Self-induced brown-outs, household media freezes, and flavored beverage strikes are a few radical ways to save money; however, if done cleverly, they will not interfere immensely in the quality of life of the average American household. The zeitgeist of consumerism has driven many families to equate certain lifestyle privileges to basic lifestyle needs. Most people can live well without soda or cable television. Saving money is a path toward garnering wealth, and feeling satisfied with very little is the first step toward earning that wealth.
Switching to low-energy light bulbs, and reducing heating and cooling costs are effective ways of saving money on an electric bill; however, a more extreme measure can be to shut certain appliances down during a specified time of day. Having a family rule that the kitchen is “closed” after 10 pm can reduce the light bill significantly. Appliances which generate heat use a lot of energy. If the kitchen is closed after a certain time, late night snacks in the toaster oven will stop. Keeping the lights off in the kitchen, the coffee pot off, and keeping the stove off limits for a specified time frame will reduce electricity.
Be really aggressive with saving money through the brown-out method by imposing rules for all electronic equipment and appliances during certain days. Mondays can be “brown-out” days. Let family members know that on Mondays, computers must be shut down with the exception of school assignments or work assignments. On Mondays, there will be no radio, television, nor other non-essential electrical appliances in use. Use minimal lighting, and demand that family members shut off all lights when leaving a room. Designate only the high-efficiency lights as available during that day. Be even more aggressive by doing this brown-out for an entire month.
Household Media Freezes
You can postpone cable or satellite service to your home for a month or more. If you are in a contract with a service provider, you will still be obliged to your contract, but you can usually suspend services for a specified amount of time. Decrease your cable or satellite packages for the long-term, but suspend services for an entire month or more so that you can save the money you would normally have paid for that bill.
While students and some employees count on having the Internet for their education or livelihoods, there are times when suspending that service will not interfere with those important lifestyle necessities. A month during summer vacation might serve well as a good time to hold an Internet pause. Some Internet services can be reduced to lower speed services to save additional money.
Junk Food Strikes
The only beverage one needs to survive is water. Soda, juice, milk, and other beverages are not necessary to the health of the human body. You and your family can get all the nutrients you need from food. Furthermore, snack foods such as potato chips, cakes French fries, and filler foods are not only nutritionally void, but are a waste of money. A complete purge of these items from the household would benefit the health of the family, but most people cannot sacrifice all of these foods forever.
Specify a time frame or shopping trip where you will not allow these items to be on the list. You can purge them every other week, every other month, or for a few months at a time. Aggressive savers will buy the basics for as long as possible.
Beverages can be a big expense in the home. If your city determines your tap water is safe for common consumption, you will save money on the cost of water, though your water bill may increase slightly. Investing in a water dispenser can prove to be a beneficial step toward saving money. Buying five gallons of water for a few dollars costs much less then buying bottled water. Water, overall, costs much less then most carbonated beverages and flavored drinks.