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7 Tips to Reduce Spending

reduce household spending
Whether you’re new to budgeting and planned spending our you’ve been actively managing your finances for a while there is always room for new learning and reminders of the simple things that can quickly destroy a family’s budget.

Here are a few tips for reducing household spending

 Call a Family Meeting

Call a meeting with the family and discuss ways everyone can help in reducing expenses.  Even young children can get in on the action by having “Light Switch Duty” and be sure lights are out when no one is in the room.

Nix Brand Loyalty

Do you really need Heinz Ketchup?  Are Aldi Brand paper plates just as good as Dixie brand?  For our family, well for my husband really, the Heinz is non-negotiable.  Off-brand ketchup will not do.  Paper products are a different story.  I am an Aldi fan and proud of it.  Also, consider if you need name brand things like pens, paper, diapers, baby wipes or laundry detergent. Diapers.com has awesome diapers.  We’ve been using their brand since Wyatt was a few months old (after I went through the packs of gifted diapers.)

For some inspiration on eating real food and shopping at discount stores, this post from Kitchen Stewardship is very encouraging. And, for more way to reduce kitchen expense check out this post.

Annual Utility & Necessary Expense Shopping

Once a year, shop for the best rates on utilities and other “necessary because they just are” type expenses.  Here is a list of some things to check

  • Insurances – car, life, home or renters can all be shopped for.  Now, even healthcare but the jury is out on any savings with that one.
  • Utilities – comparison shop for oil and propane.  And did you know even natural gas and electricity in some areas are competitive now? Deregulation means that you have a choice of who you will buy your natural gas or electricity from just as we have a choice of who we buy our long distance phone service from.
  • Telephone service – there are now companies who offer Voice Over IP (Vonage, Magic Jack, etc). Compare your bills and see if you can save. If you have cell phones, consider getting rid of home phone service altogether.  You can still have DSL internet without phone service.  You just need the line running into your home.
  • Cable or Satellite Providers – Many times all you need to do is tell them your switching and they’ll match rates or lower yours enough to convince you to stay.
  • Don’t forget to ask about bill bundling.  In my area we bundle our local phone service, long distance, internet and satellite and save around $50.00 a month.

Use The Seasons

Utilize natural light as much as possible in your home. Depending on the season natural light can replace your electric lights for a good portion of the day.  In the fall close up the house in the evenings to keep in the heat for the overnight hours.  Then, mid-day if it’s warm, you can open a window or two to let in the cool fall breeze.  On really hot days, keep the shades drawn and the doors and windows shut.  This may help regulate your house temperature and allow you to keep the AC off a little longer.

Save on Laundry

Wash as much as you can in cold water and use drying racks, inside clothes lines or outside clothes lines.  Before we had our son I was able to cut our electric bill greatly by reducing hot water washes and dryer use.  Homemade laundry detergent could be another money saver.  Be sure to compare cost and number of loads!

Pack Lunch

Whether it’s going to work or going for groceries if you’re out all day pack your lunch.  You can save a ton of money if you pack instead of buying.  Think about it – a $4.50 “value” meal at the drive in twice a week is $468.00 a year.  How many times a week do you “drive thru?”   Not only does it save money but it can be healthier too.  I don’t care if you pack store-bought lunch meat on store-bought white bread with store-bought mayo it has GOT to be better than mystery meat from any fast food chain.  But that’s another topic for another day!

If you need ideas for some real food lunches I recommend these two from my affiliate partner.  Smart Sweets and Healthy Snacks to Go by Katie of Kitchen Stewardship is a great resource.  From Smart Sweets the honey molasses cookies and black bean brownies are a favorite for Wyatt and I.  We also like the Almond Powerbars from Health Snacks to Go.
Smart Sweets

What I love about these books, and all of Katie’s books, is her detailed information. They aren’t just recipe books. She shows a cost chart per recipe so you can see which ones are the cheaper than others to make.

 Avoid the Mall

Like it’s the plague. If you do not need a specific item do not go! We are like bugs attracted to a light when it comes to malls, craft stores, hobby shops and sporting goods stores. The simple fact is until or unless you have trained yourself in restraint just stay away.  Don’t go stroll through the mall on a Sunday afternoon for something to do – stroll through the park.  Too cold? Rainy? Then cuddle on the couch and watch a family movie or play a board game? Don’t have a board game or a movie? Make a big fort in your living room with clothes pins and sheets.

There are tons of ways to save money by tweaking little things in your life.  Ask the Lord to show you ways your family can save.  Ask him to open your eyes to see things that you may otherwise miss and remember, it is all about being good stewards with what the Lord has given us.

If you’re looking for some accountability and a great way way to manage your family finances Money 4 Life Coaching might be right for you.  I’d love to coach you one on one and help you be successful with biblical stewardship and reach your financial goals.

What simple ways have you found to reduce spending in your house?

 

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