13 Ways to Lower Monthly Expenses
Whether your goal is to save money for your upcoming vacation or use some extra cash to invest in the stock market, lowering your monthly expenses will be key to getting there. In today’s spend spend spend mindset, saving money can be a challenge. Mortgages, car payments, student debt, and credit card bills can all be a hindrance to your savings account. So how can you trim your expenses to increase your savings? Keep reading to find out! We’re going to show you 13 ways you can trim your monthly expenses.
1. Cut the Television & Cable
Let’s be honest, television is a luxury and by no means necessary. With satellite subscriptions costing hundreds of dollars per month, this is the perfect opportunity to cut monthly expenses. 10 years from now, will you really miss yesterdays episode of Wheel of Fortune? If your answer is yes, try to reduce your costs by switching to an internet television package. This can save you over 50% on your monthly cable costs (and you can cancel at any time!).
YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, AT&T TV, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV all offer internet packages ranging from around $20-$100 per month. They come with various packages and channel lineups. You can select which works best for you based on your preferences and devices.
Watch out for trial offers! I signed up for AT&T’s predecessor, DirectTV Now, and got a FREE 4K Apple TV when I prepaid for 3 months of services ($40/month). That’s $30 less than the retail price of the device, PLUS 3 months of television.
2. Still Going to the Gym?
Every month, $40 comes out of your bank account so that you can have access to a gym. Are you using it? Well, you should be. Improving your mental and physical health is vital to ongoing financial success and personal development. But if sweating your brains out and pumping up your muscles aren’t your thing, maybe it’s time to reconsider that $40 you shell out every month.
Not ready to give up on the gym but still want to save? There are several national health clubs that have rates as low as $10 per month. That’s $.33 a day! This can save you a substantial amount over the year.
3. Time to Refinance
Your mortgage should be your most expensive monthly expense. And refinancing to a low, fixed-rate mortgage can save you hundreds of dollars per month. While it may not seem like much, even a couple percentage points can save you over one hundred dollars per month, and thousands over the life of the loan!
Be sure to take into consideration any closing costs associated with the new mortgage. In addition, your credit will also get charged with a hard inquiry.
4. Lower your Electric Bill
Do you really need it to be 68 degrees in the summer and 74 in the winter? You can save $20-$50 a month simply by adjusting your thermostat a few degrees warmer in the summer and a few degrees cooler in the winter. Just add some extra layers in the winter! Did you know that you’ll get a deeper sleep by lowering the temperature a few degrees in the winter?
Want to take it an extra step further? Do you really need a steaming hot shower twice a day? Lower your electric bill by using less hot water, and put less stress on your hot water heater!
Keep going… Your laundry drier is a legitimate penny suck. Not only do you lose socks and spare change, but it is also one of the more energy unfriendly appliances in your household. In fact, some reports claim that your laundry drier can constitute up to 12% of your total electricity use. While it may seem like an innocent, time-saving machine, think twice about putting large loads in your drier for long periods of time. Save money by using low heat or air drying your clothes completely!
Next up, your refrigerator. Another household staple that can be a massive energy suck. But have you ever taken the time to play with the knobs that adjust how cold your refrigerator is? Turn it down a notch or two and watch the savings rack up.
The age of incandescents is over… if you still have incandescent lightbulbs in your home, it’s time to swap them out for some LED lights. While the savings may seem minuscule at the time, it can add up over the years. In addition to the lights using less energy, they always output less heat, giving your A/C a break in the summer.
5. Everyone grocery shops, it’s time to pay less!
On average, American’s spend between 10-15% of their income on food according to the USDA. This represents a large chunk of your income. So how can you save at the grocery?
a. If Kroger is in your area, we highly recommend downloading the Kroger app. You can download money-saving coupons directly from the app to your Kroger plus card, eliminating the need for time and scissors. With over 300 coupons at any time, you’re sure to find a coupon for an item on your list.
a. Unless your name is Warren Buffet, Tim Cook, or Mark Zuckerburg, you’re not too good for generic. While we’ll admit, some things DO taste different than the name brand stuff, there are others that taste no different and cost half the price.
