Save Money Monday: Five Life Hacks that Will Reduce Your Two Biggest Expenses

Some days it feels like all you do is run errands, while others are spent solely within the confines of your home. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the average American household spends the most money on the two places where they spend the large majority of their time: their home and their vehicles. The most recent available statistics show that nearly $17,000 is spent on housing while more than $8,000 is spent on family vehicles. Though these expenses are necessary, for this installment of Save Money Monday, here are five tips to help minimize your cash outflow in these areas:

Bundle Your Insurance Policies

Many insurance companies offer discounts if you bundle your car insurance, home insurance and other supplemental insurance policies together. By doing this, you not only get a nice discount, you also have only one company to deal with when calling for information and paying your premiums.

Fill Up When You’re At the Grocery Store

Gas is a huge expense, and short of getting a new energy efficient vehicle, you can save money by shopping around for gas prices. This isn’t always an effective use of your time, so consider signing up for your grocery store’s rewards program so you can get coupons or rebates good for several cents off each gallon of gas. While saving ten cents a gallon might not seem like a lot, if you’re buying 30 gallons a week for a year, you save more than $150.

Lose Some (Vehicle) Weight

If you’re like most moms, your car contains a bulky stroller, a first aid kit, a diaper bag with plenty of diapers, miscellaneous toys, snacks, emergency supplies and other random things “just in case.” However, you might want to rethink what all goes with you when you’re just driving around town. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for each extra 100 pounds that you remove from your vehicle, your gas mileage can increase by up to two percent. While it’s less convenient than just leaving everything in the car, a few extra minutes of unpacking can translate into dozens of dollars saved almost effortlessly.

Invest In A High Tech Thermostat

On days when everyone’s out of the house for the majority of the day, there’s no need to keep the whole house cool. By spending some money on a programmable thermostat, you can save about $180 a year, says Energy Star. Take time to learn how to use it, and save the settings, if possible, so that you only need to push a button or two to adjust the temperature to an appropriate level.

Let Your Yard Cut Your Heating Bills

Not many people consider just how much the shrubs and trees that they plant affect the temperature of their home, but spending an hour or two learning which types of greenery you should plant near your home can help keep your heating and cooling bills low. Work with a lawn and garden specialist, or study up on your own, to find the optimal locations for tall shrubs and plants before you start your landscaping.

Creative Commons image by grantsewell

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