Billions of dollars are wantonly wasted by households across the globe every year even as one in every seven persons goes hungry. This money could otherwise be utilized to invest in savings schemes, stocks, investments, and pension plans, among others, to secure your personal future.
A lot of us complain about not having sufficient funds to invest while blaming rising inflation and high taxes for this plight. However, introspecting on our household habits will adequately prove that we are main culprits for this avoidable wastage.
There is a difference between saving and cutting costs. Saving occurs when you curb unwanted expenses. Cutting costs generally involve compromising your lifestyle. Therefore, we look at some ways and means to save money on household bills, sans curtailing your existing lifestyle. As a beginner, here are some steps you can take.
1. Stop Food Wastage
A study and report published by Waste and Resources Action Program indicates, British households waste £ 1.3 billion worth food or about 7.3 million tons, every year. This translates as £700 per household. The US ranks close behind with estimated £ 640 per household of food waste annually.
Other countries such as India waste £1.2 billion worth food. These figures clearly indicate that households can save money on household bills by preventing food wastage or at least, curbing it to a negligible level.
Food wastage occurs in several way: Fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products left in the refrigerator, stale food gone rancid, grocery items left partially unused and past their expiry dates and leftovers at restaurants and homes. To save money on household bills, start by reducing and eliminating food waste.
2. Switch Off
Another study reveals that households in the UK waste over £ 1 billion worth electricity every year. This occurs due to leaving electrical appliances and electric lights on when not required. Again, this figure translates at over £600 per household wasted every year in the UK.
However, Americans waste much more electrical power than the UK and rest of the world: Some 20 percent of power generated in the US is wasted by households, according to various sources. Regardless whether you are watching or not, a TV set will consume electricity while a bulb left on in an empty room will guzzle power- and your precious money.
The second best way to save money on household bills is by switching off all lights and electrical appliances while not in use. The other is by using energy efficient bulbs, adjusting settings of your refrigerator to suit load and using cold water in washing machines, when possible.
3. Loyalty Programmes
Major stores offer customer loyalty programs. For example, Tesco has a loyalty program called Tesco Clubcard while Waitrose offers myWaitrose. Similar loyalty programs are available from thousands of retailers small and large across the world. Joining these loyalty programs entitles you to earn points that can be redeemed for discounts while shopping for groceries and other requirements.
4. Online Shopping
Online stores including global giant Amazon allow you to save considerably by giving as much as 10 to 25 percent discount on multitude of daily requirements and food items.
Sites like TopCashback also help you save money by giving you a percentage of an online purchase back. It's free to sign up and use, which makes it a super handy way to stretch your money further, you essentially save money on things you would have bought anyway.
Shopping online also serves to save fuel bills since you are entitled to free doorstep delivery for purchases worth a specific amount. Additionally, you also save during festive seasons, sales and special offers that online stores launch frequently to keep customers engaged.
5. Credit Cards
A secret that credit card issues never disclose is actual interest you end up paying for every amount left unpaid. Credit cards allow you to pay as low as 10 to 20 percent of the billed amount every month. They charge you an interest on the unpaid amount. In the next billing cycle, this interest is also considered as unpaid.
Hence, you end up paying more interest on that added initially. Sometimes, you may end up paying twice over the price of something you have purchased with a credit card. Additionally, credit cards lead to increased spending.
Unsuspecting customers buy stuff they do not need, or is expensive, even when they do not have sufficient cash. Often, such stuff proves useless or gets redundant. Save on your household bills by wiping off all credit card dues. Keep aside your credit card for use in emergencies only and save yourself from a fraud.
Cable TV operators and Direct-to-Home satellite TV providers deftly weave in charges for channels you will seldom watch. They do so by creating ‘packages’ that include popular channels with others. Reduce expenses on entertainment by subscribing to channels that you watch regularly while eliminating those you will never tune into.
These are some proven, workable ways to save money on household bills.
You can also utilize carpools to commute between home and office and while sending kids to study. Those lucky to have a backyard can grow own vegetables to save on buying in markets. It is fun and easy. Saving money on household bills is simple, provided you implement these measures.
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Blog Post by Oval Money guest blogger. Amy is a Freelance writer. Her passion is to write blogs on entrepreneurship, business trends, business management, business leadership, lifestyle, relationship, career, and education.