Practical Tips for Saving on Household Bills and Expenses

Take Control of Your Family’s Most Essential Expenses

Are you “over” advertisers trying to sell you on easy government grants or breathing techniques that lead you to wealth, or a “cure” to your debt? Whatever it’s being called today, these alleged wealth-building schemes prey on people down on their luck, so to speak.

When the chips are down and your income has been reduced here are a few of the most common AND essential household expenses and tips for stretching your buck and streamlining expenses:

Mortgage/Rent

A roof over your head and a safe haven for your family is a priority survival expense. If you have a mortgage or rent make this bill a top priority. Alternative living situations include moving in with family in the case of a rent, or renting out a room in your home if you pay a mortgage.

If you are not bound to a sub-prime mortgage, you could qualify for a loan modification or mortgage refinance when the Homeowner Affordability Stability Plan * takes effect.

Utilities

Keeping your home warm and lit is a priority. However, most consumers can make multiple adjustments in habits and behaviors that collectively will create nearly instant and visible savings in monthly bills:

  • Lower your heat settings
  • Lower your temperature on the hot water heater
  • Turn off any and all lights when not in use
  • Shut down computers when not in use
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and use 75% less energy **
  • Install dimmers for overhead lights
  • Cancel cable television subscriptions
  • Downsize your cellphone plan
  • Check out your state’s energy assistance program.

Medications

It’s a bad idea to try and survive without your prescribed medications or those of others in your family and household. In the end your healthcare costs will suffer, likely in response to neglect. Here are a few smart options for slashing pharmacy costs:

  • Ask your pharmacist for a generic version of a brand-name medication or over the counter alternatives.
  • Shop where you can get a good deal on prescription meds; for example, Walmart’s $4 and $10 discount drug program includes dozens of prescription drugs. You can also buy over the counter drugs in the same price points.***

Groceries

Putting food on the table is one of your top priorities, but when it comes time to “hunt and gather,” so to speak, here are a few tips. Use them collectively to make a difference:

  • Don’t go to the grocery store hungry
  • Take a list and have a budget 
  • Use a calculator and add up items as you go along; once you’ve met your budget stop shopping.
  • Clip coupons and shop the local grocery sales.
  • Stock up on buy-one-get-one-free deals
  • Shop for food items that are staples or ingredients you need to create meals and dishes
  • Eliminate spendy snack items and soft drinks
  • Buy in bulk
  • Control eating-out habits
  • Cut your morning latte habit and make coffee at home
  • Local farmers’ markets are often much cheaper venues for fresh produce

 

* Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

** EnergyStar

*** Walmart $4 Prescriptions Program

Comments  

 
# Dan 2011-09-01 09:08
On January of 2011 I was told that my salary per hour would be reduced in more than $10.00 and that they will only gurantee 24 hour per week. That reduction in salary and hours work was apermanent thing. I had to say no because it simply was not enough. Since then I have not been able to find work at all in my field. They provided a compensation of 3500. They said I would not qualify for unemployment because there was a job offer from the company. Since then I have fallen behind in all my credit cards and on my mortgage. Did they lied to me. I was a fool on believing them so i did not file.
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