Let me be the first to applaud you for searching out ways on how to drastically cut household expenses. To begin on the right foot, we need to tackle one of the first hurdles, which is for you to become accountable for your finances.
And when money is tight, that’s a tall hurdle to jump.
Yes, I get it – if your checking account is overdrawn and your credit card charges are high, I wouldn’t want to stare at statements either.
However, by NOT knowing your numbers, you will not only continue to take a nosedive in your finances; you’ll likely cliff dive into the rocks.
Spoiler alert: Financial rock bottom will impact more than your bank account. It will also affect personal relationships, work performance, and overall health.
One thing I can assure you of is that despite your situation, whether it’s good or bad – not just bad “I’m mean headache bad just thinking about it,“ you’ll feel better once you have a plan. Plus, you can’t fix or address your issues without knowing them.
Besides, we’re adults now, and knowing exactly how much money we have coming in and out is part of the territory.
Table of Contents
Communicate and Involve Everyone In The Household
Yup, it’s all hands on deck! To make sure everyone stays on track, it’s a good idea to arrange a meeting at least twice a month to keep everything on the up and up.
This will eliminate any surprises from creeping up at the end of the month. Plus, if something seems a bit off, you can deal with it right away.
You’ll come to appreciate that your family unit will become closer and avoid unnecessary feuds regarding money since everyone will be well aware of the family priorities. Lastly, remember these sacrifices will all be worth it in the end and are not forever.
Next, it’s time to review all your current debts, expenses and write them down. The table below can be used as a guide of categories you can include.
Review the last three months to get an average for each category below to get a realistic idea of your spending habits.
|Monthly Expenses||Actual Amount|
Rent, Mortgage, Insurance
Household Utilities, Telephones
Groceries, Entertaining Budget
Car Payment, Insurance, Gasoline
Credit Card Debt (List Each Card)
|Monthly Wages||Other Sources||Total|
Numbers don’t lie, and from the looks of things, you need to reduce your spending, and you need to do it QUICK!
How To Drastically Cut Household Expenses - FOR REAL!!!
Okay, there is absolutely no way to sugarcoat this – This is going to HURT! Like, A LOT.
Stop Eating Out
According to The US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, over a third of our food budgets are being spent on eating-out services.
It has been our experience that we fall into this trap for two main reasons. First, convenience and the second is not having what we are in the mood to eat in our own kitchen.
My suggestion is to splurge (yes – you read that correctly) on a few prepared dinners that you would look forward to eating.
For example, a local Italian food market in the area has freshly prepared meals. We purchase a few of their restaurant-quality meals and keep them in our freezer for days we don’t feel like cooking. I still consider this a frugal purchase because the amount spent is probably 50-70% less than eating out.
Find Ways To Save Money On Food Shopping
Although this method is a bit time consuming, I have come to appreciate it’s the only way to reduce my cost. Nope, it’s not couponing, and yes – I KNOW THAT WORKS, but’s it’s not for me. The reason is coupons are mostly for packaged foods or for food items that are not in our diets.
My solution is to plan out my meals. This prevents us from purchasing extra food that will most likely go bad before we have time to consume it just because it’s on sale.
Review Your Insurance Premiums and Phone Services
This is a BIGGIE, and most years, it’s a HOME RUN!
Most years??? Yup, I’ve gotten into the habit of comparing the rates of our car insurance premiums and phone services every year. Without fail, I usually find a better price than the one I’m currently receiving; however, sometimes the cost-saving does not warrant the hassle of moving companies.
At that point, I generate a phone call to inquire if they could provide me with a discount to continue my services with them. Easy breezy!
Three years ago, we were able to reduce our annual auto insurance policy (with the same coverages) by $395.
Consider Buying Used
At some point or another, all new and shiny things are no longer new anyway. Furthermore, buying used is a sure way to drastically cut your household expenses, and that’s the goal.
To clarify, when I say used items, it means more than just buying items off consignment stores. It also applies to open boxes or refurbished goods from big boxed retailers like Home Depot or Best Buy.
Make Clothing Purchases Off Season
Off seasons purchasing will be you’re best cost savings, but if you can’t resist the urge or need a particular garment for a special occasion, at least get it on sale.
Consider Coloring Your Own Hair
This still blows my mind…
Three years ago, I tried a DIY professional custom hair color, which you could apply at home. The results was my hair color looked so natural it has even fooled many hairdressers while getting my hair trimmed on several occasions. The reactions I received when I mentioned my color cost me about $10 a month is quite entertaining.
At this point, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to color my hair. Sorry…not sorry.
The icing and sprinkles to my cake – I am now an ambassador for this award-winning company. They visited my blog, saw the one photo of myself I had on my about me page, and reached out to me knowing I had been a user of their brand for years.
