ways to cut costs

 

Sometimes we can overlook ways to cut costs on necessities when we’re trying to be thrifty.

On this Thrifty Thursday post, I’m going to give you some tips on how you can reduce costs on basics like shelter, food, gas and clothing.

1. Housing and utilities

Renting Versus Buying. You may think that owning a home is the best way to go, but in this day and age, that might not be the case. You need to run the numbers, but you might be surprised at how much income renting would free up. When you rent, you automatically save your property taxes, maintenance costs and private mortgage insurance if you have it. Depending on where you rent, (ie a townhouse versus a single family home) you might save money on lawn care and equipment, snow removal and other landscaping costs. Make a list of everything your house is costing you what rental prices are in your area. If you can use that freed up income to pay down debt or invest elsewhere for a better return, owning might not be all its cut out to be! This is what we have done and I can’t recommend it enough. I our situation, we owned a home that was well within our budget. We loved it. However, a great rental opportunity came up and we decided to sell our home and rent. It freed up enough income that I was able to quit my outside job. I love not having to pay property taxes! If the furnace or septic goes, we don’t have to worry about it. We do have more of an area to mow now, we live on a lot of land, but it’s been worth the other savings by far.
We also save on utilities. Most landlords pay at least one utility that you’d otherwise be paying for. A water bill or even trash removal will add to your bottom line. There are times that I wish I could call something my own, but then I remember the Lord owns it all and I can’t take anything with me! We are all renters in a sense, even to the government (just try not paying your property taxes)!

If after you run a cost analysis, it is still better for you to own your home, check and see if you can reduce your utility costs. First see what you can do without. Can you cut cable and just use the internet? Between Netflix, Amazon Prime and their FireTV or RabbitTV, we don’t feel the need for cable. Shop around at least twice a year for better prices on your utilities. Companies offer promotions that you may not be aware of, or if you switch, the first company will often slash costs to get your business back. Take advantage of this! Try it with cell phone providers too. I have always found the costs to be better with a NO CONTRACT plan. ALWAYS. Now, our situation might be different, or maybe you have spotty coverage with certain providers, but it doesn’t hurt to check. We use Virgin Mobile and we have 1500 mins of talk and unlimited texts and data for less than $100 for two lines including all taxes and fees.

2. Food

Whether you like to eat a whole food diet, something like paleo (read more about that here) or are just trying to save some money, Aldi is the best! They consistently have the best prices even without coupons. Which also saves time. Their quality is top notch and I’ve found that I’ve been more creative with my recipes due to their limited selection. Honestly, limited selections of the best staples streamlines my time when making decisions. It simplifies my life and streamlines my errands. They have an extensive list of recipes on their website, so check it out!
Other programs I use to save on groceries:

Ibotta – in fact they are doubling up many cash back rebates now through the end of December!

Checkout51  New Deals Every Thursday, sometimes includes a short list of staples you can pick from based on your own shopping habits!

Snap by Groupon I love that they include a wide variety of produce rebates, which is nearly impossible to get coupons for!

Another way I have saved a TON is by using my Blendtec blender. Did you know you can make almond butter, almond milk, cashew butter, cashew milk, cocoa butter, coconut milk, whole wheat flour, almond flour, flaxseed meal, grind coffee beans, make and heat soup, juice whole vegetables, make powdered confectioners sugar from regular baking sugar….
Ok, I could go on and on, but I make SO many items that I’d normally have to pay an arm and a leg for. Plus, these crush ice like nobody’s business and come with a 7 year warranty!

Save big on Blendtec Factory Recertified Blenders + Free Shipping

3. Gas

#1 Tip – Order online more and drive less!  When you do need to shop in store, try to plan your trips for one day a week and go to the furthest store out and work your way back. Plan your route to consolidate trips as much as possible. Or, if you regularly pass by the grocery store of your choice during another outing, try to make that your shopping day.
Make sure your car is tuned up and tires are properly inflated. Consider trading in your gas guzzler for a gas sipper.
Finally, take full advanced of fuel perks and rewards. Many credit cards have gas reward offers (which makes sense IF AND ONLY IF you pay off your card in full).

I love the Shell Fuel Rewards Network because it’s a no brainer.  You link your mastercard and every time you make a qualifying purchase you get rewards at Shell. You can reduce your cost per gallon by buying things you already need.  Once you sign up, you can refer others for even more savings! Start saving at Shell today!

How about you? What unconventional ways do you like to save on the necessities? I’d love to hear from you and implement some of your ideas!