Proven Ways to Save Money on Household Expenses

The process of sitting down and creating a household budget can be an enlightening experience. Not only is it one of the few ways to figure out where the heck your money is disappearing to, every month, but it’s a method for identifying expenditures that are wasteful or redundant. Once you’ve created a chart or spreadsheet that itemizes your income, savings, and expenses, you’re in a stronger position to control your household cash flow. Using accounting software, budgeting apps, and/or the services of a qualified financial advisor can also help you gain control over your family’s spending habits.

If your goal is to reduce expenses and stretch your household budget farther, her are a few strategies and tips worth considering:

  1. Buying in bulk: Some people swear by the savings they rack up by joining and doing their shopping at wholesale buying clubs. Others say it isn’t worth the long lines at the checkout counter, crowded parking lots, and the fact that not everything is cheaper than at regular retail stores. Like any kind of shopping, though, it pays to compare prices and research the best deals. However, it’s not unusual to save from 25% to 50% on a variety of commonly used household items, groceries, and other consumer goods.
  2. Coupons” is not a four-letter word — although some people act like it is. Clipping, printing, saving, and organizing discount coupons can be a bit of a nuisance, but when you add up the monthly savings, it’s worth the inconvenience. Stores that offer double coupons and/or accept competitors’ coupons can also help you chalk up extra savings. Taking advantage of advertised specials is yet another way to reduce your monthly expenses.
  3. Compare notes with friends and family. You can often pick up worthwhile money-saving ideas by simply asking people whose opinions you respect. Nearly everyone has discovered stores, products, websites, businesses, and strategies that have helped them save money. Sometimes the topic is also discussed on social media sites. Most people you know would be glad to pass along their money saving tips, insights, and techniques.

Saving Money on Home Energy

There are dozens of ways you can save money on your electric bill, such as unplugging appliances and turning off lights when you’re not using them. It’s also worth noting that LED and compact florescent light bulbs use significantly less electricity than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs. Other tips for curbing energy consumption include washing your clothes in cold water whenever possible and setting your thermostat to reduce energy demands when you’re sleeping or at work. Once you start looking into ways to lower your utility bills, you’d be surprised at the number of simple, yet effective things you can do.

A few longer term strategies for saving on energy include converting your home to solar power, replacing drafty old windows with new, more efficient ones, and switching to Energy Star certified appliances, such as clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Although there’s an initial cost that needs to be recouped before the true savings kick in, upgrading can deliver long-term benefits to both your wallet and the environment.

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Finding Problems with a House You Just Bought

Excitement over buying a new house, especially if the sticker price on the house is good,could cause you to overlook key factors about the property. If you get too emotionally attached to the idea of living in a new house, you could rationalize away water stains that you see on walls. You could also dismiss how cold and damp the basement is or how humid it is in the attic.

High price of rationalizing away house problems

It’s these very defects that can cost you thousands. The trick is that you probably won’t start dealing with issues related to one or more house defects until after you move in. By then, it could be too late. Then, again you may have some safeguards.

Investing in homeowners insurance that covers standard events like fires and theft is just a start. You also want to get insurance that covers events like floods ,earthquakes, mud slides and tornadoes, whichever events generally occur in the area that the house is located in.

  • To protect yourself against house defects, ask the seller to complete a home disclosure form. Depending on the state that the house is located in, this might be required by law. If not, ask the seller to list out any known defects that the house has and to sign and date the form. Work with your attorney or real estate agent to get this document.
  • Check to see if defects that appear after you move into the house were listed on the house inspector’s report. If they were and you missed seeing the defects, you may be responsible for associated repairs. If the defects were not picked up by the inspector, contact your local housing authority. Explain the situation and see if you have legal recourse. You could also work with your attorney on this.
  • Hire your own house inspector before you move into a house. This applies whether it’s a newly constructed house or an older home.
  • Make sure that a house built before 1978 is inspected for lead paint.
  • Get the house inspected for defects such as asbestos, mold and mercury levels before you buy the house. Clearly ask inspectors to check for these items. Also, make sure that the wiring, plumbing and the roof are checked.

Paying for an independent home inspection before you buy a house is a great way to find out specific problems that you could be taking on with a new property before you sign a contract. If you live in a state like California, you can have added protections, as some state regulations require sellers to fill out, sign and date disclosures that list out known defects associated with the house they are selling.

Because you are the one who will be living in the house and maybe paying a mortgage on the property for several years, make it your responsibility to check for problems.Make it your responsibility to ensure that you’re getting the best housing deal possible and not only as it relates to the price of the house.