In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to prepare for your financial future.
And one of the easiest ways to add to your nest-egg is to simply cut expenses and save more of your hard earned money.
We often forget some of the golden rules to saving that our parents taught us. Here’s a quick list of things you can do to save on bills in 2020. No matter your circumstance, there’s something here that everyone can use like cutting down your mortgage bill, save on utilities, get more for your money at the grocery store, and even get samples of popular products.
1. For Pete’s Sake, Quit Smoking
This might make some people upset to hear, but it’s time to quit smoking. Not only is it hazardous to your health, but it’s costing you and your family a fortune. Smoking one pack per day costs over $2,000 per year!
There are plenty of techniques to quit smoking, but it all comes down to your dedication to cut the habit. Come up with a plan and have family and friends keep you accountable!
2. Install CFLs or LED Lights Where You Can
New lighting technology has really come a long ways. Now although they do cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, CFL and LED bulbs can last for years without having to replace them. You don’t even need to replace every bulb in the house at once. Even swapping just your four or five most-used light bulbs can save you $45 or more a year!
CFL vs. LED
CFLs, which use a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last for years, are the next cheapest option after traditional bulbs. But they also have some drawbacks: They take a while to warm up to full brightness, and they also contain a small amount of mercury.
Meanwhile, LEDs are more expensive. However, they’re getting cheaper all the time, and they are easily the best lighting option available: They light up instantly, are efficient as CFLs, produce a warm glow without getting hot to the touch, and can last for decades.
3. Cancel Unused Subscriptions
It’s easier than ever to rack up monthly subscription bills since many products and services nowadays offer monthly plans. But the problem with those is that you sign up and forget. Or you get “cancel remorse” and keep subscriptions that you really don’t use.
Go through your bank and credit card statements and review your subscriptions immediately!
4. Make A Grocery List
You ever go to the grocery store when you’re hungry and find yourself checking out with way more than you intended? We call this “Hunger Shopping” and it’s quite dangerous to your wallet!
Before going to get groceries, make a list of groceries that you need for the upcoming week. That way, you only buy what you’re intending to use and the amount that will get thrown away from being expired is kept to a minimal.
5. Buy in Bulk
One of the easiest things you can do to instantly start saving money is to buy in bulk! Retailers often give a MUCH better deal on products such as paper towel, toilet paper, detergent, etc if you buy in bulk.
This might seem like an obvious one, but we often forget how much money we waste by not buying in bulk.
6. Use This Debt Payoff Plan
Here’s what credit card companies don’t want you to know…and what thousands of consumers are quickly learning about paying off their debt:
If you owe more than $15,000 in credit card debt, this proven debt relief program may reduce the amount you owe. Consumers could resolve their debts with absolutely no loan required and pay it off at a rapid pace. If you’ve struggled to pay your credit card debt, act now before your debt balloons further.
7. Take Full Advantage Of These Tax Deductions
Owning a home can be very lucrative. Seriously, owning a home can not only give you a cheaper monthly payment than renting but in many cases, the tax benefits make the decision a no-brainer.
Here are a few of the larger deductions that you need to be sure to take:
Interest you pay on your mortgage: If you own a home and don’t have a mortgage greater than $750,000, you can deduct the interest you pay on the loan. This is one of the biggest benefits to owning a home versus renting–as you could get massive deductions at tax time. The limit used to be $1 million, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) reduced the limit and made some clarifications on deducting interest from a home equity line of credit.
Property taxes: Another awesome benefit to owning a home is the ability to deduct your property taxes. Before TCJA, the rules were a little more flexible and you were able to deduct the entirety of your property taxes. Now things have a changed a bit. Under the new law, you can deduct up to $10,000. The deduction for state and local income taxes was combined with the deduction for state and local property taxes, too.
Tax incentives for energy-efficient upgrades: While most of the tax incentives for making energy-efficient upgrades to your home have gone away, there are still a couple worth noting. You can still claim tax deductions on solar energy–both for electric and water heating equipment, through 2021. The longer you wait, though, the less money you’ll get back. Here’s the percentage of equipment you can deduct, based on time of installation:
Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2019 – 30% of the expenditures are eligible for the credit
Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020 – 26%
Between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021 – 22%
8. Eat Out With These Top Restaurant Deals
Eating out often can be expensive. But going out to eat for a date night every now and then is totally fine and can be done on the cheap if you choose your restaurants wisely!
