Avoid unnecessary expenditure.
Do not buy things you do not need. Whenever you are confronted with the shopping question “Do I need it?” think 5 to 10 times before making a decision. Also, buy only the amount of food you can consume. Did you know that in the US, 33 million tons of food waste was thrown away in landfills and incinerators in 2010? According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, food waste forms the single largest component, 34%, of municipal solid waste discarded. In Canada, the residents of Toronto throw away 17.5 million kilograms of food every month, according to the World Vision Canada.
To avoid wasting food, cook just the right serving for your household. Avoid having leftovers. If you have kids, plan the menu with them to make sure they approve most of it. This ensures that you will be spending only on food items that will be consumed. Do not stock fruits and vegetables, they can get spoiled easily.
Buy in bulk.
Buy items that you consume or use most frequently in bulk. These are the things that have long shelf life. Alcohol, cereal, dried beans and pasta, toilet paper and paper towels, office supplies, toothbrushes, other non-perishable food, multivitamins, and diapers. Make sure that you need them and have enough spaces for storage.
Clean and fix to save.
Clean air-conditioning units and other appliances to make sure they are working efficiently and not using too much energy. Your appliances will use up more power to function if there is dirt on them. Likewise, arrange for a technician to check all your appliances to make sure there are no leakages that can cause these to use up more energy than usual.
Work when the sun is up.
Use natural light. Rise as early as you can; finish your work on the day, when the sun is up to minimize using artificial lights for extended hours at night. Do not leave the lights on when you are not using them.
Take advantage of energy-saving appliances.
Make your own research on what energy-saving lighting systems, air-conditioner, and other appliances are available. It may take a little of your time but choose those that are worth the switch because you will shell out some money. Make sure that the benefits will be long-term.
Watch movies together.
If you can, avoid having TV sets for each room. Assign a common room for your entertainment system. Watch movies together as a family. It is not only practical but a great way to bond and spend some time with each other.
Schedule an annual garage sale.
Make money out of the things you no longer need. Encourage your kids to participate in this activity. It can become an eye-opener for everyone not to spend on things that eventually go to the garage sale.
Unplug all appliances not in use. This is a very basic step into saving on your electric bill.
Do it yourself.
Avoid take-outs if you can help it. If you are living alone, buying food for yourself in just the right serving is more practical. For families, you can dine out on very special occasions but otherwise, it is smarter to cook your own food. Also, if you have not tried fixing things around the house yet, you may want to start to learn doing so. This will help you save a lot.
Know by heart the basics of savings at home. You have to take note that these small things do not add up unless they are done in a sustained, regular kind of way. Discipline is the key. It is a crucial part in keeping your finances healthy for no one knows for sure when the next crisis will strike again.