How to save money on everyday necessities
Budgeting means creating a plan to manage your income and expenses. It's an essential tool in helping you achieve financial stability, but it can come with challenges. Sticking to a budget may force people to make difficult decisions. You'll have to decide where to spend money and where to save it for future use.
However, saving money doesn't need to be difficult. There are a variety of ways you can save on everyday expenses, including using smartphones and other connected devices. Technology makes it easy to track spending, find discounts and save money on everyday purchases.
How to save on gas
Rising gas prices can significantly impact your budget. Especially during periods of inflation, gasoline expenses can eat into other necessary items in your budget. For more simple solutions, you can also utilize cost-saving apps. For example, GasBuddy helps you find more affordable gas options in your area. Waze, a popular navigation app, also provides information on real-time gas prices.
Take public transportation when possible
Driving a car isn't the only way to get around. In many city areas, there are a variety of transportation options to help you save money on gas. Although you do have to change your lifestyle to some extent, public transportation is a particularly affordable option — perfect for anyone traveling to a business location for work. Many cities provide buses during the majority of the workday. You can find bus routes, schedules, and rates on the company's website or through a mobile app. Many larger cities also offer transportation by train, subway or light rail. They provide fast, efficient service within urban areas. You can pay your fare with a smart card or through a payment mobile app.
Use smarter navigation to cut transit time
You can also save money on gas by using smart navigation. Many smartphones can provide real-time traffic data that helps reduce travel time. This same information can identify shorter transportation routes that use less gas. These apps provide powerful benefits but often require large amounts of data. They are best used in coordination with an unlimited data plan. Unlimited data allows for a constant GPS connection — identifying efficient driving routes no matter where you are.
Work from home when you can
Working from home (WFH) is a major way to save gas. A WFH setting also helps eliminate a morning commute, giving you more time to prepare for the day. Remote work also helps you save money on car maintenance, parking fees and other transportation-related expenses. No matter your work environment, you can take steps to create a WFH opportunity. Discuss the option with your boss if you work in an office. Explain the WFH arrangement you'd like to begin. Be sure to emphasize how remote work can benefit them as an employer as well.
How to save on groceries
Groceries are a major expense for most households, and it only stands to grow in the coming years. Grocery costs increased 13.5% in a 12-month span, the highest increase since 1979. This makes it even more important to find ways to save on groceries while still purchasing healthy, nutritious food items.
Make a list and stick to it
Sticking to your shopping list is the best way to avoid overspending. Without a shopping list, it's easy to become distracted by sales, special deals or other items that catch your eye. To speed up the grocery list process, you can utilize technology such as a smart speaker to create your grocery list. From there, your smart speaker can automatically add those items. With this convenient feature, you can access your list at any point — from the store or at home — without ever planting a pen on paper.
Keep track of sales
Monitoring sales also helps you save money at the store. Take note of any sales or deals on the products you use. Technology makes it easy to identify and monitor these sales. Many grocery apps automatically notify you when there are deals on the products you regularly purchase. You can also use a browser extension that updates you when your preferred items go on sale. Some browser extensions also work independently, finding you deals on products you didn't know about.
Coupons can be a great way to save money in any purchase situation, but they're particularly substantial in the grocery store. You can utilize them for discounts on everything from produce to clothing. Coupons help you stretch your shopping budget, saving you money on the products you already purchase. There are several different ways to find and use coupons. Some companies will send you coupons in the mail or through email. You can also receive coupons through mobile apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. Loyalty programs may also share coupons with members. These coupons often require a membership number or phone number to access your discounts.
How to save on electricity
Lowering electrical costs is another way to save money. More importantly, when you save electricity, you also help to reduce your overall carbon footprint and slow the effects of climate change. Saving on electricity also helps your home reduce waste and preserve your budget for other costs.
Utilize apps to track and reduce energy consumption
Mobile apps can help you track behaviors to lower energy consumption. These apps often use data tracking and visualization to show you areas where you can save electricity. They help people understand their energy use habits and identify areas for improvement. Here are a few apps that can help you minimize energy consumption:
- Nest Mobile: Works with your home's smart systems to track and lower energy use.
- Energy Tracker: Helps you better understand your meter's readings.
- LightFinder: Helps you identify and purchase eco-friendly bulbs. Test out each app to see which one you'd prefer, as each one has differing features and measures to help you change your electricity usage habits.
Check your home for air leaks
Leaks are often responsible for spikes in your energy bill. Even a small air leak can prevent your thermostat from fully heating or cooling your home. This results in high electricity bills and inconsistent home temperatures. To prevent this, look for cracks or gaps in walls, or between walls and windows. Apply caulk and replace weather stripping where you find damage or deterioration. Use door sweeps at the bottom of doors to prevent air from escaping.
Consider a smart home system
Smart home systems can be an effective way to reduce household energy use. Through technology that automates energy use, smart home devices help you find ways to save money. They also help to reduce your environmental impact and support sustainability. Consider different accessories when creating your smart home system:
- Smart thermostats: Devices that control your home's heating and cooling technologies to optimize the internal temperature.
- Smart power strips: Electrical outlets that turn off your appliances when you aren't using them.
- Solar panel chargers: Portable electronic devices help charge your phone, tablet, computer, or other device using solar energy. These smart home features can help you conserve energy even when you aren't aware of it. They allow you to use an appropriate level of energy and automatically shut off appliances and devices when you aren't actively using them.
How to save on your phone bill
The average monthly phone bill has increased heavily in the past decade. As these prices rise, it's even more important to find ways to save money on your phone bill and preserve your savings. It also helps to reduce financial stress and gives you better control over your budget.
Bundle home and mobile
Combining home and mobile phone plans is one way to save money. Customers who bundle home and mobile services often receive a discount from their provider. This discount typically isn't available when purchasing home and mobile services separately. Bundling home and mobile services simplifies bill payments and help you achieve the best possible phone plan deal. Bundled home and mobile services are usually available for all packages, whether you have a prepaid or unlimited data plan.
Consider a prepaid plan
Switching to a cheaper prepaid plan can also help you save money. You'll pay for critical services without overpaying for the services you don't need. Prepaid plans typically offer lower monthly rates and fewer additional fees. Switching to a prepaid plan doesn't mean sacrificing quality. There are great deals available for a variety of prepaid plans. Customers can compare different plans and providers to find the best deals for their needs and budget.
Bring your own device
You can reduce your phone bill by bringing your own device to a phone plan. This is a cheaper alternative to paying for a new phone when you start a new contract. Many mobile carriers offer discounts for customers who bring their own devices. Some customers bring an old device when starting a new phone plan. In other cases, customers purchase an eligible used device to bring to their phone plan. Supplying your own device is an effective way to enjoy phone service without paying for the latest device.
Plus get a discount when you bundle home internet, TV, and phone, or any combination to create your own package.
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