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Flexing The Budget: Small Spending Cutbacks That Go a Long Way

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No one likes to cut back on their spending to save money. At the same time, it’s often necessary for long-term financial stability. Here are small changes you can make today that will help you improve your finances over time without making major lifestyle changes.

Unplug Your Electronics When You’re Not Using Them

When electronics are not in use, you might think that they’re not drawing electricity from the plug. You would be mistaken. They are. Sometimes, it’s a lot. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce showed what various electronics draw just in standby mode. And, this report shows how much you could save by shutting off, and unplugging, various electronics around the house.

For example, a 40” plasma T.V. consumes roughly 3 watts just in standby mode - that’s with the T.V. off, but still plugged in. You’re using about 26.28 watts per year at that rate, on average. Some devices, like a DVR, use more - upwards of 37 watts.

Now, think about how many computers, and other electronics, you have in your home. How much wattage is being wasted on devices you don’t even use?

Wash Everything In Cold Water

A lot of washing machines give you the option of washing in cold water. But, many defaults are set to warm water cycles. Obviously, this uses extra power or fuel. CS Monitor published a report showing that you use, on average, 4.5kWh per load. Depending on what you pay per kWh, you could be paying a lot.

So, for example, if you’re paying 9.37 pence per kWh, and you’re using 4.5 kWh per load of laundry, that’s over 32 pence per load. That might not sound like a lot, but if you have a large family, and do multiple loads per week, it adds up. You could be spending several pounds every month, just in hot water.

Get a Loan

It seems crazy to go into debt to save money, but it’s possible if you’re using that loan to consolidate higher interest loans. Certain types of loans, like Varooma logbook loans let you take out a loan against your vehicle. If you have any equity left in it, or just enough to pay off the existing car loan (or any other loan, you could save a substantial amount of money every month.

Carpool

This one really saves you money - ride with your friends to work. Or, carpool with family when going on long trips. Take public transport. Whatever you do, find ways to not use your own vehicle. Some people get so good at this that they reduce or eliminate insurance from their vehicle and sell it because they no longer use it.

Obviously, if you live out in a more rural area, this won’t work as well as if you live in a major city.

Workout At Home

Going to a gym? Unless you use free weights extensively, you’re probably better off working out at home. It’ll be cheaper, you’ll get the same workout, and you’ll instantly have more money to put away in savings.

If you do lift with free weights, it could be temporarily more expensive to replace what you’re getting at the gym. But, shop used sporting goods stores or do some hunting online for weights people are selling.

Automate Your Savings

This is probably the best way to save money - treat it like another bill. If you don’t have the self-discipline to save money any other way, set up an automatic funds transfer to a savings account that you don’t have access to or that is difficult to get access to.

If you don’t have a savings account, open one up today. Don’t download the bank’s free mobile app, and don’t memorize the online banking password. Make it hard for you to access the account. Don’t get a debit card linked to the account, don’t sign up for automatic sweeps or transfers to a checking account, and write the account number down, put it in a safe deposit box, and forget about it.

Each month, your savings balance will grow and you won’t even realize it’s happening.

Think about it: when you pay your electric or fuel bill, you don’t really pay much attention to it 6 months out. You just get the bill, and pay it. You might grumble about it for a few days, but you forget about it until the next month.

You know you need to use energy, and you have to pay for that energy usage, so what else are you going to do?

Now, think about your savings the same way.

Patrick Martin is a writer interested in business, technology, marketing and sport. He likes to read and write about the latest developments in these subjects amongst others he finds interesting. He prides himself in being able to stay up to date with the latest news and current developments in various areas. Follow Patrick on twitter.

Posted on December 4, 2015.

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