The word “debt” usually calls to mind car loans, credit card balances, and mortgages, among other big-ticket financial burdens. Next to those issues, household debt doesn’t seem like a significant worry. The fact that it seems like a mundane concern is precisely why it’s such an insidious problem, though. You can’t get away from household debt if you’re even partly responsible for the home, since it consists of all the everyday things you need. You can soften the blow by changing your buying habits and tweaking the way you spend money.
Pay More Attention to Cost Than to Price
You know how you sometimes buy an item that you kind of need simply because the price is low enough to suggest a great deal? Personal care items, such as razors, and home care items, such as candles and air fresheners, are famous for this. Stores also catch you with BOGO, or buy-one-get-one, deals that aren’t deals at all. You don’t lose a lot of money on individual items when you fall for this tactic, but the cost adds up over time.
Anytime you’re shopping, particularly for items that fall on the expensive side, don’t pay as much attention to the price tag. Look closer. What is the cost per unit of the item you need? Are you saving if you buy more than one? Can you save more if you buy more than two? Smart shopping is all about math, even as you roll your cart along the aisles of the grocery store. The numbers will always tell you if you’re scoring a great price or wasting your precious budget.
Buy It in Bulk
Contrary to the coupon shows, it doesn’t pay to buy everything in bulk. However, non-perishable items that you genuinely use and frequently buy are always worthwhile bulk purchases. It’s still wise to look at the cost per unit of each item, but at the very least, you may save more money by switching to a different brand.
Keep in mind that some bulk stores also offer better prices than others. Of course, you no longer have to spend your money on a membership to a brick-and-mortar wholesale store. Online stores such as Jet, Boxed, and Amazon make it easy to order your bulk items and have them delivered to your home, which can be much more convenient.
The secret to successful bulk buying lies in never purchasing what you don’t need. Stick to non-perishable items, but remember that includes many foods and beverages. Don’t buy anything you only think you might use. Don’t buy something you’ve never tried before, as curiosity has no place in bulk shopping. Don’t forget personal items, either. You can purchase shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, and skin care items in bulk.
Reassess Your Cell Phone Plan
A mobile phone isn’t a luxury like it once was. Now it’s a necessity. However, individual phones and plans are expensive. If there’s more than one phone in your home, the cost can affect your household debt. Is anyone in the home paying for two different cell phone plans? Research the possibility of sharing, such as with a cell phone plan from T-Mobile, which will allow everyone to choose their own phone. Because T-Mobile plans offer such benefits as unlimited data, fast streaming, and a reliable network, you can save money by going bulk on your phone plan, too.
Prune Your Entertainment Budget
Many households pay for cable or satellite TV, including premium movie channels. Yet they also have subscriptions to services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or Instant Video, and others. Do you need all of that? Go over your cable or satellite package. What are you paying for and how much of it do you actually watch? You might have a sports package that you never even use. You might find that you don’t need a package at all and that your streaming subscriptions fulfill your viewing needs.
You don’t have to sacrifice your pleasures, hobbies, or even your favorite foods to cut down on your household budget and save some money each month. You just have to spend your money more thoughtfully. What are your favorite ways to save?