The following post is by staff writer, Peter.
Creating a budget for your household might seem to be something that is relatively simple. That being said, sticking to it is another thing entirely. If you are looking for a way to find more money in your budget for investing, traditional wisdom tells you that you have two options. You can either make more money or you can spend less money. With that in mind, there might be one more thing that you can do. You might just be able to locate money in places you didn’t look before. Take another look at your budget to locate any extra funds.
You can always stand to save energy, for no other reason than doing your part to be more ecofriendly. The thing is, when you conserve energy, you are getting more from it than just a smaller carbon footprint. You can also save some money. Think about getting a home energy audit to find out where you might be losing energy and how to fix the issues.
Aside from that, in places that are deregulated, such as in Alberta, you can compare rates for energy from the different suppliers. Suppliers such as ATCO can be more competitive with their pricing in order to gain customers and the savings will be all yours. Depending on your rates and energy usage, you might be able to save hundreds annually.
You might also need to make the decision between paying off your current debt or investing for the future. While this might be a simple question, finding the answer can be a complicated process. It involves finding out how much you can save monthly by a debt reduction, your total assets and debts and the expected return annually on your assets among a few other factors. Basically, if it would cost you less in the end to reduce your debt now and invest later, versus the opposite, then it would be a good idea to do so.
One thing that you can do to reduce the expenses for your household is to bundle your various services. If you have internet, phone and TV services, you might find that you will reap the savings by switching all of these services to a single provider. You might get offers for this in the mail or you might see what is available in your area. This is a free service that will not only let you know what options you have, it will also allow you to compare the rates for the specific services that you need to determine your best option.
Is caller ID on your phone really necessary? For that matter, is a landline phone really a necessity? What about all of those premium cable channels or the highest level satellite package? Take a good, long look at your monthly expenses and see which items are necessary and which ones are just perks.
Groceries are a necessity… and one that can take a huge chunk of your budget. That being said, they are able to be cut down. Consider starting to use coupons and price matching to get the best prices. Shop the sales. What do you think you might be able to save if you do this? For a 1st time coupon clipper, 15% might be reasonable. In time and with practice, this could increase all the way up to 50%!
Yes, insurance is imperative, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be so darn expensive. Shop around and see if you can get lower rates on your vehicle insurance premiums. You might be able to save hundreds annually. If you can’t locate a better rate, have a conversation with your provider and determine if there are any discounts that you might be able to qualify for. For more savings, you might think about canceling collision coverage or even increasing your deductible.
You might also think about turning the things that you have read here today into habits for the long term in order to keep a tight rein on your spending. Be sure that you aren’t saying no to everything though because you will be much more likely to give up. Living within a tight budget doesn’t have to be about waiting for things, but more about spending less on those things that aren’t that imperative so that you will be able to spend more money on those things that are important to you.