Moved In and Cash Strapped? 6 Tips to Cut Expenses
Moving into a new home brings with it the promise of a fresh start and new experiences, but it can also bring some financial challenges. Rental or mortgage costs, paying for movers, and new furniture can quickly add up. If you find yourself needing to cut back on spending, it doesn’t have to be painful. These ideas will help you shift from scrimping to saving in no time at all.
Bundle your mobile, Internet, and cable
With a new environment, it might also be time for a new phone carrier. Shop around for a mobile plan that meets your needs without paying for extras you don’t want. You may also be able to find savings by bundling with your Internet and cable service.
• Consider a by-the-gig mobile plan if you use varying amounts of data each month.
• See if you can take your current phone to your new carrier instead of buying a new phone when making the switch.
• Pair up for a family plan with a family member, so you both save.
Spread out decorating expenses
As you’re settling into your new home, you’re probably imagining the perfect living room rug, bedroom paint job, and dining room table. However, if money is tight, it’s time to be practical.
Feel free to dream and pin your perfect décor choices onto your Pinterest boards, but you’ll also want to draw up a budget. Leave plenty of room for the inevitable challenges that will arise, and figure out what you can put toward redecorating each month.
• Make a list of desired updates and prioritize them. Consider which items will have the greatest impact in terms of efficiency, comfort, and mood.
• If your budget allows, set aside money each month for your redecorating plans.
• Purchase and update according to your priorities. Be flexible if something you’re waiting for goes on sale.
Cut back on the pampering
You may have gotten used to having plenty of “fun money” in your previous home. Maybe you got in the habit of sending out for dinner multiple times a week, sipping on fancy lattes, or hitting the spa whenever the mood hit. Take stock of those splurge purchases and taper back — or cut them out entirely. Instead, try some budget-friendly ways to have fun.
• Search out fun new recipes and enjoy cooking in your new kitchen. Engage your partner or a friend and cook together.
• Use candles and music to create a spa-like area in your home where you can relax. Enjoy a bubble bath, a face mask, or a cozy spot for reading.
• Invite friends over for movie night rather than hitting the theater.
Household utilities eat away a large portion of a monthly budget and small changes can add up over time.
• Turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use.
• Use programmable thermostats to adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day.
• Be conscious of your household water usage.
• Look into a free energy audit. It will identify areas of your home you can update or change to save energy and money.
When our budgets aren’t quite as tight, frugal shopping can go out the window. Take the time to focus more on finding ways to save at the cash register.
• Use coupons. This takes some planning but can result in huge savings.
• Stock up during sales. If you have the storage space, grab extra non-perishable items when the costs are low. If you have enough freezer space, you can also stock up on meat and other freezer-friendly items.
• Shop around and seek out good deals. Big-ticket items may be available for less at smaller or online retailers, and your local retailer may be willing to price match to keep your business.
• If you can’t tell the difference, go generic. Generic food items are typically processed in the same plants as name brands. Buying off-label clothing and furniture can also help cut back on costs.
Borrow items you don’t use all the time
While it may seem easier to buy what you need or want, consider borrowing or renting things you will only use once or won’t use often. Not only will you save money, but it will free up your storage space, too.
• Get a library card. Many libraries offer digital content like movies, audiobooks, free music downloads, magazines, and streaming video that can all be accessed online. Check your local library’s calendar for free activities, like book readings, movie nights, craft gatherings, and workshops.
• Your new home may come with new needs, like a carpet steamer, pressure washer, extra-tall ladder, or specific lawn equipment. If you only need these items sporadically, consider borrowing from a friend or renting from your local home improvement store.
There are plenty of ways to save money in your new home without having to sacrifice all your favorite indulgences. Small adjustments to your budget can add up quickly and help you adjust to your new household expenses.