victim to the traps of grocery store marketing and product placement. Three quicks tips when grocery shopping:
1. Make a list of the items you intend to purchase to keep you on track.
2. Eat before you shop to ensure you’re less tempted by splurge purchases.
3. Plan your meals. Prepping a batch of meals will save on time, money, and unneeded calories.
Cut the Automated Memberships
Face it, media and shopping conglomerates have become best friends with automated monthly and yearly memberships.
Here is just a quick list of just a few of the automated services some come to rely on:
– Apple TV+
– Youtube Premium
– Amazon Prime
– Walmart Plus
– Any Gym Membership
You’re probably sitting on several memberships right now that are not being used or enjoyed. Take a second to look at your bank and credit card statements to find your recurring expenses. If one, or several, of these services have not been used in the past month, more than likely it’s time to let it go.
Personally, we haven’t had any type of subscription television services in years and don’t miss it. Out lives are far better without it.
Heating and cooling a house is often the largest energy expense for a standard household. Simply leaving the heating or cooling system off and grabbing a blanket or desk fan instead can lower energy bills, but there is a way to save even more. Most houses come with thermostats where you must manually change the temperature, meaning when you forget to turn off the heat it will run and waste energy until you switch it off, but a programmable thermostat can solve that problem.
A programmable thermostat lets you schedule when your heating/cooling will turn on so it is never running unnecessarily. Program your thermostat to hold an efficient temperature while you are away from home or asleep to save money without sacrificing comfort. Many programmable thermostats can also connect to WiFi, letting you control your home’s temperature through your smartphone.
Replace Your Air Filter
You can install a programmable thermostat, but if your air filters are clogged, then you cannot properly reap the benefits. Air filters catch debris like pollen, dust, dander, and lint to ensure your heating/cooling system is filling your home with clean air. Over time, air filters will accrue build-up which limits the flow of air.
A dirty air filter cannot perform its job efficiently and can drag down the efficiency of your entire HVAC system. Set reminders to replace your air filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendation and you’ll help maintain lower energy bills each and every year.
Better Light Bulbs
For many years incandescent light bulbs were the standard and sometimes the only option, but now we have better choices in CFL and LED light bulbs.
These bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, but also last longer and shine brighter, making CFL and LED bulbs the superior lighting option. While incandescent bulbs cost less per unit, they cost more over time.
The average incandescent bulbs use 60W and last for 1,200 hours. Over 20 years, you will spend roughly $169 replacing a single dead incandescent bulb. An LED bulb uses 7W and has a lifespan of 25,000 hours which means over 20 years, you will replace a single LED bulb maybe twice for a rough total of $8.
🔹If you have a washing machine in your house, wash your clothes with cold water whenever possible.
🔹Heating water to use in your washing machine uses electricity whereas washing your clothes in cold water does not.
🔹Instead of using your dryer, consider air-drying your clothes. Hanging your clothes up to dry overnight ensures you have dry, clean clothes in the morning without using electricity. You can set up a clothesline outside or place a clothes-drying rack indoors to replace your dryer.
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