With a shrinking middle class and the ever-increasing costs of day-to-day living, it should come as no surprise that most Americans are struggling financially. Here’s a snapshot of the average individual and household in America:
When living paycheck-to-paycheck, “keeping up with the Joneses” may be the last thing on your mind. Instead, check out some of our ideas on how to save money and cut common costs to get yourself ahead of the game and in better shape financially than many other average households. Here are some common major costs and how to take small steps to save big:
According to The Department of Energy, a typical family spends at least $2,200 a year on energy bills.6
How to save: You can save 10% to 12% on heating and up to 15% on cooling with a smart thermostat.7 If a smart thermostat isn’t in your budget, you can take steps like shutting off the lights when you leave a room or turning down the heat/AC during the day when nobody is home.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses 300 gallons of water a day.8
How to save: Use less water. Turn off faucets when possible, and switch to water-efficient faucets and showerheads if possible.
On average, and depending on the carrier and plan, a family of four pays $120 to $240 a month for cell phones and service.9
How to save: Keep a close eye on promotions and make sure you talk to your service provider to see how they can help you save money. As phone carriers fight to keep customers, plans are increasingly cost-competitive. Another option is prepaid plans. They offer a lower price for upfront or automatic payments.
Between Internet, cable, and premium channels—and all the fees associated with them—bills can skyrocket to well over $200 a month. It’s often the biggest bill you have to pay every month (besides rent), but there’s plenty you can do to cut back on high cable service costs.
How to save: Look into a la carte options, and talk to your Internet service provider about Internet-only packages. Many families have already “cut the cord” and are just streaming their TV and movies.
Many companies also partner with streaming services to offer attractive packages for new and existing customers, so you may also be able to find great deals with free streaming services if you do some research.
Prepaid Internet and TV streaming are also a great option for those looking to customize their own services, or those who have low credit and have a hard time getting approved for contract-based Internet service.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17.3% of monthly expenses, or about $750 a month, are dedicated to commuting to work.10
How to save: Carpooling. Biking. Public transportation. Or ride-sharing services that you can access and use from your smartphone apps.
Emergencies happen, and sometimes you find yourself in a tight situation. If you need cash quickly to cover an unexpected emergency or a financial obligation, an online installment loan may be a better option with more flexible terms than many alternatives, like payday loans. With some online installment loans, you can apply, receive a decision, and if approved, have the money deposited into your bank account the same day.*
When it comes to improving your financial health, it helps to have someone looking out for you. We created Allay to provide you with helpful tools to get you back on track and help improve your financial standing. To learn more about short-term loans and improving your credit scores, you can always visit our Resource Center.