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:
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.
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.
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.***
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