Living on a budget is the key to financial freedom, but getting started can be frustrating. When we look at our expenses and see all of those bills we’re paying every month, it’s easy to throw our hands up in disgust. But what about all those little expenses we incur? You might be surprised to find out just how much they amount to.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on little things. A few dollars a month won’t make a significant difference in the big picture and you won’t be able to retire on those small savings. But a few dollars here and a few dollars there will add up each month. When you cut back in a lot of small ways, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month than you used to.
Waste Not, Want Not
One thing we can do that is good for the budget is stop wasting so much. This can apply to many areas in our lives. From eating to home heating, waste equals money going down the drain unnecessarily.
Cooking for the family instead of eating takeout or dining out is a great way to save money. But if you’re throwing food out, the benefit is reduced. So if you have leftovers, don’t let them end up in the trash. Some dishes freeze well, and this makes for easy dinners when you don’t have time to cook. You could also eat dinner leftovers for lunch the following day.
If your home is not well insulated, you’re probably wasting lots of money on home heating and cooling. Insulating will cost some money up front, but it will pay for itself quickly. If you have drafts around windows and doors, weather stripping can help maintain the temperature of your home.
I’ve lived in some drafty and cold apartments and houses through the years and one thing that really helped was putting plastic on my windows. It kept out a lot of cold air and kept in a lot of the heat. It was a win-win for me and my purse each month.
Most households waste an unbelievable amount of electricity. This can be prevented in part by using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you’re not using them, and open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s light during the day so you don’t even have to turn your lights on until later in the day. Continue reading