Looking to cut your monthly operating budget but don’t know where to look? Grocery and utility bills are probably the costs you have the most control over when it comes to how much you spend. Here are a handful of tips to help you cut your budget while still keeping the utilities on and the refrigerator full.
Water is free Stop buying bottled water. One town has actually stopped the sale of single-serving water bottles. In the majority of communities, town governments spend big money to ensure the local water quality. There is no need to spend again. If you’re concerned about drinking straight tap water, buy a refrigerator with an integrated filtration system. Filters need only be changed every few months and you can be assured you’re drinking crisp, clean water free of sediment and chemicals — all without breaking the bank.
Monitor electricity Many community libraries are now loaning outelectricity usage monitors, which allow residents to determine their electricity usage. After connecting to your meter, track your utility costs and forecast expenses after plugging in actual rates. The most important discovery here is how much your appliances cost to run when they are turned off. Discover which appliances are costing you money even when they’re turned off.
Combine couponing with sales Everyone says using coupons can save you money. However, blindly using coupons could actually cost you in the long run. One box of a generic brand of cereal may easily be cheaper than a two-for-one deal on brand-name cereal, depending on the cost and coupon involved. The proper time to use coupons is when an item is on sale. This gets you the sale price and a further reduction with the coupon, typically costing less than the store brand.
Bulk is not always best Smart couponing is not just about applying coupons when items are on sale. A common tip to saving money is to buy items in bulk. However, with proper couponing techniques, smaller packaging is actually better. Blindly buying bigger packages is not always better, especially if your purchase is perishable and will go to waste before you can use it. Bulk purchases of laundry detergent, dish soap and toilet paper are good; food that doesn’t come in cans is not.
Work the Web Instead of spending all your time coupon matching or locating web-based coupons, build off the work of others. Find a parent, couponing or finance blog in your area and look for deals available at local stores each week. Sites like A Full Cup offer topics for many different grocery stores. Find the thread for your specific store and see what you can save today or next week. You’ll be amazed at how much you can actually get for free.
Saving money on utilities and groceries is the easiest way to lower your monthly operating budget without totally cutting things out. Spend your time wisely and your operating budget will lower itself based on your smart decisions. Cost-saving measures like at-home water filtration and coupon research will help out your wallet without making you feel deprived.