For my step-by-step instructions, which could be used regardless of your hair color read, Your Ultimate Guide To Perfect DIY Hair Color.
How To Drastically Cut Household Utility Expenses
Run Your Appliances At Night
Naturally, utility fees will be higher when the most power is in use since the power grids are under pressure. Therefore try to resist the urge to run your dishwasher immediately after dinner.
Real Simple says the best time to save energy cost is to do our laundry after 7 p.m or before lunchtime the next day.
Pro Tip: Local energy providers usually list the best times to run appliances on their website.
Wash Your Clothes On Cold
It may not surprise you to learn that washing your clothes in cold water could save you some moolah, but what probably will shock you is it can also extend the life of your clothes.
Actually, how much dough could it save you? Well, ColdWaterSaves.org, states that an estimate of 90% of the energy used during our washing cycles goes towards heating the water.
To further save on your energy bills, consider air-drying some or all of your clothes. If you don’t like the feel of line dried clothes, you could always place your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes to complete the drying process.
I created an editable and printable PDF to keep track of your home maintenance – if interested 😊
Turn The Temperature Down On Your Hot Water Heater
Isn’t it amazing that whenever you need hot water, you simply need to turn on the faucet? Your supply is always READY for use unless a few people in a row took long showers, at which point you may need to play the waiting game for a few moments.
Your water heater works 24/7 heating up water to ensure it’s ready when you need it. Therefore, by choosing a temperature setting, just a few degrees lower can drastically cut your household expenses.
One of our family members that has a household of five was able to cut their utility bill by over $100 a month by using this method. Twelve hundred a year is something to brag about!
Purchase An Adjustable Thermostat
How much can you save by using a programmable or smart thermostat? According to Energy.org, the cost savings can be as much as 10% a year, and that’s only by changing the temperature for eight-hours a day. In other words, you’re saving money while you sleep!
Every degree you lower or raise the temperature during extreme weather can impact your household expenses big time. Further, you can create a schedule that caters to your family’s routine to keep the temperature comfortable only when needed.
Check Your Water Usage and Correct Issues
A few days ago, I received a water bill showing another high usage month. The increase was 30% higher than average and it just didn’t make sense, so I made a few calls.
The water company’s technology has a full record of your usage. Their records are so detailed they can tell you the date and time of when you turn on your outdoor sprinklers or if you had a sudden spike.
Yes, the customer service rep on the phone informed me that my water usage went up on a specific date to the tune of 200 gallons a day. He was also able to tell that we reduced our overall usage; therefore, a leaking toilet was most likely the culprit.
SIDE NOTE: If the seal of your toilet flapper is not sealing, you WILL NOT hear it.
Here is how to tell if the flapper needs to be replaced.
Replace Or Clean Your HVAC Filter Often
Let’s keep this simple – when your filter is dirty, your HVAC system’s airflow is constricted. This means your unit has to work harder to keep your house at the desired temperature setting.
How to drastically cut household expenses is by NOT having to replace them! Make it a point to inspect all your appliances to ensure that they are operating efficiently.
Routine Appliance Maintenance
Air conditioners that can not cool, vacuum cleaners that don’t remove dirt, dryers that don’t dry, and dishwashers that don’t wash can be plagued by the same problem a dirty or clogged filter.
Yep, dishwashers have filters that need to be cleaned as well!
In fact, that is the first thing you should inspect before calling in a handyman. To keep appliances running in tip-top shape , you need to clean or replace filters regularly.
The FASTEST Ways To Drastically Cut Household Expenses
Find A Roommate or Move To A Smaller Home
If you have a spare bedroom, consider renting it out to a friend to help to reduce your living expenses. Of interest, many homeowners have listed their additional bedrooms on AirBNB or similar sites.
While visiting Charleston, South Carolina, we stayed in a guest suite, which was a new addition to the original structure of the home. The homeowner spent an investment of $50,000 to add a guest suite and additional living space for her own use. The addition was to a historical home and had two stories. On her first year, she was able to rent the guest suite (bedroom, bathroom, and closet) for over $35,000.
Become A One Car Family
Easier said than done, but it can be done! When sharing one vehicle, you will need to make sure everyone in your family is on board.
Change The Way You Vacation
No, I’m not crazy – well…that’s debatable. For us, vacation is never off the table! However, when trying to save money, we take a stay-at-home-vacation. You could read all about it here, How To Have A Staycation At Home.
Although at first, the changes may seem overwhelming or an unbearable task, you will find that having a written plan will help give you the roadmap needed to become successful.
If executed correctly, your family might just end up surprising you as you instill in them having a healthy respect for money.
If you were used to spending mealtime at your local restaurant instead of your own table, it might take some time to learn to enjoy dining in. Lastly, when trying to drastically cut your household expenses introducing changes into the family slowly can help them adapt to the new normal.
Lastly, drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company.