It’s quite possible that many have taken big financial hits due to the pandemic. Finding ways to cut corners and reduce expenses is now more important than ever. Lot of budget tweaks and belt tightening have been the order of the day. Let’s talk about some ways you may be able to improve your bottom line. I’ve got some budget trimming tips for you.
Create a Budget
If you don’t already operate on an actual budget, you need to start. This is the best way to see if the money you bring in each month is enough to pay all of your bills. Don’t forget to include incidentals like groceries and gas. You can be in trouble if your home is too expensive to run.
There are several programs that can help you put together a monthly budget. Search for the one you like best. You must get serious about budgeting for it to work.
Assess your Energy Providers
Sometimes you can end up paying more on your energy bills than you need to. It’s easy to just rock along with your same electricity provider, thinking you’re probably getting the best deal possible, but, why take the chance? You need to see for yourself what rates are being offered by different companies. At 4Change Energy you can compare their trustworthy energy plans that may just be more affordable than your current provider. It’s worth checking to see if you can save on your monthly energy bills.
Mortgages and Loans
The good news is you can lower some of your bills that are not static. Your mortgage and loans have a static monthly payment. Those are non negotiable so you have to find some other ways to cut back. Back to your mortgage; you can always contact your mortgage company and ask if you can defer one or two payments to the end of your loan. This will free up money to pay down bills for a couple of months.
Now, some mortgage companies are acting like they are going to be super helpful and let you put off a payment or two. BUT they may require you to repay those payments in addition to your regular payments in a few months! This makes no sense. Don’t do this. You’ll very likely be unable to pay double payments anytime in the near future. If you can defer payments until the very end of your loan- this is a better option.
Buying or Renting a Home
As a general rule of thumb, housing expenses shouldn’t eat up more than 30 percent of your monthly income. If you are looking to buy a home, even if you qualify for a high mortgage, it may not be the best option for you. Keep to that 30 percent rule even if you’re going to be renting an apartment or house.
You can turn the question of whether you have enough money to run your home into an exact science. Sites, including Pigly.Com, have innovative algorithms that allow you to immediately calculate if you’re able to afford your accommodation or not. Just type in the relevant figures, and you’ll get data back telling you how you compare to others financially. You’ll often find that you’re spending more than makes financial sense and need to change your current financial situation.
Now to those money saving tips.
Install Programmable Thermostats
Programmable thermostats are real game-changers when it comes to keeping your energy bills down. In the winter months you can program a lower temperature for the days you work away from home. Set the thermostat to lower the temp at the time you leave each day. Then program it to come back on to heat the house about an hour before you get home. Same with cooling in the summer.
You can also set a lower temperature to start at your usual bedtime. An extra blanket can be added to the bed to keep you warm and allow a lower thermostat setting. Again, set the thermostat to come on about an hour before your alarm goes off to get the heating or cooling up to temp. This will save on your energy bills since your heating/air conditioning unit won’t be running all the time.
You can also now get smart thermostats to connect to your mobile devices so you can control it from anywhere. Just remember to adjust the thermostats at the correct times avoiding wasted heating expenses.
Use LED Bulbs
Another way to make your home more affordable is by switching to LED bulbs, according to thesimpledollar.com. These devices work on a different technology from standard incandescent technology. Instead of heating a filament to release light rays into a room, LEDs use a special material that converts electricity to light particles, avoiding wasted energy to light the bulb. Use LEDs in all of your lamps, chandeliers, and bathroom lighting. You’ll find that they last much longer than traditional bulbs plus save lots of energy to achieve the same lighting.
Estimates suggest that LEDs are around eight times more efficient than traditional bulbs – meaning more money off your bills. Still, don’t leave lights on in rooms that are not occupied. This is a waste of electricity!
Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a great addition to your home; adding not only style but additional lighting along with a useful fan. Ceiling fans don’t actually make a room cooler temperature wise, but they do make you feel cooler. Ceiling fans create wind chill which makes you feel cooler in whatever room you’re in. By contrast, in the winter months, you can reverse the direction of the blades to create a down draft which pulls the warm heated air back down into the room.
Both of these actions can translate into savings on your energy bill by being able to adjust the thermostat up or down and still stay comfortable.
Make Small Repairs Yourself
Hiring a professional to make small repairs can cost big money. For instance; replacing a malfunctioning toilet float is easily done. There are several video tutorials out there that show you step by step instructions. If a plumber has to come to your house, you’ll incur his service call fee plus the fee to replace the float. That could be well over $150.
A dripping faucet may just need a new o-ring. This is a part that is usually less than $1 for the part. Again, many tutorials can be found online for a quick fix.
Remember, the goal is reducing your monthly home expenses. Often, learning DIY is an excellent investment not just for the current repair, but future repairs as well.
There may be sacrifices that need to be made, but desperate times do call for desperate measures. Once things get back to normal, you’ll be that much further ahead on your living expenses. Give yourself some breathing room in the meantime by using these budget trimming tips.