Once you get a taste of adulthood, meaning you start to pick up after yourself and pay your own bills, you realise one thing: Life is expensive. I can already hear your screams of “Yes! Amen to that!”
This is also the point when you appreciate everything that your parents did to give you as many comforts as they could afford. Now that you’re responsible for your personal finances, you know that the things you need and want cost serious money. This is why most of us become more frugal with age and experience. You ought to remember that frugality should not stop you from getting things that you need or even a few things that you like. It should just be a lesson that you need to be a little patient and save up for big-ticket items like a car lease for a late model car, or a house, or even a new washer.
The beauty about finances is that you have a myriad of ways to save up on everyday expenses. It takes a bit of change in your normal routine but when you see just how much more you’ve saved, you’d know that it was all worth it. To help you get that big ticket item sooner rather than later, here are ways for you to save up on your bills, bills, bills:
You may not notice it but you probably leave a lot of electronics unnecessarily on. Do you really need air-conditioning and the lights on for all rooms when you’re only using 1 or 2 at a time? Is it really so cold that you need to turn on the heater? If it’s not biting cold, maybe you can just put on a jumper and be comfortable at home. Do you really need the television, computer, DVD player, dishwasher, and washing machine turned on or even plugged in all the time? You’re at work most of the day, or you have other chores throughout the entire day. I’m sure you don’t need all of your appliances and devices plugged in or turned on the entire day. Experts say that with little things like chargers, the difference between leaving it plugged in or not is a matter of cents they all add up. However, if you keep the TV on while you’re on the computer so you don’t feel alone in the house that’s perfectly normal.
QUICK TIP! Conduct your own energy audit. It’s not as hard as you think, and there’s a downloadable checklist and free guide from Energy Australia. Knowing what causes the energy spikes in your household can definitely help you reduce energy consumption and ultimately save money.
Do you really need to be in the shower for two hours every single day? Imagine how much water you’d be saving if your showers only lasted five to (at most) fifteen minutes, instead of two hours. One more thing people forget is that you can actually recycle water. Relax, I’m not talking about drinking water. I’m talking about the water you throw away after washing your clothes and dishes, or even water after baths. If you have an entire garden of plants, you can always use all that to water them. Another thing you can do is invest on a filter to turn your tap water safe and potable. You’d be saving loads on bottled water. Trust me, you’re spending too much on bottled water.
Cable, Internet, and Phones
Nearly everyone has Foxtel or Netflix but not everyone needs all the channels. If all you watch are local channels, check out if your TV can receive a digital broadcast signal. If it can, you may want to invest on an inverter box and antenna. Then you get to watch all your basic shows for free. Imagine having an extra $30 in a month. If you want to watch movies or even a TV series or two, remember that there are resources online that are much cheaper than cable or, if you’re lucky, are free.
If you truly need premium channels in your life, flip through all of them and list down which ones you don’t really watch. Maybe you can get a cheaper package with fewer premium channels. It may seem like just a few dollars, but the saying “every penny counts” is very true.
What about your landline phone? How often do you really use it? When was the last time you called someone via landline? If you can’t even remember anymore, just cut it off. If you’re a parent, then you know that all of the members of your family actually need a phone nowadays. Other than minutes and messages, you’d also spend for data consumed for each line.
Speaking of data, that gets incredibly costly especially when all the members of the family have them. But do you really consume all the data in your plan? Maybe you can switch to a cheaper plan and save big. Maybe you’d want to keep the data and use more of Internet calls from apps like Viber, Snapchat, and Skype instead of a landline or extending minutes. Talk to your provider and ask what plans they have to suit your usage.
Quick Tip! You may want to consider asking your provider or switching to a provider that has bundle packages for all three services (phone, Internet, cable)
While this may not always work, you can always ask your landlord or landlady if they’d be willing to give you a cheaper rate for rent, with the promise of lease renewal on your end. Who knows, you might just get a cheaper living space for the next couple of months or years. The worst that could happen is that they would say “No”.
Credit and Debt
If you have several credit cards and loans that you’re paying off, you might want to consolidate all into just one debt. You’d save so much on interest rates, and save yourself from the headache of needing to worry about so many bills with different due dates.
There are so many ways for you to save up on your monthly bills. It takes a bit of discipline and change, but if you push through you’d have that big ticket item before you know it. Good luck!
This is part 3 of a three-part series on little ways to help you save up for a big ticket item. Check out part 1 Save Up For That Big Ticket Item Pt 1: Branded to Generic and part 2 Save Up For That Big Ticket Item Pt 2: Cooking At Home.