If you’re in the health and medical industry, sticking to a budget can be tough. You work long hours, your income might be constantly changing, and it can be tough to take care of daily tasks while trying to prioritize household expense reduction. However, no matter how large or small your budget, there are always ways to reduce your household expenses. Start by tackling what you know—how can you utilize your career in the health and medical industry to save money and go a little greener?
Consider these ten ways to reduce expenses, save more and be kinder to the earth:
- Complete regular home energy audits. You don’t need a professional. A DIY home energy audit is doable by gathering your energy bills for the past 12 months, seeing when you spend the most, and taking action to reduce energy via closing off unused rooms, slowly upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, windows and doors, or readjusting thermostats. Not only will this save money and minimize expenses, it can also improve your health—most of us could benefit from changing vents more often!
- Shop in bulk and on sale only when it makes sense. Be careful at those club stores, but if you honestly will go through three dozen eggs in a month, shop in bulk, at discount stores, and seek out sales. Making a meal map for the month will help you utilize what you have, direct shopping, and reduce waste while encouraging healthier eating. Ultimately, that may lead to better health and fewer diseases, too.
- Commute differently. It’s not just gas, but also the wear and tear on vehicles that can drive up commute costs. Challenge yourself to walk or bike if possible, carpool, or take public transportation at least once per week. As a bonus, you’ll be practicing what you preach by getting in more exercise.
- Get creative with entertainment. Entertainment can eat up a lot of a budget, especially when going to the movies can easily cost $20 per person. Research free entertainment options in your area. Many museums have free days.There are trails to explore!And, there are a variety of freebies you’ve likely overlooked. Challenge yourself to seek out free entertainment that improves your health.
- Embrace free cycling and bartering. Only a few household items really need to be bought new (generally soft goods that aren’t washable, like beds and couches). Otherwise, get in sync with your inner DIY-er. Check out free items online and up-cycle them yourself, or barter services like yoga classes for gardening help. You’ll help green up the earth and earn karma points to boot.
- Fix, don’t toss. Do what you can to fix an item instead of replacing it. Whether it’s tackling the fix yourself or hiring/bartering with a professional, if it’s more affordable to fix than replace, go for it. There are some low-cost items, like microwaves, that are actually more affordable to replace, so always research first. (Of course, as a healthcare professional, your own research might lead you to ditch the microwave entirely!).
- Go for quality, not just price, for some items. Consider the longevity of an item, particularly shelves, tables and other sturdy pieces of furniture. Ideally, shop long-term. It’s much better for your wallet and the environment to invest in one well-built piece than be forced to replace a cheap one every few years. Plus, chemicals in non-solid wood might not pair well with your knowledge of potential risks and dangers.
- Buy green when it makes sense. If you own a home and plan to stay there for many years, consider green, energy-efficient upgrades and purchases. Some investments, like solar panels, can quickly pay for themselves. Long-term household expense management is just as important as short-term smart shopping.
- DIY when you can. From manicures to fitness classes, there are a lot of things people budget for that are very DIY-friendly. What can you do on your own or with the help of a free tutorial or video? For healthcare professionals who understand fitness best practices, take advantage of the outdoors as your gym, free streaming videos and self-guided workouts.
- Regularly visit your budget. Things change, including priorities and income. Check your budget at least every quarter to see where you’re succeeding and where you can cut costs.
Every household needs a budget, but it’s always a work in progress. See where you can strengthen your budget for a happier household. Equally important is reducing and eventually eliminating debt, especially if it carries an interest rate. Finding avenues to do more yourself instead of hiring tasks out, spending more time at home rather than depending on paid sources of entertainment, and enjoying simpler pleasures, like cooking a meal with family or friends in lieu of yet another restaurant outing, not only saves money but re-directs your time and attention to what you truly love. If you’re lucky enough and worked hard to be in a home, make the most of it.