6. Say goodbye to that auto loan
Cars… what a terrible “investment”. They depreciate in value like nothing else, making it hard to justify your hard-earned income. Add the additional cost of interest that’s non-tax-deductible and it’s a recipe for disaster. If you have an auto loan, you’re probably spending a few hundred dollars a month (if not more) just to get from A to B. Let’s be honest, “down-grading” your car can make you feel defeated. But it can also put you on the path to success. If you have a newer car, consider selling your car, paying off your auto loan, and purchasing a used car for whatever is left or (or less). Unfortunately, you will “lose” on this deal. Because your car has already depreciated a significant amount, and the taxes and fees associated with selling your car, you won’t have a nice new car that you once had. But save an extra $300+ per month will make it worth it.
7. Cut the Booze
Alcohol is an expensive entertainment option, not to mention the health detriments. Your favorite cocktail can run $10 at your local bar and a beer anywhere from $3-$8 a glass. Is it really worth it? Probably not. Skip the alcohol and opt for a $2 soft drink or a $0 water.
8. Check your cellphone bill
Another one of the largest monthly household expenses in today's world is cellphone bills. Some can be as much or more than an auto loan! Ever since the restructuring of wireless contracts, carries have made it even easier to get the newest phone. That $30 a month doesn’t seem like much for a $1,100 phone, but it can easily drive up your monthly bill. Add $30 a month for your spouse and perhaps another $30 a month for a child and you’ll see how quickly it can add up. This is not to mention an unlimited plan, phone insurance, etc. DON’T FALL FOR IT. Want the best way to save on your wireless bill? Purchase a used phone online and sign up for an inexpensive cellular option with no insurance. This will keep your costs low and your savings high.
9. Purchase household items online
Check online for typical household items like laundry detergent, beauty items, and toilet paper before picking them up at your local grocery store. Oftentimes you can save anywhere from 10%-25% from your local grocery store by searching online first.
10. Stop wasting your groceries
Americans throw away more food than any other country. When trying to lower your monthly expenses, this can be an easy way to save some extra cash each month. Instead of throwing away those day-old leftovers, see if you can incorporate them into another meal.
11. Save on transportation
We’ve already spoken about your auto loan, so how else can you save on transportation? There are a few ways. We love to use Kroger’s Fuel Rewards program to get money off of gas. Because we shop at Kroger anyways, it’s a no brainer. Plus you can earn double fuel points on certain days to earn even more. This can add up to sometimes $1.00 off per gallon. It usually totals around $20 a month. That’s an easy $20 for doing nothing!
The other way to save on transportation is simple. Drive less. It seems obvious, but every time you start your vehicle, you’re spending money. Driving less has other advantages outside of gas savings however, you’ll also save on maintenance expenses like tires and oil changes, and help your car last longer! There are many ways to lessen the amount of time you drive including: riding your bike to work, taking public transportation, or trying to find a job closer to your home.
12. Negotiate your car insurance
Car insurance is another large monthly expense. The good news is that it’s always up for negotiation. And with the number of providers available, you’re sure to always find a better deal. Check online or with an insurance broker to see if lower rates are available for you. You’ll be surprised by what’s out there! The best part about car insurance, there’s no penalty to shop around. Contrary to applying for mortgages, your credit won’t take a hit when looking around. So always be active.
13. For those with credit card debt:
Take out a personal loan (if possible) to pay off high-interest credit card debt. With interest rates as high as 30%, credit card debt can kill any momentum you have on your path toward financial freedom. Applying for a personal loan with an interest rate of around 10% can help you lower your monthly credit card payment and hopefully allow you to pay off your debt faster!
By following these 13 steps to lowering your monthly expenses, you’ll be on your way to financial freedom quicker than you ever thought. We’d love to hear your feedback! Comment some of your favorite money saving techniques below!