Ways & How

How to Lower Your Cost of Living

How to Lower Your Cost of Living

Today’s rising commodity prices and rapidly increasing cost of living can cause a strain on even the most well-to-do salaries. Even if you may still be able to pay the bills and maintain your chosen lifestyle, there are still other financial issues you have to think about, like retirement savings and your kid’s college money. Whatever your financial status, it’s never a bad thing to know how to lower your cost of living and save on expenditures. Put the money you save to better use in an investment or savings account for future use.

  1. Prepare your own meals. Though eating out may be a nice treat every once in a while, dining at restaurants very frequently can easily cut away a chunk of your monthly budget. You may say that each meal is affordable, but all of those dinners out can quickly add up to more than what you intended to spend for food. Buying ingredients from the grocery store, then preparing your own meals at home can have a huge impact on lowering your food costs. If you frequently eat out during lunchtime, you can save more money by preparing your own takeaway lunch from home using easy recipes or last night’s leftovers.

  2. Downsize your cable and phone services. Let’s face it; you don’t really need all of those extra cable channels that you don’t get to watch or that expensive landline connection that you don’t often use since you have your mobile phone anyway. Cut down on such services and only opt for basic cable channels or a cheaper offer. Try to find bundled services to save more.

  3. Pay in cash most of the time. Leave your credit cards at home and carry cash with you. Without your little plastic cards, you will be less tempted to buy things impulsively, especially things that you don’t really need. This also forces you to only spend the money you have. Paying in cash also saves you from paying those sky-high interest rates that card companies take advantage of.

  4. Carpooling might be a good idea. Look for people who go on the same route as you do. Many groups and individuals are very much willing to share driving responsibilities to save on gas and parking fees. Certain cities have programs where you can readily join a carpool group.

  5. Plan your grocery trips. Never go grocery shopping without a list, because this tempts you to be more impulsive and buy more items. Carefully make meal plans first, then list whatever items you need. A good idea is to also plan your meals around produce in season, as these are cheaper to purchase. Consider also purchasing in bulk certain items that you can keep for long periods of time.

  6. Plan your budget and stick to it. Every payday, take time to sit down and allot your salary to certain expenditures. A good idea is to allocate 50 percent of your pay for necessities, such as transportation, food, utility bills and other regular monthly expenditures; 30 percent for certain financial obligations, such as insurance, loans and miscellaneous expenses; and 20 percent for savings, such as an emergency fund or other financial goals. Though the 50-30-20 rule is simply a rough estimation, adjusting your budget to increasing the 20 percent and decreasing other expenses is most ideal.

  7. Refinance your home or car mortgage. You can cut down on interest rates by simply calling several lending institutions and asking around about interest rates. If you find one that offers a payment scheme with a lower interest and better payment terms, refinance your mortgage immediately and use the extra money to progress toward your financial goals.

Move into a more affordable area. You can consider moving into an area that offers a much lower cost of living. Areas farther from major cities can be much cheaper to live in. The steps above are practical ways to keep living expenses down while still being able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Knowing how to lower your cost of living is essential, whether you have a family or not, as it helps you work more aggressively toward your financial goals and have funds ready whenever an emergency may arise.


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