If you're looking to trim your monthly budget, a quick peek around the house might uncover several things that you're paying too much for. Some people complain that they never have cash. The problem, however, may not be too little cash — but rather not knowing the right ways to stretch their dollars.
Whether you're looking to increase your disposable income or stay within budget, spending less on these nine things will keep cash in your checking account.
1. MEDICATIONSOver-the-counter and prescription medications provide relief from minor and major illnesses, but if you're buying brand name meds, you're probably spending more than necessary for treatment. The truth is, you can save tremendously with a generic or store-brand medication, as much as 40%. Generic meds include the same active ingredients, quality, and strength of brand names.
2. HOUSEHOLD CLEANERSThere's really no need to have every type of cleaning product underneath your kitchen sink, especially when there are solutions that include multiple ingredients for multiple surfaces. Read the label on cleaning products and you might discover that a product designed for dusting can also be used to clean glass, thus eliminating the need to purchase a stockpile of products. You can also save money with homemade cleaners using water, vinegar, and baking soda.
3. BOTTLED WATERIt's convenient to grab bottled water from the fridge. And although the price per unit is relatively inexpensive if buying in bulk, it adds up quickly if you're buying several cases a month. However, you can save money by skipping disposable water bottles and using a basic pitcher-style water filter or a sink/faucet mount filtration system. In fact, "a family of four can potentially save $2,878.57 each year by switching from bottled water to a water filter."
4. CABLE TELEVISIONIt's nice to have options when you're ready to relax with the remote control. But if you don't have much time for television, or if you only watch a few select programs, it doesn't make sense to pay a hundred bucks — or more! — each month for a top-notch cable package. You can save a nice chunk of change by downgrading to a package that matches your viewing needs, or ditching cable altogether and streaming your favorite television programs from Netflix or Hulu.
5. TOOTHBRUSHESWith thousands of rotating motions per minute, there's no denying the benefits of an electronic toothbrush or its ability to reduce plaque and gingivitis. These toothbrushes essentially take the work out of brushing your teeth, but with a price tag as high as $100, not everyone can afford a fancy toothbrush.
The good news is that you don't need a fancy, expensive toothbrush to keep your teeth healthy and clean. Your hand might not be able to mimic the rotation of an electronic brush, but if you're brushing properly, using mouthwash, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist every six months, you can keep your mouth just as healthy with an old-fashioned toothbrush.
6. PRE-PACKAGED FOODSWhen you're busy and hungry, it's definitely easier to buy pre-packaged meals at the grocery store or purchase vegetables and fruits that are already chopped and sliced. However, this costly convenience adds to your grocery bill. Ready-to-eat meals can be as much as 6 to 10 times more expensive per serving than preparing the item. The trick to paying less is simple — plan ahead and purchase fresh ingredients to prepare meals yourself. This approach is not only cheaper, but healthier since you're able to control the sodium and portions of each meal.
7. HOME FRAGRANCES"Consumers spend more than $5 billion each year on room deodorizers, scented oils and candles," reports Forbes. This might be a small price to pay if you need to quickly eliminate a stale odor in your house before guests arrive. But rather than pay $15 for a fancy candle, open a window and allow fresh air inside, or give your place a thorough cleaning.
8. SHAMPOOPaying $20 for a bottle of expensive shampoo won't necessarily result in cleaner hair, although your locks may smell amazingly fresh after each wash. If you're only concerned with cleanliness and couldn't care less about a lingering sweet scent, you're better off with a cheaper store shampoo, such as Suave or Garnier.
9. NON-REFILLABLE GOOPDetergents, hand soaps, and cleaning products keep the home and body clean, but you're probably paying too much for these items if you buy a new bottle each time you run out. For a cheaper replacement, keep your original packaging or bottle and purchase refill packs. Since you're not purchasing a new dispenser, you'll save money in the long run.
Do you have other items to add to this list?