Creating a Vacation Budget That Works
Guides, Tips, and Hacks, Timeshare Vacations
3 min read
Planning your next vacation, new car, or new kitchen? That money might be lying around the house—and not just in the sofa cushions. With some basic home tips, you can save money fast and reach your goals sooner than you expected.
Is your money going down the drain? Most of us pay for every drop that runs through our taps. The average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day. And that adds up fast. But you can use less with a few simple hacks. You don’t even have to go for big-ticket items like a new dishwasher or washer (although you can for even more savings!)
The toilet uses about 1/3 of your water budget. Cut that back by installing a water-saving dual flush valve for around $25. You’ll use less water when you hit the light flush. So, you save money and water with your existing toilet. Or level up by installing a new toilet. Older toilets use 3.6 gallons or more per flush, but newer, more efficient models get you down around 1.6 gallons. Showers use less water than baths, so consider switching if you’re a bath person. Already a shower person? Install a low-flow shower head to save up to three gallons per minute. And for that running water while washing your face or your dishes? Upgrade your sink faucets to save one gallon per minute.
According to the USDA, Americans waste 30-40% of their food annually. That’s upwards of $1.6 billion a year. Although you can’t control waste caused by grocery stores and restaurants, you can look at what happens in your own house and cut your food budget by 30% or more That’s a smart way to save money. So, how do you reduce waste?
Start by controlling what you bring into your home. Work to only buy what you need so it doesn’t end up in the trash or compost pile. Good planning and lists are your friends here. Make a realistic weekly meal plan, create a list from that, and then stick to that list while you shop. Of course, who hasn’t forgotten their list and then ended up buying everything but what they really needed? So, consider keeping your list on your phone or using online tools so you’re less likely to forget.
Once the food is in your house, prevent it from spoiling by storing it properly. Put dry goods and pantry staples like flour and sugar and snacks like crackers and chips in airtight containers and keep away from sunlight. Invest in containers that you like and that work for your space so you’re sure to use them. And by all means, stop eating potato chips out of the bag! Fruits and vegetables all need to be handled differently depending on what you’re storing. Make sure you’re treating them right with this handy list. Then when everything is safe and sound, make sure to follow your meal plan and eat it. If life gets in the way and you can’t get to all the food or you splurge for dinner out instead of burgers at home, consider freezing or preserving what you didn’t use for future use. All of this keeps food out of the garbage and puts cash in your pockets.
Replacing your furnace or air-conditioning unit is an expensive proposition, but it can certainly save on your energy bills. Yet, there’s still more you can do to save without involving the HVAC company. Did you know that lights and electronics pull power even when they’re off? Save for free by unplugging what isn’t in use: Phone charger, we’re looking at you. Replace your light bulbs with energy saving bulbs or LEDs. Holiday lights come in LED formats now, too! And when you’re replacing electronics that are at the end of their life, consider more energy efficient items that will save money in the long run.
We lose a lot of heat through the nooks and crannies in our houses. Replacing or adding attic and wall insulation saves a lot of money. Proper insulation pays for itself. Already well-insulated? Seal and weatherstrip drafty window and door frames. And don’t forget about those electrical outlets on exterior walls. There are usually gaps in insulation around outlets. But you can add easy insulation to keep your hot air in or out depending on the season. Also, check with your energy provider to see if they have rebates and programs to help you improve your home’s energy efficiency. These programs can save you hundreds on new purchases, upgrades and more.
We all want to make the most of our money. And your house is a great place to start. We hope these tips help you save money and reach your goals….like heading for your next vacation! Once you’ve got your house in order, check out our other budget tips!
(Image Source: Pixabay)
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