Reining in your spending at home will give you more money to put toward paying off your debt, saving for long-term goals such as travel or building up your nest egg. One small change in your spending habits can make a huge difference in the amount of money you save. Pay attention to your finances and watch your savings add up.
Be Energy Efficient
The U.S. Department of Energy states that a large portion of the $1,900 per year that the average family spends on energy costs is wasted. Inspect your home for ways that you're losing energy. For example, you could replace old appliances with Energy Star versions, which use less energy. You could also hang thick curtains over your windows, which can help keep heat inside. Modifying the temperature in your home -- down a bit in the winter and up a bit in the summer -- can also make a big difference. Furthermore, your plugged-in electronics use energy even if you're not using them. Plugging them into a power strip that you keep off when not in use will save energy.
Decorating your home can eat into your budget, especially if you just moved into a new home. Check out thrift stores and garage sales before you make new purchases. Remember that a fresh coat of paint or wood stain may breathe new life into an object. Good Housekeeping suggests painting one wall in a room a contrasting color as an inexpensive way to brighten up your space.
Stay in for Fun
The cost of going out for a night on the town, whether you're meeting your friends for drinks at the local bar or going to dinner and a movie with your honey, can easily cost $50 or more. Instead, plan to stay in more often. A membership to a video delivery service instead of going to the theater can save you a lot of money. Stay social by inviting friends to your house for drinks instead. Best of all, it will actually be quiet enough to have a good conversation with them.
Prepare Your Own Meals
Eating out is often significantly more expensive than eating in. You can cut down on your food costs by cooking at home. Not only should you prepare your dinner and breakfast at home, but you can also prepare a lunch to take with you to school or work. Save even more by planning your meals around weekly grocery store sale items and by using coupons when you make purchases.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.