Are you tired of watching your money disappear faster than it seems to come in? If you have trouble balancing your funds and adding to your savings, you need to take some time out of your busy schedule and learn some basics about budgeting. By making a few changes in your daily life, first a thought, then an action, and finally a habit, you will soon save money without even thinking about it. If you’re ready to budget like a pro, now’s the time to start!
Lower Your Energy Costs
One of the most significant ways to budget like a pro is by cutting energy costs. Unfortunately, it’s one of those expenses that you can’t eliminate, but you can take action to reduce your monthly bill. For starters, the initial step is to call a qualified HVAC repair company to come and do an inspection. The technician will tell you what condition your existing heating and cooling systems are in. If they’re outdated, consider replacing them with something more energy efficient. It’s an investment upfront but will pay you back in lower utility bills over time.
Otherwise, have the contractor complete general furnace and AC maintenance to ensure everything operates optimally.
Next, consider what can be done around your home to make it more energy efficient without significant changes or investments. One thing is getting window tint services to block out the heat coming in from the sun. You pay more to run your air conditioner with the sun coming in freely. If it’s blocked, your bill will go down. If you want to control when the sun can come in and when you want it blocked out, you can install sun and light-blocking curtain panels instead.
Try Alternative Heating Methods
In amongst the stack, one of the most expensive bills you receive each month, or at least during the chillier seasons, is your heating bill. Unfortunately, it seems the price of fuel continues to rise each year, and there’s no relief in sight. However, you can’t live without it, so how can you budget like a pro and lower your heating bill? First, think about trying a different method for heating your home.
One option is a pellet stove that uses biomass pellets or compressed wood to create a heat source in typically residential buildings but sometimes industrial ones as well. Another advantage of pellet stoves is that they’re the cleanest residential heating source, creating minimal air pollution.
Other options for alternative heat sources include a wood-burning stove, fireplace, or electric heaters. You will only save money using these by determining how to operate them with the highest efficiency possible. Some people find that having more than one heating source is the most effective way to save money, but you will have to check out what works for your home.
Buy Reasonably Priced Furniture
It’s no secret that furniture is expensive. So, figuring out how to budget like a pro can get a little stressful and overwhelming when it’s time to buy something new. One option is going to yard sales or checking online swap sites and looking for second-hand items. When people get new furniture, they have to do something with the older stuff, typically selling it at a discounted rate. You may have to give it a good cleaning or make a few minor repairs, but it’s an excellent way to get the furniture you need without paying a fortune.
Another choice is searching your area for discount furniture stores. There are frequently bargain establishments with items like budget mattresses, sofas, and recliners in giant warehouses. These companies buy large quantities of furniture at a time and then can sell it to customers looking for more affordable solutions at a lower price. One thing to keep in mind, these types of stores don’t always offer a delivery service, so you may need to find a way to transport your purchase.
Switch to a Low-Maintenance Yard
Landscaping is one of the most expensive things to take care of around your property. That’s especially true if you have features like bushes and shrubs that need to be trimmed regularly or fountains, ponds, or pools that require maintenance. Regardless if you handle your lawn maintenance yourself or have a company come in and do it, there are costs associated with the upkeep. You want to switch to a lower maintenance yard to budget like a pro. While you probably don’t want to get rid of all the trees, plants, and flowers, you can eliminate anything requiring routine care.
In place of the landscaping you’ve removed, contemplate installing landscape rocks. They’re reasonably priced, and after you have them, you will never have to worry about taking care of them again. The rain will keep them clean enough; other than that, there’s nothing a rock requires to do its job amongst your other landscaping features.
Planting more perennial flowers than annual flowers will help you save money too. Instead of re-purchasing new flowers every year, the previously planted ones will continue returning year after year. Mulch is another cost-effective option for landscaping with a lower upfront investment, and replacement mulch is only required every couple of years.
Sell Stuff You Don’t Need Anymore
Are you someone who tends to collect things you don’t need or use? Sometimes you think it has a sentimental value, or perhaps you think it will be worth more someday. By hoarding all these items, you’re just causing more clutter and chaos, and they’re not doing anything to enhance your life. Start in the closet and remove all the shoes and clothes you don’t wear anymore. One idea is to sell them at a garage sale or yard sale. There are also resale shops available in most big cities that will buy your items for you. Or, plenty of social media outlets allow you to display what you have and see if anyone you know is interested in purchasing the items.
