5 Ways to Save Money Around the Home

As we are constantly reminded, it’s best to be prepared for anything, especially as far as money is concerned. This means that, as a homeowner, you need to always be on the lookout for ways in which you can save money around your home. Here are five handy ways in which you can start doing so and have more to keep safe for a rainy day.

1. Cook More at Home

While it may be easier and more fun to eat out and order takeout, you will be surprised at how much money you can save by quitting this habit. Propose to cook more of your food at home. On top of helping you save a reasonable amount of money, doing this will also make it easier for you to start eating healthier meals. This is because you are in full control of what goes into your dishes, whereas restaurant menus rarely tell the whole story. Additionally, this could present an amazing opportunity for your family to bond more. Since, according to Houzz, 76% of homeowners cook five or more meals each week in their kitchen after it’s newly remodeled, you could plan a minor kitchen remodel to inspire you to cook more at home.

2. Plant a Garden

If you have the space in your yard, consider planting a garden. Doing this can enable you to save money on groceries and also eat more healthily. This is because you will also cut down on trips to the grocery store as a result of having access to fresh herbs and vegetables right in your garden. Saving money on buying greens from the store is just one of the benefits that you will enjoy when you plant a garden because you will also get some exercise and help make your environment a bit greener at the same time.

3. Do Cost-Effective Home Improvements

While home improvements are generally known to be avenues for spending your hard-earned cash, you could choose the ones that you have great returns on investment. Pick those that can make a big difference while not calling for a lot of expenditure on your part. Keep in mind that the home improvement projects that were in the most demand in 2021, according to Business Insider, cost less than $20,000. This means that if you take the time to plan your renovations and think them through, you can get a better-looking and more functional home without breaking the bank.

4. Up-Cycle and Re-Use

While the convenience of using disposable items is hard to discount, this is a habit that could potentially be costing you a lot of money. Keep this in mind as you look for things around your home that you can re-use and up-cycle. It may not seem like much up front, but over time, you will realize some great savings all while helping to keep the environment a bit greener.

5. Install New Windows

Finally, while this may cost you a bit more upfront, it will save you a lot of money over time for a long time to come. This is because new windows can lower energy bills, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency sharing that depending on where you live, you can save up to $501 each year. This can be achieved by replacing your old, single-pane windows with newer ones that are ENERGY STAR approved. Take time to shop for these windows and save up for the project, and you may find that it will be easy for you to get them.

With these five methods, you can start to make savings around your home. As these habits become second nature to you, it may be easy for you to find even more ways to save money.

Finding the Best Deal for Our TV Bundle Package

Finding the Best Deal on Our TV Bundle Package

After my husband and I got married last year, we did what most couples do and combined households. As we joined our lives and finances, we also evaluated our monthly expenses. We started by establishing our new budget. Then, we divided the financial responsibilities, set our savings goals, and looked for areas where we could cut back. The most obvious way was to cancel duplicate memberships and services we no longer needed. However, we overlooked a few opportunities to save money with our telecom services. Now that my husband will need to relocate for work, we are looking for more ways to trim the budget. So, I’m wondering if we have the best deal for our TV bundle package or if there are better options for us.

The Current TV Bundle Package

Before we got together, he had two roommates living in the same house. For budgeting purposes, they shared services and streaming memberships. However, anyone who lives in a large household will tell you how frustrating it is when you skimp on your internet speed. With all three of them working from home, streaming, and gaming, they chose a package with greater bandwidth. But now that it was just the two of us, I wasn’t sure if we were paying for more than we needed.

Our current bundle includes TV and internet services, but all streaming services are separate. With the bundle, we have the Ultimate plan with download speeds up to 500Mbps, a 1.25 TB monthly data plan, and 140 channels. The latest bill showed that we pay $83 a month for internet and $114 for TV; with taxes and fees, it’s just more than $210 a month. This price included a $30 discount on the package, which makes it a good deal. Unfortunately, the offer expires in April 2023.

Options in Our Area

Local Providers

Sadly, there are a limited number of service providers in our area. Only two, to be exact. This doesn’t work in our favor or create much competition for pricing and customer service.

Over the years, I’ve used both providers and neither one comes close to satisfactory. Since their prices and quality of service are about the same, I have no loyalty to either one. Therefore, I let the bottom line determine where I go and sometimes switch between the two, depending on who is running the best promotion.

Satellite Services

I’ve also looked into satellite services, but have had bad experiences in the past. Living in the midwest means that we often deal with poor weather conditions. When it gets bad, service gets spotty and is often out for several hours at a time. Since I need reliable internet access to run my business, satellite service isn’t a good option for me.

Mix and Match

The other alternative is to pay for the services individually. We don’t watch many cable TV channels, so we have discussed ditching the extras for local channels only. Additionally, we don’t need a landline since we rely on our cell phones.

While it may seem limited, we would still have plenty of entertainment services. Since we already pay for subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime, we could still watch our favorite TV shows and movies through these streaming services. Looking at our options, we are seriously considering canceling the cable and finding a bundle for our streaming services.

Getting the Best Deal on Your TV Bundle Package

Looking at our current package, it seems like we are getting the best deal available right now. However, that will change when our discount expires. So, if you are looking for ways to get the best deal on your TV bundle package, here are three things you should keep in mind.

1. Bundle your services for better discounts.

Obviously, bundling is one of the best ways to save on your telecom services. As a general rule, you typically pay less for each service when you go through a single provider.

Sometimes, they will also offer promotional deals and discounts to help you save even more. Not only is it good news for your wallet, but telecom companies also love it when you bundle because it boosts revenue for each client and has its users committing to long-term contracts.

