Simple Ways to Drastically Reduce the Cost of Living In Your Home


How can I make life a little more affordable? It’s the question people ask more often than any other question imaginable, with the exception of why do I only want Chick-Fil-A on Sundays? The cost of living is high, and it’s often a wonder to me that people can live at all these days. I recently overheard a conversation between other parents on a school field trip. One of the fathers was very excited because he just earned a raise and is now making significantly more than he was before. I thought to myself, “Well, that’s nice! He should be proud of himself!” just as he told the other dad with him that he’s now making $12.50 per hour. Per hour.

My husband and I exchanged incredulous glances at this revelation. That’s not much money for the primary breadwinner to bring home to a family of five. In fact, if he works 40 hours per week, he’s bringing home only $500 per week before taxes. All in all, that’s $2,000 per month before he has any taxes, insurance, retirement, social security, etc. taken out of his paycheck. Even if he received all of that money, it’s next to nothing. I mean, our electric bill is $400 per month alone, so I don’t know how he can afford to pay for anything else for his family.

I found myself sad for him and his kids, and I found myself wondering what he and his family must do to make ends meet. If I had to venture a guess, I’d assume that they are very careful with their money in terms of being very frugal. I imagine their mortgage must be very low, their debt very low and their cost of living must be next to nothing. That’s when my husband pointed out to me that many people are very good at cutting the cost of living in their own homes, and that there is always a way to make life a bit more affordable. So, I thought I’d find some of those for you and share.

Put some time into it

One of the best ways to minimize the cost of living is to effectively put some time into it. Those who are able to spend less at the supermarket and less on life in general really do have to put aside a few hours every week to make it possible. This includes shopping for sale items, looking at sales, clipping coupons, comprising lists to take with you to the store and really looking for good deals. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Those who do this find that saving a few hundred dollars each month is absolutely possible.

Compare insurance prices

One of the ways that you can save some serious money every month is to run a comparison on the price of insurance. Auto, life, health, and any other insurance you pay for could be significantly less expensive elsewhere if you take the time to shop around. You might find that you do already have the lowest rate, but you should shop around every six months or so to find out if you what you are paying is too much or if there is a way to save.

Most of us just pay for our insurance from the day we open our policy and we never bother to look again. It’s automatically renewed and we continue to pay for it even though it might be more than we should pay. Take the time to look around.

Shop discount stores

This is something I’ve done a few times by accident. We are obsessed with Starbucks coffee – blonde roast – and it’s all that we will stick in our Keurig at home. We always buy it at Publix when a box with 10 K-cups is on sale for $6.99 per box (usually $9.99 per box) and Publix always has a digital coupon for $2 off the purchase of two or more Starbucks K-cup purchases. It’s nice. However, I’ve found that buying them at Walmart means I can spend $11.98 per box and get 16 K-cups. It’s $2 more, but it’s 6 more cups of coffee. By accident one day, however, I found that TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory sometimes carry Starbucks K-cups for about $4 per box! It’s not always so, but I always buy them all when I see them there.

Call your companies

Do you pay for cable or cell phone service? If you do, call them and ask them if they’d be willing to lower your payments or if you can cancel your service and go with another company that is offering lower rates. You never know what they might say, and chances are that they don’t want to lose your valued patronage, so they are probably going to be amenable to your requests.

Set a food budget

Instead of planning what you are going to eat at each meal and then shopping for those items, plan what you are going to spend on each meal and then go shopping. That means you might decide you want to spend less than $7 per meal each day for the entire week. This means finding meals that use a lot of the same bulk ingredients, less expensive ingredients and things you already have around the house. It helps you to save money and really put your cost of living to the test as far as savings are concerned.

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