Consider these special deals when picking where to go:
Chili’s Three for Me $10 Meals
Choose an appetizer, entree AND desert for just $10
Outback Steakhouse’s Walkabout Wednesdays for $9.99
Choose steak or chicken with fries AND a drink for just $9.99
Applebee’s 2 for $20
Choose between two salads (or one appetizer) as well as two main meals with sides for just $20
Olive Garden’s Unlimited Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks
Choose between ANY entree at Olive Garden and get unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks. Or you could just do the $6.99 option of unlimited Soup/Salad and Breadsticks.
9. Want a Patio? Consider Concrete Over Pavers
Building a patio can add great value to your home, as well as creating enjoyable outdoor living space for you and your family. But patios can come at a great cost.
When we decided to add a patio to our home, we looked at the different surface options carefully. Although many landscapers would recommend pavers over concrete because of their durability over time, we decided that the cost savings was more important to us. We personally love the clean look of concrete as well.
Now one thing to remember with concrete is that it WILL crack eventually. But if you have a good concrete crew, it should be prepped right where the cracks are minimal. So we expect to see cracks, but are hopeful that it will be minimal.
Here’s an easy money-saving tip: Grill in the summertime! When you use your stove or oven to cook, it creates a lot of heat. And in the summertime, it can make your air conditioner work extra hard. If you’re not much of a griller, consider cooking meals in a crockpot.
11. Childproof Your Outlets Even If You Don’t Have Kids
If you have an older home, the exterior walls may be poorly insulated. And when you have poorly insulated walls, the holes that your outlets are in can be areas where the outside cold/heat can enter your home.
A simple solution to this is to install child-proof outlet plugs in any unused outlet on an exterior wall. This will close the gaps and reduce the amount of air that can leak through.
12. Give Your Air Conditioner Some Space
Just like we need to breathe, your air conditioner needs space where it’s getting air easily. Many AC units are surrounded by shrubs that can restrict the airflow it needs to run efficiently. Take a few minutes this weekend and do the following:
Trim up any bushes that are are touching the unit so there is at least 1 foot of clearance
Clean up the ground for any loose debris or leaves
If the outside of the unit has a lot of debris clogging it up, consider having a professional service and clean it out
13. Quit Buying Expensive Coffee
Yes, we all love a tasty Starbucks latte every now and then. But buying coffee from your favorite barista everyday adds up quick!
Let’s do the math… $5 per latte 5 days a week is $25 a week. That’s $100 per month just for coffee!
If you brew your own coffee at home, the cost is around 30 cents a cup. Now if you’re all about convenience, consider a Keurig Coffeemaker. The cost per cup will go up to around 60 cents but it’s still MUCH cheaper than buying from a coffee shop and is super convenient.
14. New Auto Insurance Policy
Here’s what auto insurance companies don’t want you to know…and what thousands of consumers are quickly learning about their current auto insurance plan:
If you’re paying more than $63 per month for auto insurance, this auto insurance comparison tool can help you check to see if you’re overpaying in a few minutes. This is something every driver should be doing every 6 months or so to ensure that they are getting the best deal.
Insurance companies are always competing to win your business, but if you turn a blind eye and keep the same policy in place for a long period of time, your rates might have increased. By checking rates, drivers saved an average of $531 per year with a new policy.
So do yourself a favor and do a quick comparison by filling out a short form (about 4 minutes). This is a fast way you can start saving on your auto bills.
15. Veterans Get a Massive Discount at Lowes
All active military and veterans are entitled to get a 10% discount on all in-store purchases at Lowe’s.
To make it even better, Lowe’s extends this offer to their spouses! Need new tools? How about new appliances? Lowe’s carries a variety of things, so take advantage of this incredible discount!
16. Born Before 1986? Get $3,264/year Off Your Mortgage With The Lucrative Government Sponsored “HiRO” Program
Banks Don’t Want Homeowners Knowing This
Still unknown to many is a brilliant Government sponsored program called the High LTV Refinance Option (HiRO) that could benefit millions of Americans and reduce their payments by as much as $3,264 per year! You could bet the banks aren’t too thrilled about losing all that profit and might secretly hope homeowners don’t find out before the rules change.
So while the banks happily wait for this program to end, experts are making a nationwide push and urging homeowners to take advantage. This program is currently active as of 2020, but the rules could change soon. But the good news is that once you’re in, you’re in. If lowering your payments, paying off your mortgage faster, and even taking some cash out would help you, it’s vital you act now and see if you could qualify for HiRO or a better rate in today’s marketplace.