However, not all bundles are a bargain. You need to do your due diligence and pay attention to the fine print. Watch out for the fees for add-ons and equipment rentals. These hidden charges may cost you more by nickel and diming you beyond your budget.

2. Check out the competition.

Any true budgeter knows that you should always shop around and compare prices. The same is true when it comes to your telecom services. If you live in larger cities, you will usually find better deals. The bigger the local market, the better the inducement offers will be as well.

Many providers offer great deals and packages to sign up. Plus, you can sometimes find exclusive web offers to save even more. Others offer incentives like prepaid credit cards or discounts when you sign up or pay for services online. Sometimes the savings are so significant, that I’m willing to switch contracts and go through the hassle of changing service providers.

3. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Most people think that rates are set in stone. While there may be standard pricing, there are usually ways that service providers are willing to sweeten the deal to keep your business. So when your contract expires, be ready to have a conversation about your renewal.

When you go into the conversation, keep in mind that there is some room for negotiation. Although they will rarely give you free service, it never hurts to ask for a current promotional rate for new members or that they extend your current deal.

The staunchest savers will also advise you to be willing to walk away. Let your provider know that you will be looking at other options if they can’t honor the rate or offer other discounts. Sometimes threatening to end your service spurs them to find ways to reduce your monthly bill and extend your contract.

Ultimately, you have to decide what is most important for your communication needs and choose the package that is right for you. It never hurts to ask for what you want from your service provider. They may surprise you and grant your requests. In the long run, they know a satisfied customer is worth more than the discount.

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Is It Worth Going into Business for Yourself?

Is It Worth Going Into Business for Yourself?

 

Many of us have often contemplated it but never taken the leap into entrepreneurship. For years, my friends and I have sat around and discussed how you could make that happen. But with all the risks and potential losses, it’s hard to leave security and strike out on your own. However, nearly three years ago, life presented me with an opportunity to do just that. When I returned home after years abroad, I decided it was time to make my dream a reality. While it has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, for me, the financial and personal benefits have more than made it worth going into business for yourself.

What Are the Risks of Going into Business for Yourself?

Change is hard for many of us. And, it’s even more terrifying when you have to make life-changing decisions, such as starting a business. No one can deny that there are serious risks involved.

The Financial Risks

First off, there are no guarantees that you will be successful or earn a steady income. If there are significant startup costs, that increases the financial stakes as well. And with a volatile market, it’s risky to attempt any new business venture right now. Furthermore, those who are entering saturated markets will face greater competition and find it even more difficult to achieve success.

The truth is that 20% of all new businesses fail within two years. If you don’t have a solid business plan in place, you could find yourself facing bankruptcy.

The Personal Risks

Any new business owner will tell you the same thing: starting a new business is a huge time investment. Unfortunately, as your business demands more of your time and attention, it could affect your personal life. Maintaining this balance is crucial. However, with so many people depending on me and several other time commitments, I know this will be a never-ending struggle.

The other major concern for me was the potential effect on my mental health. With all the added stress, I wasn’t sure how it would affect my anxiety, especially as my family was dealing with the care of multiple members facing serious medical conditions. Although some don’t calculate these risks into their decision, it has an impact on your productivity, quality of life, and job satisfaction.

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

The moment I made the decision was when I realized that the benefits would outweigh the risks. I was unhappy in my current field, returning to a place I hadn’t lived in for over a decade, and needed something that gave me flexibility. My job prospects were limited, so I started thinking outside the box. After some debate, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally see if my business idea would hold water. When I assessed my worst-case scenario, I didn’t have much to lose.

My biggest advantage was that online consulting has very little overhead costs. I only spend about 5% of my annual earnings on business expenses. Since I only need my computer and a strong wi-fi signal, I can generate more profit in a shorter amount of time. I have also established a few long-term clients and contracts that offer some stability. As long as I maintain these relationships and continue building my reputation, there will be a steady demand in the future.

However, the greatest benefit has been the improved quality of life. In the beginning, it was stressful. But once I learned how to manage my time and got things running, I have more free time since I have more control and flexibility to set my own schedule. This has allowed me to take care of both my professional needs and my personal relationships since I can be there when they need me. I’m simply happier all around when I don’t have to answer to superiors and can decide how I conduct business. Rather than dreading the workday ahead, I look forward to it. And you really can’t put a price on happiness.

What Is the Deciding Factor for Going into Business for Yourself?

For those who are asking themselves if now is the right time to start a new business, remember, this is not a decision you should make lightly. Discuss it with your family, friends, and your financial advisor to help you assess your idea.

However, the deciding factor will come down to a tough, personal choice. Are you willing to commit your time, energy, and finances to your idea? Because it will require all of them to make it a reality. Therefore, take the time to evaluate whether you have a viable business plan and the capacity to commit the resources needed before you dive in.

Once I made this choice to go all in, everything else fell into place with a cascading effect. It became clear who and what was most important in my life. This set my priorities. And, it helped me to see how going into business for myself would help me achieve my goals. I wanted a career that brought me personal satisfaction and enough income to support myself. Rather than keeping my personal and professional life separated, I began using them to support one another. When I stopped compartmentalizing these aspects of my life, I immediately achieved a better work-life balance and overall satisfaction in life.

Nothing worth having comes easily, and building a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. It will require your blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen. I won’t sugar-coat it and tell you that starting my own business has been a breeze. It has been a lot of long hours and hard work. But now that I see the results, it has been well worth every sacrifice along the way.

Have you made the decision to start your own business? What are your thoughts…was it worth it, or a waste? 

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