One of the biggest expenses that people have, often without even realizing it, is the amount of money spent on eating out. You grab a meal here or there, grab some drinks with friends after work, and those small purchases can really add up as the month goes on. While it may seem easier to avoid cooking and just grab something quick from a restaurant, those habits are cutting into your home buying fund.
2. Cut Back on Grocery Expenses.
If you're like most Americans, you walk into the grocery store and make several impulse buys. Something looks great, but then you end up with a cart full of junk food and nothing that really goes together. Plus, if you buy too much perishable food, you could end up throwing stuff away because you can't eat it all before it goes bad. To cut back on grocery waste and impulse buys, plan your meals before heading to the store. Make a list of what you need to get and try to stick to that list. You'll be surprised at how much you can save on groceries just by doing some planning ahead. You also might consider looking for coupons, or planning your meals around the sale ads to save even more!
3. Reduce Your Utility Bills.
While it may not seem like a lot to save a few dollars each month on your utility bills, those numbers add up over time. Make sure you turn off lights when you leave a room, and don't leave the water running while you're brushing your teeth. Set your thermostat just a few degrees higher during the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter to save on your electric bill. You can also adjust that thermostat while you're gone for the day to save even more. Think about all your bills to see how you might be able to trim those expenses, even just a little.
The cost of gasoline is another monthly expense that you'll want to keep an eye on. To decrease your gasoline usage, try shopping online to cut down on the number of trips you make to the store. If that's not the best option for you, try to group your errands together. Instead of just making a trip here and there when you think about needing something, carve some time out of your day to stop at multiple stores in the same trip. You'll also want to pay attention to gas prices. Look for a place on your route with the lowest price. The Gas Buddy app is a great way to compare gas prices at the stations near you. Some grocery stores, such as Hy-Vee or Woods, even have fuel saver programs that help you save on gas when you purchase everyday items at their store.
5. Pay Attention to Unused Subscriptions.
Many people have subscriptions that they don't even use. The charges come out of your account every month without you even thinking about it. Take a look at any monthly subscriptions you may have signed up for and examine which ones you are actually using. Do you have a monthly gym membership, but can't remember the last time you went there? Cancel that membership and get some dumbbells and an exercise ball to do some workouts at home instead. How much are you paying each month for TV service? Do you only watch a few of the hundreds of channels you're paying for? Consider scaling back your package. With the streaming services available today, many people are cancelling their TV service altogether and watching their shows through Hulu and Netflix.
By taking a closer look at your monthly expenses to see where you can cut back, you'll be on your way to saving for a new home in no time! As your mortgage professional at the Lake of the Ozarks, I'm here to help you throughout the entire Lake of the Ozarks home buying process. If you're ready to get started with the pre-approval process and determine how much you can afford in a new home, give me a call at 573-746-7211 today!
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Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712
4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.