Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cutting Costs On Home Expenses

With the Great Recession rounding the corner on another year, nearly everyone is now looking for ways to tighten the belt. Even those who have managed to hang onto their jobs are probably feeling the effects of the poor economy, and anyone who has suffered a layoff certainly can’t afford to spend money like they did a few short years ago. And of course, one of the most effective ways to reduce your budget and spend less is to cut back on your monthly bills. In other words, you need to sift through your home expenses to find ways that you can slash costs in order to come out even (or ahead, for a change). Here are just a few ways you can get started with saving and put yourself on track for less expense when it comes to home costs.

Refinance and consolidate debt. With interest rates remaining low, now is a great time to refinance if you can manage it (although many banks are reticent to do so). If you can roll other debt into your 30-year fixed home loan, so much the better. Just about any current debt, from car loans to credit cards, can be greatly reduced through consolidation and refinancing. The best part is, you’ll not only cut back on what you pay in the long run, but you can probably decrease your monthly payments, as well.

Sub Hulu for cable. Forget about paying $100 a month for a thousand channels only to find that there’s never anything on. Instead, pay $20-30 for a DSL or cable modem connection, plus eight bucks a month for the Hulu plus package online (more TV shows than you can shake a stick at). You could even throw in a basic Netflix account and still save about half over your cable bill. Home entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to look.

Conserve. Water and electricity are two utilities that you can really save on through conservation practices. Turn off lights when you leave the house, install energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, wear a sweater in the winter to keep the temperature lower, set the thermostat on a timer, and think about getting low-flow toilets. All of these things can save you a lot on your utility bills in the long run, drastically cutting the costs of supporting a household (and some of them come with rebates or tax breaks attached).

Recycle. Okay, this isn’t actually a way to cut costs, per se. But instead of sending bottles and cans to the landfill, where they will only take up space until the apocalypse, why not use them to bolster your bottom line? By taking these items to the recycling center, you could actually earn some cash on what could have been trash. And that’s nothing to sniff at when you’re trying to create a workable budget and cut spending.

Host potlucks
. The cost of food can get pretty high, but by hosting a weekly potluck you are only responsible for a portion of the meal, which means you could end up with a whole lot of food and a variety of leftovers at minimal cost.

Kyle Simpson writes for PO Factoring. With purchase order financing you can grow your business and pave the way for more.
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