Last year our monthly expenses increased quite a bit since our housing costs went up by around 40%. It was a huge jump for us, but we already live below our means so we knew we could handle it.
Still, I didn’t want to be house poor and be scraping by just to pay the bills. It feels great when you can afford your basic expenses and have a little extra to enjoy as you please or stash away in savings.
To ensure we had enough money to provide sufficient breathing room, we focused on finding simple ways to cut our spending. Choosing to cut your monthly spending doesn’t have to be a painful effort. Here are some easy ways to cut your spending if you’re looking to get started and see how much you can save.
Make Sure Your Home is Energy Efficient
A lot of people underestimate the importance of having an energy efficient home. It’s not only good for the Earth, but it can also help you keep your utility bills pretty low. Low flow fixtures can help you save money on your water bill and they’re easy to install.
Having the proper insulation along with a programmable thermostat can also keep your home warmer during the winter so you can withstand running the heat so often. Energy-efficient windows can help regular temperatures in the house and also reduce your overall heating and cooling costs.
Sometimes it doesn’t require a lot of effort or money to make your home more energy efficient. Just focus on taking it one step at a time. If you rent, you can request your landlord make certain changes or even help you cover the costs for them.
Stream TV Shows and Movies
I enjoy watching TV every week, but I’m not going to pay $100 – $300 per month on a cable bill and other miscellaneous bundled services. Cable companies are sneaky. They try to sell you expensive T.V. packages and bundle other services you may or may not need in order to make extra money.
An easy way to cut your monthly spending involves cutting the cord and streaming T.V. shows instead. Services like Hulu and Netflix are pretty cheap. We only have Netflix currently, and we use it to watch popular movies and T.V. shows.
I also watch some T.V. shows for free on YouTube. Finally, there’s always the library if you don’t want to stream content. You can always rent a movie or television show series for free.
Get Some Exercise
I enjoy having a gym membership although I do switch it up every now and then and cancel it. I like taking advantage of holiday sales when it comes to saving money on gym enrollment and monthly fees.
Sometimes you can even get a free 30-day trial at many gyms. Needless to say, you can always get rid of your gym membership and still get plenty of exercise in.
This is what I did when we were trying to save more money. I used to pay $125 per month for a kickboxing membership. I noticed I wasn’t going as often as I wanted so I decided to get rid of it.
I was still able to do active things like going on walks, riding my bike, hiking, and lifting weights at home. The best part? It was absolutely free.
Buy Snacks in Bulk to Keep In Your Car
This is one of my favorite easy ways to cut your monthly spending. My worst and most common impulse purchase is random snacks. I may be out and about running errands one day and feel the urge to stop for a soft drink or a snack.
As you can imagine, these little unplanned expenses can add up quickly over time. To avoid wasting all your extra money on sporadic snacking, buy snacks you like in bulk and keep them with you.
You can store snacks in your purse, backpack, car, etc. I literally have a box of granola bars that I keep in my trunk. It helps me satisfy my snack craving on the go without having to buy those expensive $3 or $4 granola bars in the gas station. I also bring my water bottle with me whenever I go somewhere so I won’t have to be tempted to buy beverages when I’m out either.
Switch to a Free Checking Account
Are you paying ridiculous checking account fees? You shouldn’t have to pay a ton of money just to keep your money at a bank. Check your account to see if you’re paying any avoidable fees.
Ask your bank if you can waive them in the future but be ready to switch if they refuse. There are tons of quality banks you can choose that don’t charge a ton of fees for no reasons.
Try an online bank like Capital One 360. There are no maintenance or overdraft fees and no minimum balance requirements. You can earn interest on your balance and open up over 20 different savings accounts for free.
Make Your Lunch and Coffee At Home
Stop eating your money. I’ll be the first to say that I enjoy dining out, but when I do it all the time it gets pretty old and doesn’t seem as special. Commit to picking how many times you can comfortably spend money on restaurant meals. Then, prepare your meals at home and bring your lunch to work most of the time.
You’ll easily save $1,000+ per year doing this. The same goes for coffee. Drive past Starbucks each morning and make your coffee at home instead. You’ll still get your caffeine fix but at a fraction of the cost.
Deciding to cut your monthly spending is one of the best ways to make sure you have enough cash flow to exceed your expected and unexpected needs. I encourage you go through your budget line by line to determine the best ways you can cut spending and save.
Which areas of your spending can you cut and how much do you expect to save as a result?