Wednesday, October 20, 2021

How to save more money as a family

Running your household budget is the first step toward getting into financial shape. If you think it’s easy to come up with all the costs of running a household – including your own health, as the health and well-being of your partner and your family is critical to being financially fit – try doing it on paper instead. Weighing those costs annually takes some action and some figuring out, so begin by searching for

your monthly budget in question-and-answer site Mint. In addition to listing all your current expenses – savings, food, rent, monthly bills, etc. – enter how much you earn in new, monthly income. Then tally up how much you are expected to spend and stick to, using a budgeting app for your tasks. Your household budget may still include your dining out costs, for example, but your overall budget should be maximized by

your favorite neighborhood restaurants – or lower-cost ones if you can find them. Once you come up with your monthly expenses, start adding contributions to all your savings accounts, usually through a separate savings account. For example, you can contribute the same amount, dollar-for-dollar, to a savings account each month. Ideally, you would divide the entire account amount by two, and contribute 20 percent of

that amount each month to each account. The next step is to determine your gross income and then to have an accurate estimate of what you spend each month. Then, add any investment earnings, assuming the total is higher than your overall expenses, to those numbers to come up with your net income, or the amount left over after you have paid out everything you earn. Because it’s not easy to come up with ideas for all

the outstanding items on your budget, it helps to work through them using some general strategies. See if you can use some of the following ideas to see if they might produce some additional savings. Use insurance Insurance has the purpose of covering unplanned medical or financial emergencies, and one of the simplest ways to do that is to use a health insurance policy to cover routine doctor visits, prescriptions

and other services such as x-rays, lab work and certain dentistry procedures. You’ll need to purchase additional coverage on top of what your policy provides, in case you need a more expensive, urgent or emergency treatment. For example, if your policy doesn’t cover erectile dysfunction, you could try to buy a higher deductible and add $50 to the monthly premium. Also, if you haven’t opted in to coverage of

preventive services at no additional cost, you might want to. The use of flexible spending accounts can also help. Pay your credit card bill early Virtually every weekly medical appointment involves a credit card, whether for medication or health screenings. By paying credit card bills at the end of the month, it’s less likely your hospital or clinic will hold you up if your card account is turned into a collection

agency. Once you’ve made extra payments on your credit card for two months in a row, check with your credit card provider to see if you have an option of paying an extra 2 or 3 percent on your entire balance for no additional interest. (Hint: No credit cards come with a zero percent balance transfer offer.) If not, simply adding 3 percent to the regular monthly payment will produce savings. Spend less on breakfast A

lot of people aren’t going to work on a full stomach. So, if you feel you should actually pay for breakfast, then start saving for that meal with a meal-planning spreadsheet, or review the recipes on your local daily newspaper’s website. But if you do eat breakfast, simply decrease the amount you normally spend, no matter what it is. The recipe you choose may be less expensive than many cheaper ingredients, and you

can buy only what you need. Get lower-cost delivery service Many retailers, especially ones you frequent, offer delivery service that delivers to your door within an hour or two of your desired item. The fees vary, but you should spend a little more than the actual price of your item. The daily deals at certain retailers often offer free delivery for a purchase of $50 or more, or they may have competitive prices for

additional items. Of course, you can do it yourself, too. Just use your smartphone to take a picture of the item, then write down your prices when you go online.

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