If you find yourself taking on more work every month in order to try to save, but instead you are still living paycheck to paycheck, no matter how big it is, it means that there are certain holes you need to plug and certain urges you need to fight.
Once this is done you can look for a way of how to make a home budget best suited for your household.
Utility bills are taken for granted by most. We receive them and pay them as they come. However, no one bothers to have a look and see whether they are correct, not unless the amount increases drastically from one month to another. Luckily, these are the least of your worries. First of all, you need to make sure that you are using as little energy as you possibly can. This does not mean that you need to go to bed as soon as it gets dark to save on electricity, but simply to stop being wasteful. Try insulating your home properly so no energy goes to waste. Unplug electrical devices when they are not being used as they produce phantom loads which you end up paying for with each bill. Replace any old or faulty appliances with the newer generation ones which spend less. All of these combined will reduce the final amount you receive on your bills.
Shopping and discount offers
These are very tricky for the impulsive buyers. The key is in buying only the things you use and need. Always make a shopping list before you leave your home and make sure you have it ready and handy once you are in a store. Buy only the items from your list. Allow yourself to only “fall” for discount offers when they include one of the listed items or something you normally purchase on a regular basis so you are saving money long-term. However, in any other instances, do not get fooled by these attractive offers. People tend to buy things they do not need simply because they are cheaper now than they were before. It is always more expensive to buy cheap than not to buy at all. You will find yourself spending more than you initially planned in order to get the discount which will not be worth the extra money you spent.
Interest rates on any debts you have are contentiously eating up the funds from your family budget. This includes mortgages, credit cards and any other loans you may have. Some of them are hard to get rid of, as you would need to pay for the entire debt to avoid paying the interest rates, but others, such as credit cards are easier to take care of. Use your credit cards wisely, only for the things you need, when you need them, and when you can afford to repay the amount owed within 30 days or a couple of months at the most. If you only pay the minimum amount required, you will end up wasting half of your installment on interest rates. Never use your credit card only to get the reward points, they will cost you more than what they are actually worth.
Eating turns out to be the greatest way of wasting time and money. Unless you are one of those people who particularly enjoy it, you probably find it hard to fit preparing and eating meals in your schedule. But, to put the time to a side for a moment, according to the US National Resources Defense Council, an average US family throws away about 25% of the overall food they buy. This is why you should plan your meals and know what to buy and when. Another way we waste money on food is by eating out. Even though it has its perks occasionally, eating out costs you more than a home-cooked meal, and not only that but eating out is partly to blame for the food in your fridge going bad.
These are not necessarily hidden charges in the sense that someone is withholding information, but something we willfully tend to oversee, such as ATM charges or monthly fees on our many credit and debit cards. Try to reduce these. Using your bank’s ATMs will decrease the charges you pay, and so will fewer withdrawals. Do not try to save by withdrawing less as you will end up paying more visits to the ATM than if you had withdrawn a large amount initially. If that is what you need to do, you can save by not carrying all of the cash with you.
As much as it is generous to spend our money on others, it is also very unkind to our pockets. Not everyone deserves a gift, especially not at the price we are paying for it. Set a budget on every gift and try to work within those limits. Do not only consider the person and the occasion, but also consider your budget. The value of a gift is not measured by money.
By outsourcing, I refer spending your money for having others do things you can do just as well yourself. For most of the time, you can clean your own home, wash your own car, do your own gardening, even do small projects around the house and build things the DIY way. There is nothing wrong with that. Be flexible, your lawn does not have to be mowed on Tuesday if you cannot make it, it can wait till Saturday when you are available. Compromise a little to save a lot.
With all of these in place, you will start noticing the difference after the first month. You need to do your best to always stay within the budget as that is the only way you will ever end up saving. Also, make sure to always put some money aside for emergencies, do not let anything catch you off guard. Once you are sure you are not wasteful, you can try implementing a budgeting software, as there are many available online. I am sure you will be able to find one which truly helps.