You have created a budget. You have cut out your non-essentials, yet you want to save more, or you NEED more to pay all your bills..
Help Is Here
Let’s start by looking at the essential costs that we can not do without but can be controlled. These costs include food, rent/ house payment, car payments, and car insurance to name a few, can not be controlled. Let’s look at these.
The first budget category that I want you to consider is food. This is a category that we have a lot of control over.
We make daily choices that can either increase or decrease the cost of eating. I do not expect you to go without food, but I do want you to have a plan.
Some ideas to control food costs are:
Control Food Costs
- Use weekly grocery ads to find the best prices.
- Compare unit prices on like products.
- Use store brands. Store brands are just as good as the name brand most of the time.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Do not shop when you are hungry. You WILL overspend.
- Plan menus and stick to it.
- Buy in bulk (if it is a good price).
- Cook at home and cook from scratch. Prepackaged meals are more expensive. You pay for convenience.
- Plan your eating out. This can be where you save the most.
Housing is hard to control. When looking at your housing, ask yourself these questions:
Do I have too much house for my income?
Am I paying too much rent for my income?
If you answered yes to either of these 2 questions, then it is time to take a hard look at either selling your house and finding a less expensive one, or moving where your rent is cheaper.
I remember the most important question I had when buying my first home was “What is the most house I can afford to buy or rent?” A better question would have been “What is the best house my budget will allow me to buy or rent given my overall money goals?”
Many people now are building or buying tiny homes. They want the freedom to spend their money as they choose and not on a large home. Many people are downsizing to free up money to spend as they wish.
Choosing right when you buy or rent or downsizing now are options to get your budget to provide for all your money goals (retirement, travel, charitable giving, etc).
Utility costs are best controlled by the habits you develop.
When I was in college, I worked as a custodian at the college. One of the habits I developed was whenever I left a room or a facility, I turned off all the lights. This is the easiest way to save money. Turn off the lights when a room is not in use.
Another habit to develop is controlling temperature settings. Setting your air conditioner just 2 degrees higher in the summer or your furnace 2 degrees lower in the winter will save electricity costs.
Cars are an expensive form of transportation. Reducing the number of family cars can have a big impact on your transportation costs. It takes effort to cut back on cars. It is an inconvenience to have to coordinate with the family on the use of the car.
When I was young, I watched my grandparents go for walks every night. This walk gave them exercise, but it also was a way to complete some errands without using the car.
When I was about 12 years old I got a bike. It was amazing where I could go with my bike. I had so much freedom. I did not have to rely on anyone else to take me places. A bike is a great form of transportation for children and adults.
If you can cut back to one car for the family, you will be saving the car payment, maintenance cost, oil, gas, and insurance. This can be a large chunk of money.
Sound Financial Plans
Using these methods of saving money and reducing costs for essential items is part of creating or maintaining a sound financial plan Remember that as you give these strategies a try and you find can not live with them, you can always change them in your budget.
Keep in mind that your budget is your framework and boundaries that you have set to make money decisions. Reducing your costs may be your most valuable tool to creating the life you want.
Give these tips a try. Let me know how it goes.