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10 Ways to Get Your Household Budget Expenses Down in 2014

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It’s the New Year – which represents the perfect time to start rearranging your priorities and making new ones. One of the most common resolutions for the average person involves making changes around the house. It’s always a nice idea to keep expenses down, and many people often marvel at just how effective some ideas are.

Here’s a starter list of some things you can consider doing to help your household budgeting in 2014:

1. Outstanding Debt
Outstanding debt is one of the most common problems you face when trying to restructure your expenditures. It may be a good idea to consolidate your loans; it’s often a good idea to contact your lender regarding your student loans (or other loans) and secure a longer repayment term, which will lower your monthly payments.

2. Coupon Clipping
This tactic is older than apple pie, and mothers and fathers have been coupon clipping to save money since it became a major feature of grocery stores. The numbers of different kinds of coupons out there today is astounding; you can get them for nearly every service. When budgeting, keep a special bag for all your coupons – you never know when one might come in handy.

3. Bicycle When Possible
Figure out money spent on transportation. If you’re used to driving your car around everywhere, this might be a good time to think about bicycling to the neighborhood gym or store, instead of driving. You spend less on both gas and vehicle maintenance over time.

4. Energy Management
If you make sure to turn the lights off whenever you’re not using a room and consider using line-drying on hot days, you’ll notice a significant drop in the utility bill. Little things like washing dishes with cold water also chip in – these things add up when done in quantity.

5. Consolidate
Consider consolidating your cable, phone and internet into a single package and payment – most deals add significant savings over paying for each separately. It’s a competitive industry, and this fact tends to benefit the consumer – so shop around and forego packages with channels you never watch, or bandwidth you never use.

6. Reduce Services
In fact, while you’re bundling your electronic services together, analyze the ones you’re actually paying for now that you don’t use, or use sparingly. Do you really need unlimited text messages on your mobile phone, for example, if you rarely send more than 30 per month? How about Caller ID? Tank these services if you don’t use them.

7. Manage Credit Cards
Put your high-interest credit cards on the back-burner, out of reach. If you can transfer any balances for more favorable interest rates, then do so, but restrict yourself from using the ones nearing their credit limits until you can pay them down.

8. Dine In More
Another household budgeting option that works for many people is dining in. Even some of the cheapest food in restaurants costs you three times less to make at home, even when you consider that time is money. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional elaborate meal out on the town, of course, but a single night out often costs more than several credit card payments. It’s something to keep in mind.

9. Emergency Fund
Each month, set aside some money for future emergencies. In a sense, this is like making your own personal insurance account – in addition to your official insurance plan, if you have one. Hopefully, you don’t have any emergencies early on; then, this account will have a chance to grow and take care of unforeseen events.

10. Bank Account for Bills
And lastly, consider having two separate bank accounts for paying off bills. It’s a general rule that the better you can catalogue expenses, the better able you are to manage them. It also makes it much easier to divvy up your paycheck into precisely what you know you can comfortably spend each week.

If this whole process seems a bit daunting, you can soften the first step by making a monthly expense plan, calculating what you spend now versus what you’d like to spend. Like many things that seem difficult at the outset, success with household budgeting begins with a small step – you’ll appreciate the impact of the savings in the months to come.

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