One intriguing fact about uncoordinated expenses is that you’ll always feel that you’re paying for things you need. When you pay for a new bedcover, go grocery shopping, or pay for premium cable TV, you’ll always feel like you’re spending on everyday stuff that your household needs.
Is this the case?
No doubt, your family needs food, and every modern family sure needs premium TV entertainment, but figuring out how to pay for these can ensure that they don’t put a hole in your pocket. This practice is called financial intelligence, and it involves keeping track of your expenditure.
Financial intelligence grows out of well thought out plans and habits, carefully nurtured over a period. Are you looking to develop the financial knowledge that would enable you to cut back on unnecessary expenses in your household and supercharge your finances? You can make the ten ways below your take-off point.
1. Take a List Along to Your Shopping
Preparing a shopping list is like preparing for a test; you know what to write. We all know what happens when we sit unprepared for a test, we write any crap that comes to mind, or we copy off of others, to fill our sheet.
When you have a list, you have clear navigation. So, when you walk into the grocery store or supermarket, you’re looking for things you need to buy rather than wanting to purchase anything on the shelf that catches your fancy.
Making a shopping list of household needs ensures you won’t end up paying for things you don’t need. The result is smarter spending and money saved.
2. Prepare Your Meals at Home
We know you think eating out can be a huge time-saver for a busy household like yours; however, the expenses incurred from these are a lot more than the gains in time. You save lots of funds when you make your meals at home instead of patronizing a restaurant.
When you prepare home-cooked meals, make lots of it. That way, you can refrigerate some for use later. You can also take the leftovers to work for lunch.
Home-cooked meals also save you lots of money when planned. Planning your meals let you know what to prepare at every time of the week. Shop according to your plan and prepare a meal that’s just enough for the household. This reduces food wastage, and of course, helps you cut back expenses on foodstuff.
3. Do as Many Projects as You Can by Yourself
Need to mow your lawn or fix a roof? How about the faulty plumbing in the kitchen sink?
Hiring help every time you need to have these done is expensive, so why don’t you consider doing them yourself?
We acknowledge the importance of handymen in fixing up your home, but sometimes, you can be your handyman too, and leave the complicated tasks to the handymen.
Pay only for the projects which need a professional touch.
4. Cut Back on the Premiums
Your family deserves premium TV entertainment, internet services, and cell phone service, but did you know you could get equally excellent service without having to pay for the premium?
Consider taking a closer look at these premium services and notice that there is a pattern to them; there’s always going to be a higher premium than your existing subscription. So, you, in your bid to get the best, end up spending money that could go to better use.
But do you need all these?
The answer is ‘No’ if you want to cut back expenses. Rather than pay for a premium gym membership, you could try working out on the cheap at home. If you conduct a thorough search, you’ll discover lots of affordable alternatives to the premium TV entertainment you’ve always preferred.
Premium packages mightn’t, after all, be the best packages. When you get rid of cable TV or cancel your premium subscriptions, and replace it with entertainment from local channels transmitted via an antenna, you discover that the show you’ve been breaking the bank for is actually at your fingertips.
5. Buy What You Need. Sell Off Stuff You No Longer Need
You shouldn’t own every fashionable item in vogue. While we understand your need to be stylish, this doesn’t do your finances any favors.
You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses.
You don’t need to dispose of your TV for a more modern LCD screen just because every other home owns one. Also, you don’t have to change your furniture, except they’re in a state of total disrepair. Necessity should be your primary drive for acquiring household appliances, not the need to keep up with the trend.
Don’t buy every outfit that might look good on you, because, let’s face it, thousands of outfits would be the perfect fit for you, but you can’t buy them all, now, can you? So, buy stuff that you need. Also, consider decluttering your home, some of that stuff could fetch you good money.
6. Buy Foodstuff in Bulk
It’s basic economics that when you buy goods at a bulk price, you save a money because you’re buying at the wholesaler’s rate. Consider applying this knowledge in purchasing household items such as groceries and general foodstuffs.
The amount of money you save from buying in bulk depends on the items. Experts, however, agree that buying in bulk can save you between 20% to 80% on your purchases.
Besides foodstuffs, other things you should consider buying in bulk to save money include toilet paper, washing powder, detergent, and your pet’s food, if you’re a pet owner.
7. Rent Tools You’ll Need Once or Twice
You don’t need to buy and keep all the tools you need to fix things in the house. Consider renting some, especially the ones you use once in a very long while.
If the need to do a welding job comes up in your home, you could consider renting a welding kit instead of buying one. They’re things you can rent or borrow from neighbors and friends, so long as it’s a one-time thing. There’s no need to buy and keep tools that’ll rust for lack of use. It’s a total waste of good money. That’s no way to save.
8. Look Out for the Best Deals in Everything, Every Time
Yes, be on the lookout for the best deals in foodstuff, clothing, and home appliances you need. Also, look out for places to get great deals and the exact time when they’re mostly available.
Compare deals from your shopping at different outlets and supermarkets over an extended period. Study the differences in prices, quantities, and overall shopping experience. If you plan on buying a product offered by different brands, read reviews from previous buyers, and make informed comparisons. There’s no better route to the best deals than this.
If you find that your water is hard, for example, and you’re considering getting a water softener, here’s a review that can help you save money and figure out a water softener that best suits your needs.
9. Turn Your Backyard into a Garden
Growing a garden in your backyard means you don’t have to budget for fruits and veggies in your shopping, and we all know that a considerable percentage of shopping budget usually goes to them. Starting a garden in your backyard is cheap and easy, and most of all, very rewarding. You only need to purchase some garden tools, vegetables, and fruit seedlings.
You can check DIY videos on YouTube for guides on how to grow a garden if you’re a novice with zero ideas on how to start. You can also ask neighbors or friends with gardening experience: they’d be happy to guide you through the starting phase.
When your vegetables are grown, you’ll have saved money off fruits and veggies. Still, you’ll also be eating fresh organic produce, protecting you from the uncertainties surrounding farm produce sourced from supermarkets and grocery stores and their safety concerns.
10. Apps Can Help
Budgeting apps make lots of difference in financial intelligence. They’re your low-budget personal financial advisors, but the work they do isn’t by any means low budget.
Budget apps are an easy way to keep track of your money and spend it within your budget. These platforms also provide a way to automate payments and set and track financial goals. They ensure that you don’t indulge in frivolous spending or spur-of-the-moment purchases. The app ‘keeps’ you in check.
Taking full charge of one’s finances is a feat only a few manage to achieve in their lifetime; ironically, it isn’t even as difficult as it seems to be. A little discipline, effort, and commitment to gain some level of financial savviness can keep you out of debt, help you save money for rainy days, and get you to live a healthier lifestyle.
You need to start spending only on stuff you need, not on everything that piques your interest at the mall. You also need to hands-off the premiums, expensive lifestyle, prepare home-made meals (they taste better anyway), handle the repair jobs that you can, and leave the technical ones to the professionals. When you’ve mastered three to a dozen such cost-saving methods, you’d be well on your way to living a debt-free life.
You can’t achieve financial intelligence by mere wishes. Budgeting apps help you make your dreams a reality, so they’re very beneficial. With these apps, you can set your budget for your daily, weekly, or monthly household expenditures, and then follow it to the end, with your successes and failure visible for you to see and judge. This is a perfect way to hold yourself accountable for your expenditure.