Can you imagine living without a credit card? According to this article on CNN Money, a lot of young Americans are doing the unimaginable. The article quoted a study that reveals as many as 16% of consumers in the age group of 18 to 29 did not have a single credit card by the end of 2012.
Whoa! That’s startling revelation even to me – a lifelong crusader for cutting out credit cards from our life.
The fact that the younger generation is replacing credit cards with debit cards seems to suggest that they’ve learned their lessons well and would much rather live on less with the money they have than spend extravagantly the money they don’t.
It’s a good thing that a credit happy society is moving towards responsible spending. Eliminating credit card is one way to reign in your expenses. The other is to cut corners wherever you can and save on your monthly home budget. Here are some easy, practical and totally doable ways to bring down your monthly expenditure:
Cook your food: If you are like Sheldon Cooper and have a take-out menu for every night of the week, it’s time to dump it for a kitchen apron. It may sound ridiculous, but the amount we spend on take-outs and eating at restaurants over a month easily runs into hundreds of dollars. That’s money you can easily save by cooking hearty, wholesome meals at home. If you have a spouse/partner/room-mate, divide the chores with them. If one of you cooks, the other one can do the cleaning up later.
Cut down on cable: If you can’t think of doing away with your cable completely (don’t be aghast. I can’t either, so I am not even suggesting it), at least try and reduce the number of channels you receive. I can bet anything there are some channels you never watch and others you rarely ever do. Downgrading your package or switch to a provider who offers you a better rate to save money.
Save on electricity: You may be diligently switching off all your gadgets and appliances every night, but they still end up consuming a lot of power if not completely unplugged. It’s called phantom power and to avoid its consumption, make sure all your devices are un-plugged or off when not in use. Inculcate habits like switching off lights, turning off heating/cooling and relying on natural ventilation, buying energy efficient appliances, using the laundry machine and dishwasher only when they’re fully loaded, and washing clothes with cold water. These may be small measures, but can result in big savings!
Save on fuel This is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways of bringing down your monthly expenses. Start by ditching your car for alternate means of transport such as biking or walking. You can also use public transit wherever that option is available. Not only will you save money, but you can make use of the time to read a book, catch up on your emails before you get to work, or just watch the world whiz past you. If you have to use your vehicle to commute, try car pooling with a few others from your community. Carpool moms did not become a fad overnight. Buy cars that are known to be fuel efficient instead of going for gas-guzzlers.
Shop around for insurance: The number of insurance covers an average American has or is supposed to have is mind-boggling. Life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, so on and so forth. Do yourself a favour and compare insurance quotes before buying any type of insurance. The Internet makes it easier than ever to compare insurance rates, so make full use of it. As far as possible, buy as many of your insurance products as possible from the same carrier to avail loyalty discounts. You should also try bundling multiple insurance policies in one package. For example, I have bundled my homeowners’ insurance from The Hartford with my car insurance policy. Most carriers offer discounts for bundling insurance policies and the more policies you are able to add to the bundle, the higher will be your savings.
There’s nothing embarrassing about scaling down your lifestyle or cutting out a few unnecessary expenses from your monthly spend. In fact, it’s quite fashionable to live on a budget these days and if you ask me, it speaks of a person who’s got a firm handle on the present and a keen eye on the future. So, are we ready to implement our home-style austerity drive now?
Author Bio: Elvis Donnelly is a father of two who works from home and lives with his wife. He is a voracious reader and likes to keep abreast of current affairs on personal finance, technology and innovation, and takes a keen interest in environmental issues. In his spare time, he loves taking on home improvement projects and considers himself a closet chef.