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These days, it seems like everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs and stretch their income further. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household expenses without making radical changes to your standard of living. When combined, these small adjustments can add up to significant savings each month.

Here are 20 things you can start doing today to lower your bills, secure better deals, and begin working toward your financial goals.

  1. Refinance Your Mortgage – For prime borrowers, mortgage rates are at or near historic lows. Depending on your current mortgage rate and the terms you choose, refinancing could save you a sizable amount on your monthly payments. There are fees and closing costs associated with refinancing, so you’ll need to talk to your lender to find out if refinancing is a good option for you.  We just refinanced our home and saved a significant amount monthly by reducing our interest rate by 1%.
  2. Evaluate Your Insurance Policies – If it’s been a while since you priced home or auto insurance, it may be worthwhile to do some comparison shopping. Get quotes from at least three insurers or independent agents. Try bundling your policies to see if there’s a discount. And inquire about raising your deductible, which should lower your premium.1
  3. Bundle Cable, Phone, and Internet – You can also save money by bundling your cable, phone, and internet services together. Shop around to see who is willing to give you the best deal. If switching is too much of a hassle, ask your current provider to match or beat their competitor’s offer.
  4. Better Yet, Cut the Cord on Cable – In many cases, you can save even more if you cancel your cable subscription altogether. An antenna should give you access to the major stations, and many of your favorite shows are probably available on-demand through a less expensive streaming service subscription.
  5. Revisit Your Wireless Plan – You can often save by switching from a big brand to an independent, low-cost carrier. If that’s not feasible, ask your current provider for a better deal or consider downgrading to a cheaper plan.
  6. Adjust Your Thermostat – Turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees can have a noticeable impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs. To maximize efficiency, change your filters regularly, and make sure your windows and doors are well insulated.  Or consider a “smart thermostat.  We have experienced reduced monthly utility costs as a result of an Ecobee with sensors in the bedrooms.  There are several brands available.
  7. Use Less Hot Water – After heating and cooling, hot water accounts for the second largest energy expense in most homes.2 To cut back, repair any leaks or dripping faucets, install low-flow fixtures, only run your dishwasher when full, and wash clothes in cold water when possible.
  8. Lower Overall Water Consumption – To decrease your water usage, take shorter showers, and turn off the sink while you brush your teeth and wash your hands. If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, retrofit your current one with a toilet tank bank or fill cycle diverter.  If you have a lawn, irrigate in the morning or evening to minimize evaporation.3
  9. Conserve Electricity – Save electricity by shutting off your computer at night and installing energy-efficient LED light bulbs. You can minimize standby or “vampire” power drain by utilizing power strips and unplugging idle appliances.4
  10. Purchase a Home Warranty – While there is an upfront cost, a home warranty can provide some protection and peace of mind when it comes to unexpected home repair costs. Most plans provide coverage for major systems (like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) and appliances (such as your dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator).
  11. Outsource Less – From lawn care to grocery shopping to minor home repairs, we pay people to do a lot of things our parents and grandparents did themselves. To save money, try cutting back on the frequency of these services or taking some of them on yourself.
  12. Prepare Your Own Meals – It costs nearly five times more to have a meal delivered than it does to cook it at home.5 And home cooking doesn’t just save money; it’s healthier, cuts down on calorie consumption, and can offer a fun activity for families to do together.
  13. Plan Your Menu in Advance – Meal planning is deciding before you shop what you and your family will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can help you lower your overall food bill, eliminate waste, and minimize impulse purchases. When possible, buy produce that is in season, and watch for store specials on protein options.  Sometimes buying in bulk and freezing can result in significant savings.
  14. Plant a Garden – You can save even more on produce by growing it yourself. If you have space in your yard, start-up costs are relatively minimal. Gardening can be a rewarding and enjoyable (not to mention delicious) hobby for the whole family. And it could save you around $600 per year at the grocery store!6. Our garden is one of the few things I miss from living in the big city.
  15. Review Memberships and Subscriptions – Are you paying for services and subscriptions you no longer need, want, or can utilize? Determine if there are any that you should suspend or cancel.  I’m embarrassed to say I found almost $100/month in monthly subscriptions we no longer use.
  16. Give Homemade Gifts – Who wouldn’t appreciate a scratch birthday cake or tin of cookies? And if you enjoy crafting, Pinterest and Instagram are full of inspiring ideas. Show your recipient how much you care with a homemade gift from the heart.  Considering making home-made cards instead of store bought.
  17. Minimize Your Debt Payments – The best way to reduce a debt payment is to pay down the balance. But if that’s not an option right now, try to negotiate a better interest rate. If you have a good credit score, you may be able to qualify for a balance transfer to a 0% or low-interest rate credit card. Keep in mind, the rate may expire after a certain period—so be sure to read the fine print.
  18. Get a Cash-back Credit Card – If you regularly pay your credit card balance in full, a cash-back credit card can be a good way to earn a little money back each month. However, they often come with high-interest rates and fees if you carry a balance. Commit to only using it for purchases you can afford.
  19. Ask for Deals and Discounts – It may feel awkward at first, but becoming a master haggler can save you a lot of money. Many companies are willing to negotiate under the right circumstances. Always inquire about special promotions or incentives. See if they are able to price match (or beat) their competitors. And if an item is slightly defective or nearing its expiration date, ask for a discount.  I am always looking for a deal and have found www.retailmenot.com to have great coupons and love Rakuten for cashback (let me know if you want a link to sign up and I earn a bonus!).
  20. Track Your Household Budget – One of the most effective ways to reduce household expenses is to set a budget—and stick to it. A budget can help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. By setting reasonable limits, you’ll be able to reach your financial goal.  Let me know if you would like a DOWNLOADABLE Household Budget worksheet.

