When times are tough, many of us do the usual things to save money. We download coupons, carefully plan trips to save gas, and replace Netflix with Redbox. While these are effective, you’re only scratching the surface. Check out these other creative ways to cut your household budget:
- Don’t buy bulk-club memberships. Instead, wait until the warehouse clubs offer free trial periods and stock up on staples. You can grab enough of the basics to last a while, without paying membership fees.
- Spend more on debt reduction. How are you saving money if you pay more toward your credit cards, mortgage and student loans? One word: interest. The faster you pay off a debt, the less money you’ll funnel toward interest.
- Stop using lines of credit. Don’t use them unless you have no other choice. You don’t have to have a new television or buy an entire wardrobe this week. Only use lines of credit in emergencies.
- Change the way that you treat your climate-control systems. You’re probably already setting the thermostat a bit higher to save money, but do you use the system even on mild days? Open windows and use fans on days when the weather is temperate.
- Think carefully about your loyalty cards and other incentive programs. If, for example, you earn points when you use your debit card, you might be able to use them to save money on other purchases. On the other hand, if you spend money on things that you don’t really need just to earn points, your budget is going to suffer.
You should also talk about saving money with friends and family members. You might learn about upcoming sales and other special deals. Plus, having a network of like-minded people can be good moral support.