When you are raising your family, it seems that money is always in short supply. Paychecks seem to disappear before your eyes almost as soon as you receive them. First there’s the payment for housing, which always seems to be increasing. Then there are the monthly expenses for utilities. From electric and gas to sewer, trash, cable and Internet services, it can be difficult to keep on top of your outgoings when there are so many of them. Sometimes the flow of cash seems to be a one-way street, as so much of it goes out and very little comes in. With some creative ideas, though, you can start saving more of your hard-earned cash and begin to have a little bit of a cushion when it comes to bill paying time.
Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt
It’s pretty depressing to open up your credit card bills each month. Interest rates on the card may easily range from 12 % up to 19% or more, even though the banks are only paying a couple of points of interest themselves. If you make the suggested minimum monthly payment at times, you’ll read the fine print and see that if you simply pay the minimum, you’ll still owe money in 15 years. One of the ways you can save money is by taking out a personal loan to consolidate your debt. The cash you borrow can be used to pay off all your credit cards and you’ll have one lower expense each month instead of many high interest payments. Terms and interest rates on your loan will depend on your credit score and other factors.
Be a Smart Grocery Shopper
Food expenses are one of the biggest items in the family budget. As a savvy shopper, though, you can save a lot on your monthly grocery bills. First, it pays to shop the sales. Take the weekly food ads and go look for the best bargains on items you usually purchase. If you stock up on these sale items that are deeply discounted, you’ll find you save a lot. It also pays to change how you shop at your local store. Shop the outer edges of the store and focus on buying fresh produce and the protein items you need. The regular aisles full of boxed and processed foods are full of low value, high cost items. When you buy single items like rice, pasta and beans it’s a smart purchase. When you buy cans of green beans for a dollar with only 5 cents worth of product in there, you’re wasting money every time.
Cut Your Electric Bill
Utility costs seem to be constantly on the rise and summer air conditioning costs are skyrocketing. One of the best ways to save money on your summer cooling bill is to install a whole house fan in the attic. When temperatures cool down outside at night, open the windows and turn on the powerful fan for a while. It quickly pulls in cool air from the outside and sweeps the hot air in the house up into the attic and outside through vents. You can also lower your electric bill by unplugging the appliances you’re not using. If you have chargers, computers and other devices plugged in they will continue to use electricity, even when you are not using them. Turning out the lights in rooms that are empty also lowers utility costs and is a simple way to lower your monthly electricity bill.