After decluttering your personal items, look around your home at other things you don’t use. For example, take old coins to antique coin dealers. You might have something special in your collection that’s already worth more than having the coin. You can also take bigger ticket items like furniture, appliances, and electronics you don’t use anymore to pawn shops or add them to your garage sale. The money you’ll earn will be nice, as will the extra room and stress reduction from the decluttering process!
Prevent Home Damage Disasters
You know as a homeowner that there are a ton of responsibilities on your shoulders when it comes to taking care of your property. You also understand that when something breaks, it can cost a mini-fortune to fix it, or at least that’s how it feels. So how can you budget like a pro and avoid paying these hefty bills? By preventing home damage disasters before they occur. Prevention is critical, and that means maintenance services.
Most important, perhaps, is your roofing system. You’ll want to hire a residential roofer to look at the structure’s condition at least once a year. During the service, the professionals will look for any damage that needs to be fixed and check for things like leaks or missing shingles. Of course, if you want to save money, you can do the inspection yourself. However, keep in mind that there are risks associated with that method.
Many property owners find it helpful to invest in foundation waterproofing as part of preventative maintenance. It will keep water away from the foundation, which can otherwise cause expensive deterioration. It will also prevent moisture from entering the basement or crawlspace, which can be extremely costly and quite a headache.
Other systems that require routine maintenance include heating and cooling systems. These should also be looked at once a year so the HVAC technician can locate and repair any minor problems before they become more serious. Appliances, including your washer and dryer, fridge, and stove, should also be checked out.
Remove Mold Before You Get Sick
Have you noticed a bit of a mold problem around your property? Mold will typically grow and multiply in dark and damp areas. So, check your basement, crawl space, attic, or other areas where these conditions are present. If you notice mold growth, you should immediately call a mold removal service. How does this help you to budget like a pro? Taking care of the problem at the first sign will ultimately prevent a much bigger issue requiring more extensive cleaning and restoration service. In turn, you can expect to be slapped with a higher bill.
In addition, there’s a risk involved with mold growing in your home, including the potential of you and your family getting sick. Not only is being sick uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it’s also extremely expensive and the exact opposite of saving money. Medical bills are expensive, you can’t get to work, and there may be long-term problems like chronic sinusitis, organ damage, or problems with your respiratory system.
Keep Your Teeth in Good Shape
Preventive dental care is essential if you want to budget like a pro. The best way to save serious cash is by preventing problems before they start. Dental procedures are one of the more expensive medical procedures that you will have to undergo, but if you can stop them from happening in the first place, you could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in care. So how do you do that?
Experts recommend that you go and see a dentist regularly, which means every six months. They will clean your teeth and be able to determine if there are any areas at risk for damage or problems. If you receive regular cleanings, you’re less likely to get cavities. On the other hand, if you already have a hole and ignore it, you might end up with an even more extensive and more expensive procedure like a root canal or having the tooth pulled and replaced.
Dental services are expensive, but if you’re having problems with your teeth, you could miss out on work, and if you’re not going to work, you’re not getting paid at all. Not only is that poor practice for budget, but you could wind up using credit cards to get through, putting you in even more financial trouble.
Address Health Issues Before They Get Worse
Do you have back pain or other health conditions that are ailing you? As part of learning how to budget like a pro, you need to take care of yourself. Like your home, car, or anything else with problems, the longer you let it go, the worse it will get. So, if there’s something wrong with your back, or any part of your body, you want to take care of it immediately. How does paying a potentially massive medical bill help with budgeting? You have to consider the consequences if you don’t handle it.
If the pain gets bad enough, you could find yourself out of work, and then you’re not only in pain but also not making any money. In addition, you could be facing something more severe than what you think on the surface. You could heal up the problem by visiting a chiropractor now, for instance, instead of facing major back surgery later on down the road.
Are these things you’ve considered as ways to save money? Some are no-brainers after you think about it, while others are a little savvier. Start implementing one or more of them into your usual way of doing things, and you will be surprised at how fast your savings will start piling up. Not only are you saving money, but with some of it, you’re making money too! By making these simple changes in your life or taking a few new steps in areas where you never paid much attention, you will soon be able to budget like a pro!