Finding ways to trim your monthly expenses can often seem very daunting because so many of our expenses seem fixed. Surprisingly many of us forget about expenses that are not top of mind or about ways to lower the cost of some of the big expenses. There truly are surprising ways to spend less every day to make a big difference each month.
Recurring expenses to cancel
How many forgotten online subscriptions for content, children’s resource or other services that are on auto renewal that you don’t use anymore do you have? You keep paying monthly without regard to cancelling because each is such a small expense. Auto renewal services is something that you should really review often to make sure you are still utilizing them and if you are not, cancel them immediately.
Streamline your streaming
Another area that is part of recurring expenses is streaming music and video services. Too often, in an effort to cut the cable, people move to a multitude of streaming services. Sometimes, they are spending more on various streaming services to get content they had on cable. If you want to really spend less, focus on just one streaming video and one streaming music service and cancel the rest.
Basic utilities to reduce
People often think they don’t have any control over their electric and/or gas bill and in fact, changing a few behaviors can make a significant difference. Start with the temperature of your home. Increasing 2 – 3 degrees when it’s hot or reducing when it’s cold can trim your bill significantly. If you want to really gain savings, install a smart thermostat and keep it colder or warmer when you are gone or sleeping.
Energy conservation and efficiency
If don’t have the energy conserving tank-less water heater, consider turning down the setting for how hot to keep the water in the tank. Not using hot water for washing clothes can also help with lowering costs of your water heater. Unplug any appliances that you are not using as another tip to lower your electric costs and consider using energy efficient light bulbs for all of your lighting.
Look at your “cords”
If you have cable decide if you really need all the programming you currently have or if you can get by with more of a basic channel lineup. Also consider using automatic payment as this often can save you $5 to $10 per month. You might want to also consider bundling services such as phone, internet and cable if you can save compared to your current costs. If you have a landline, cancel features that you don’t need or even think about cancelling the service completely if you are almost exclusively using your mobile phone.
Keep an eye on pet costs
Our pets are can become quite expensive if we don’t regularly do an inventory of what we are spending. Online delivery or subscribe and save options can insulate us to the amount of money we are spending each month on our pets. Throw in the additional costs for health related needs and the expense might surprise you. Take a hard look at what you are buying and make sure you are getting the best deal and that you really need all of the extras. Sometimes, if you are buying high quality, you might not need some of the other additional products you have been buying.
It can’t all be about you
Make sure that you are not paying for convenience versus doing yourself. Examples would include mulching and yard maintenance, work that most people can do themselves for a lot less. Also, if you have signed up for any luxury item deliveries that come quarterly, this might be another place to cut back so save money. While we are taking about you, also consider how many clothes you are buying and the type of clothes you are buying. Decide on quantity or label but stick to spending less on clothes you buy for yourself. When it comes to entertainment, don’t forget free options instead of always opting for spending on your entertainment. Maybe combine activities such as dinner and cooking with your significant other as free date night activity.
Pack the pantry not the frig
Grocery waste is one of the biggest leakages of money from a household that goes undetected. Food spoilage especially of fresh foods is a weekly event for some people. Buy less fresh food at a time to minimize the waste. For non-perishable goods, look to purchase in bulk if you can find significant savings. And always make a meal plan, then a grocery list, then find your coupons and finally do your shopping. This is another great way to reduce your overall spending on food and avoid waste.
Refi almost any debt
From your mortgage to your student loan and any other loan for that matter should be considered for refinancing to a lower rate and/or a longer term if you need monthly cash flow help. Don’t extend if possible, focus more on lowering the rate. If you have mortgage, see if you can stop paying PMI. Don’t forget about credit cards either, look for a better rate if you carry a balance. You might also benefit from combining or consolidating a few loans into one. Consider all of your options when looking to save money on your debt.
Maybe more difficult, but worth it
Try to carpool and combine trips to lower gas consumption, shop your auto and home insurance and don’t pay for extra benefits you are not going to use. Try to reduce or eliminate consumable habits (smoking, drinking, candy) which is a double win, less expense and better health. Consider bartering or trading services with friends and neighbors for needs like dog sitting, childcare, even home maintenance. One of the most difficult ideas, if you are spending too much on housing, move to a less expensive house or apartment.
Making any of these expense saving moves might seem small on a monthly basis but taken together and over the course of several months and years, the money saved will be substantial and worth the effort to make the changes now, instead of waiting.
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