I’M HERE TO HELP

I would love to help you meet your financial goals. Whether you want to refinance your mortgage, save up for a down payment, or simply find lower-cost alternatives for home repairs, maintenance, or utilities, we are happy to provide our insights and referrals (I have a network of great service providers). And if you have plans to buy or sell a home this year, we can discuss the steps you should be taking to financially prepare. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. Insurance Information Institute –
    https://www.iii.org/article/twelve-ways-to-lower-your-homeowners-insurance-costs
  2. Department of Energy –
    https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/water-heating/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings
  3. Money Crashers –
    https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-conserve-water/
  4. Harvard University –
    https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/poster/top-5-steps-reduce-your-energy-consumption
  5. Forbes –
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/priceonomics/2018/07/10/heres-how-much-money-do-you-save-by-cooking-at-home/#2c53b2f35e54
  6. Money –
    https://money.com/gardening-grocery-savings/

 

 

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Beautiful evening for a walk with friends 🐾 Poppy and Tinker posing in paradise 😊 ...

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Lots of properties on Agent Caravan on Thursday, May 26. What is Agent Caravan?

This is an opportunity for local Realtors® to view the new listings. We do this every Thursday from 9 AM - 11 AM. Contrary to what my friends think....we are not all on a big party bus driving around town LOL!!!

This week is the biggest caravan of the year (12 properties ranging in price from $500k to $2.5M) because inventory has finally started to increase. So.....if you are looking for something to do....stop by one of these properties. Everyone is welcome! If you are working with a Realtor® be sure and tell the person at the Open House.....otherwise we think you could be a new client for us!!

I will be at 354 Joaquin #4 -- stop by and say hello and I will give you a list of the other 11 properties on caravan.
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Tonight kicks off the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival! Come see amazing films and party with the artists till Sunday! Another fun and local event for Mammoth Lakes!

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #summerfun
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Don't miss out....

Come by and see this beautiful 3 bedroom home at 33 Kelley Road in Mammoth Lakes on Saturday, May 28. OPEN HOUSE from 2 PM - 5:30 PM.

LINK IN BIO for details.
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You’re probably well aware that mortgage rates are rising. At the same time, home prices don’t seem to be coming down, there’s still a ton of competition, and you’re probably no stranger to bidding wars when you make an offer on a house. More in my blog. Link in Bio...

