The recession, layoffs, extended unemployment, and a number of other economic concerns have left many people these days with the unfortunate task of trying to reduce their budgets in order to simply stay afloat, not to mention scrape together a few bucks for a rainy day.
But the need to tighten the belt is nothing new, even if it happens to be a bit more widespread these days.
And so there are a lot of ways that you can work to reduce your monthly bills and get your spending in check without having to make so many sacrifices that you begin to feel deprived.
Here are just a few tips to help you get on track.
- Consider a roommate. The biggest monthly expense for most people is rent or a mortgage payment. If you simply can’t afford your living space but you’re not too keen on the idea of downsizing, your best option may be to take on a boarder to split the bill (not to mention utilities). You’ll get to stay where you’re at for half the cost (or less if you take in multiple roomies). Ideally, you should get someone you know, but if that isn’t an option, look for a college or foreign exchange students. They’re on the market for low-rent rooms and they’ll likely only be home to study or sleep.
- Give up cable. Okay, this definitely sounds like a sacrifice and a big one. But the truth is that there are a lot less expensive ways to get your entertainment than by paying a cable company for the privilege of receiving their programming. You can get a wide variety of television shows the next day on Hulu for free, and if you want more you can join the Hulu Plus program for about eight bucks a month. And if movies are more your style, opt for Netflix. Their streaming on-demand titles will run you another $8 each month and you can get one DVD rental at a time for an additional $8. This means that you can get all the cinema you want for less than $25 a month, which is probably a significant saving over your current cable bill.
- Host potlucks. If dining out is getting axed from your new budget, you may be losing more than a few nights a week free of cooking; you could be giving up the majority of your socializing. But you can have your cake and eat it, too, for a lot less money by hosting weekly potluck dinners at home. You can invite friends over so that you get the social interaction you crave, and everyone can save by bringing just one dish that will feed many. Plus, you’ll probably end up with some leftovers for later in the week, saving you time on prep and cooking as well money. If your family and friends want to share the wealth, you can rotate the household that gets to host each week.
- Conserve energy and water. Cutting back on your energy usage by unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, turning off lights when you leave a room, and putting on a sweater instead of jacking up the heat is a great idea, as is decreasing water usage by skipping baths in favor of showers, waiting until you have a full load to do laundry and run the dishwasher, and turning off the faucet instead of leaving it running when you brush your teeth. These changes may save you only pennies on the dollar, but it definitely adds up and you’ll do something good for the environment along the way.
- Look for freebies and rebates. There are tons of discounts out there for the person who is looking, from Groupon deals on dining, to free cell phones, to reduced electric bills for households that qualify. So look into these potential price reductions before another month goes by if you want to cut back but still feel like you’re living the high life.
So that’s it!
Now you know how to reduce your bills in a recession.
Any other thing you think should be added?
Share your thoughts.