Life is expensive. No matter how much you earn, there are always huge costs you have to spend your money on. Mortgage payments, fuel, groceries, train tickets, and energy bills all add up and take a huge chunk out of each monthly paycheck.
And that’s not even taking into account the unforeseen costs, which always tend to arise at the worst possible time. Your car breaks down and needs a new part or your home floods and you have to get a complete renovation.
Save Money and Reduce the Cost of Big Ticket Purchases
Many people find it hard to cope with these costs and end up taking out loans and getting into debt. In fact, the average American household carries a debt of $137,063, which is almost three times the figure of twenty years ago.
Some of these cases are a result of bad luck and demographic circumstance, but a great many of these cases will stem from poor financial decisions and excessive overspending.
To help you take control of your finances and avoid getting into debt, it is possible to reduce your spending in several key areas. Here are four of the biggest expenses you are likely to face in life, and what you can do to reduce them.
Buying a home
Everyone dreams of one day owning their own home, but for some people, the cost is so great they never achieve it. With house prices rising, young people are finding it harder and harder to get onto the property ladder, choosing to rent their homes rather than putting money into a place of their own.
A home is probably one of the most valuable things you will ever own, but there are ways to reduce the cost. By saving up money for a larger deposit, you will be able to land a mortgage with a more favorable rate.
Although the initial down payment will be larger, you’ll end up paying less in the long run. Different mortgage brokers offer different rates and plans, and it can get quite complicated to calculate APR and work out costs. Getting help from a financial advisor in this area should help you save more money than it costs.
Taking steps to improve your credit score as early as possible will also work in your favor when negotiating a better mortgage. There are many ways to do this, but you can start by resolving all of your debts and spending regularly and carefully on your credit card and paying it off each month.
Owning a car is extremely costly. You not only have the initial expense of the vehicle but also the ongoing expenses of insurance, tax, fuel, maintenance, and repairs. While a home is an asset that will last you a lifetime, a car rapidly depreciates, so spending tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle isn’t always the best idea.
It’s perfectly possible to buy a reliable car for a reasonable rate if you go second hand. This will save you a great deal of money, even if it’s only one or two years old. It can be hard to know if a used car is reliable, so make sure you only buy from a trusted dealer and test drive and inspect it thoroughly before you hand over any money. If you aren’t knowledgeable about cars, take along a friend or family member who can help you ask all the right questions.
Once you own the car, there are several ways to reduce the ongoing costs. How you drive makes a huge difference to how much gas you use up, so try to adopt more fuel-efficient driving techniques to save money. When buying insurance, use a comparison site to find the best deal around. Closely scrutinize the terms and conditions of your contract to avoid any loopholes or hidden charges.
No matter what your financial situation, everyone needs a break now and then. A holiday, either alone or with family, is the best way to relax and wind down from the stresses of work and life. But travel costs a lot of money. You have to pay for airline tickets, hotel rooms, restaurants, and several additional expenses that make it incredibly expensive.
And the larger your family, the harder it will be to afford. Still, you can’t put a price on the fantastic memories, and there are multiple ways to reduce your vacation costs.
Booking as early as possible will often be cheaper than waiting. Alternatively, if you are flexible with the destination, it is possible to find last minute deals on flights and accommodation from providers looking to get rid of unclaimed reservations.
Comparison sites will allow you to compare deals from different providers and make enormous cost savings. If possible, book your vacation out of peak tourist seasons and try to travel midweek to avoid hefty charges.
Even once you’ve paid off your mortgage, you’ll still have the monthly utility bills to look forward to. Water, gas, and electricity bills can rack up, especially during the winter months when your home uses a lot more energy. But by being more efficient with your consumption, you can cut these costs dramatically.
That’s not to say you need to switch off the electricity and light your home by candlelight, but there are steps you can take to reduce your energy usage.
Invest in some energy-efficient light bulbs and switch off appliances at the outlet when not in use. Try to avoid turning on your heating unless absolutely necessary. Stay warm instead by wearing multiple layers, fixing any draughts, and consuming warming drinks and meals.
Keep any appliances like boilers well maintained to ensure they are efficient and work well, and consider contacting your utility company to ask for energy-saving advice.
There are so many other costs in life that will eat up your time and money, but by addressing these four significant ones, you will be making a huge difference to your finances. Be more mindful of where your money is going and be prepared to make compromises, and your quality of life will improve as a result.