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #mammothhomes #monocountytourism #monocountyrealestate #realestatetips #realestatetipsandtricks
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Attended the ribbon cutting for Mammoth Lakes new Disc Golf Park. Such a beautiful course built in our local paradise. A lot of work by local individuals, business and town government came together to make this happen. THANK YOU! Check it out next time you are in town! I have never played but I am going to learn! #mammothlakesrecreation #townofmammothlakes #lovewherewelive #paradise ...

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Preparing for summer in Mammoth like...

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #mammothhomes #monocountytourism #monocountyrealestate
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"Thank you so much for your guidance and expertise in helping us to buy our dream home.
I am so grateful for your hard work and patience with all our questions at every step of the process. I genuinely trusted that you were looking out for our best interests and had our backs throughout this exciting and stressful process."

-Andrew & Cara

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #testimonials
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Whew! This was only a 7 day escrow and we did it! So many offers on this one but the CASH offer with a quick close was just what my client was looking for! Thank you to Sara Knadler for bringing a quality buyer and for a smooth transaction. Sierra Escrow made it happen!

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #mammothhomes #monocountytourism #monocountyrealestate
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OPEN HOUSE
33 Kelley Road

Sunday, May 22
10 AM - 1 PM

Stop by and view this immaculate and beautiful 3 bedroom / 2.5 bath move in ready home. A rare find for such an amazing location and quality construction. The placement of the home on the lot is off-set from neighboring homes providing a true sense of privacy.

LINK IN BIO FOR DETAILS
...

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Eric Van Winkle making a difference on Town Clean Up Day this past weekend! Way to represent Eric and the Mammoth Lakes Board of Realtors! #mammothlakes #TOML #communityspirit #towncleanupday #loveourcommunity ...

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Swimming with dozens of Black Tip sharks and rays was exhilarating and fun (well after I got over my initial hesitation)! The water was so clear and these creatures were quite social! The tour was amazing - we went on to see a 12 foot Eagle ray below us while snorkeling! #tripofalifetime #conradboraboranui #pinchme #godisgreat #lifeisgood #blacktipshark #borabora #porapora @johnbushmammothloco ...

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Today is the first day of Day Pass Reservations for Yosemite National Park! If you're in the area remember to make sure you have a reservation to get into @yosemite this summer!

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #summerfun #yosemite #nature
...

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OPEN HOUSE
33 Kelley Road

Sunday, May 22
10 AM - 1 PM

Stop by and view this immaculate and beautiful 3 bedroom / 2.5 bath move in ready home. A rare find for such an amazing location and quality construction. The placement of the home on the lot is off-set from neighboring homes providing a true sense of privacy.

LINK IN BIO FOR DETAILS
...

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I know it's something we don't want to think about... but with technology today a seller can be listening or recording you while you view their home. Make sure to be conscious and aware of that and always share your opinions outside or quietly.

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #mammothhomes #monocountytourism #monocountyrealestate #realestatetips #realestatetipsandtricks
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Make sure to show your love and support as we go into the busy summer season to all the amazing workers who make Mammoth such an amazing, beautiful, and safe place to live. Thank you to all our rangers, forest service, hospital workers, police, first responders, SAR members and more!

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #mammothhomes #monocountytourism #monocountyrealestate
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That’s a wrap! 40th anniversary trip was AMAZING - don’t know where we could possibly go from here!! Truly a trip of a lifetime. So grateful ❤️ Headed back to reality tonight with arrival in 🇺🇸 tomorrow. Photos coming soon 🌴 #borabora #conradboraboranui #loveourlife #ThankYouGod #lovetotravel #pinchme @johnbushmammothloco ...

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My buyers missed out in a multiple offer situation earlier this year and it happened for a reason. 924 Links Way was meant to be their Mammoth Lakes home! It is perfect for them. Things happen for a reason, right? So excited!' @side_realestate

#mammothlakes #californialife #sierra #easternsierra #mammothlife #vacationliving #mammothlifestyle #dailylife
#sonjasellsmammoth #mammothcondos #mammothrealestate
#destinationmammoth #destinationrealestate #mammothmountain #monocounty #mammothhomes #monocountytourism #monocountyrealestate
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