While faced with unexpected unemployment, I found a few helpful things that helped me save money and lower my monthly bills. Most of them were common sense items and others took a little creativity, but they all cut my bills in half almost overnight. When I do find a job, I plan on keeping these budget saving habits in place.
1. Insurance: I shopped around to make sure I was not only getting all the appropriate discounts, I made sure that my policy profile was updated in a way that it maximized my savings. In my state, car insurance has mandatory minimums, so it pays to shop around for the most affordable policy available. The same thing applies to homeowner’s insurance.
$50 Monthly Savings
2. Utilities: There are four different natural gas vendors to choose from in my area, so I found the one with the best plan reducing my cost by 15 percent per month. To lower the electric bill, I unplugged the computer, printer, coffee maker when not in use and made sure to turn off the lights in rooms when not using them. I also purchased energy efficient light bulbs for all the rooms. To lower the water bill, I no longer take 20 minute showers and instead I focus on getting clean and getting out.
$150 Monthly Savings
3. Food: This was a big one, but it was the most obvious area for me to save. Instead of going out to expensive restaurants, I began bargain shopping at grocery stores with coupons and sales. I also purchased a Costco membership to buy non-perishable items in bulk. Not only do I feel healthier by cooking my own food, I’m saving crazy money.
$400 Monthly Savings
4. Clothing: Instead of buying expensive shoes and fine clothes, which I had become accustomed to, I instead buy only the clothes I need and look for shoes that are on sale.
$300 Monthly Savings
5. Entertainment: Unless there is a movie that is a big screen must see like Ironman or The Avengers, I’m opting to rent from Redbox or just wait until it comes on television. I also reduced my cable bill plan to a cheaper plan without the premium channels. Instead of going to costly bars and nightclubs, I look for places with cheap drinks and no cover charge when I feel a need to get out for fun. There are a lot of cheap ways to have fun like free concerts and free events that people often overlook.
$300 Monthly Savings
6. Fuel Costs: By eliminated the number of times I go out to eat or for entertainment, I lowered my fuel costs significantly. I make sure to better plan where I’m going versus driving around town wastefully. This reduces the number of oil changes on the car, not to mention wear and tear. It helps to find a gas station with cheap gasoline as well.
$200 Monthly Savings