We all have basic needs that need to be met via our budget. Lesson 1 discussed the 50/30/20 framework with 50% of your budget going towards needs. Needs encompass items one needs to survive. We already discussed groceries in lesson 2 and housing in lesson 4. Needs also include items such as utilities, transportation, and medical.
We can’t control the rate a utility charges, but there are some ways to save on a utility bill.
- Use energy-efficient appliances and bulbs
- Keep filters clean and change regularly
- Use a smart thermostat
- Turn off the light when you leave the room
- Put appliances on a power strip and turn off when not in use
- Ensure windows and doors are sealed properly
- Don’t run the dishwasher or washer unless full
What though if you’re struggling with your utility bill? Our Community Resources page lists some local and state agencies that may be able to help. West Virginia has programs to help with utilities which include Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), 20% discount program, and Tel-Assistance/LIFELINE.
In Fairmont, WV there are resources for transportation. Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority: Fairmont Marion County Bus Service in West Virginia is available for those without a vehicle. The Salvation Army may be able to give one a gas voucher to help those in need. Apps such as GasBuddy and Getupside can help you find the lowest cost for gas and get cashback when you purchase.
If you are unable to get employer-based healthcare you may be eligible to apply through the government. Marketplace coverage has various open enrollment dates. Those that qualify can apply for Medicaid through WV DHHR. Otherwise to save money on medical costs:
- Use in-network providers
- Use apps such as Goodrx for discounts
- Ask if they have any discounts
- Choose generic or OTC
- Use sites such as Healthgrades to view ratings and costs
- Request itemized medical bills to check for any errors or overcharges
These are just a handful of ways that can help save you money on basic needs. The sources below can help you find more ways to save.