11 Ways To Lessen Your Monthly Expenses

11 Ways To Lessen Your Monthly Expenses

Do you feel like you’re living month to month on your paychecks? Are you getting behind on your bills or feel overwhelmed by your monthly expenses? Learn more about lowering your bills and other monthly expenses.

Saving money, staying on top of bills, and tackling debt every month can be overwhelming. Whether your monthly budget needs a makeover or you just want to save a little extra month, here are some ways to lessen your bills and lower your monthly expenses.

Start With Creating A Budget

getting some cash in the wallet

Before you can lower your bills and some of your monthly expenses, it’s important to figure out your budget and know what you have to work with. Some financial experts recommend following the 50/30/20 budget.

This budget means that you use 50 percent of your paycheck (after taxes) on essentials, no more than 30 percent on luxuries or “wants,” and roughly 20 percent (or more) on savings or towards paying off debt.

While the 50/30/20 budget may not be an ideal formula for everyone, it’s a good starting point. Once you find a budget that works for you, don’t forget to reassess your budget and make it’s still working for you; always make sure you have a budget, regardless of your financial security.

Set Financial Goals

finance

If you spend money and don’t really pay attention to where it’s going, you may benefit from setting financial goals to help you lower your expenses. Whether your goal is to pay off your credit card bill by the holiday season or go on a trip for your 30th birthday, setting goals can help you keep the rest of your spending in check.

Lower Your Cost of Housing

stacking coins

Whether you rent or own, the cost of housing is likely one of your largest monthly expenses. There are many benefits to owning a home, but it can also play a huge role in your financial stress. If you want to see if you can lower your monthly expenses related to housing, you have a few options.

If you have good credit, you may be able to lower your interest rate by refinancing your mortgage. It’s not advisable for every homeowner, but you can explore your options by seeing who offers the best rates.

Renting an apartment or house may be your cheapest option in regards to housing, but there may be times when you feel like you’re just throwing money away. If you want to lower the cost of rent, you may want to consider downsizing, getting a roommate, or even willing to do some maintenance work for your landlord in exchange for discounted rent.

Lower Your Utility Bills

electricity meter

If you’re a homeowner, you may be spending more on monthly utilities than you need to and you may be able to lower some of the bills. If you haven’t considered energy efficient options like lightbulbs or water saving features, you should start exploring your options.

You may also want to consider a programmable thermostat or one that you can adjust from your smartphone while you’re on the go.

Reduce Your Grocery Bill

shopping receipt

Groceries are a must, but it can also be another one of your biggest expenses. The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion estimates that a family of four may spend between $700 and $1000 on groceries every month. Here are some ways to reduce your monthly grocery bill:

  • Use coupon apps like Ibotta and SnipSnap
  • Use in-store coupons
  • Buy store brands
  • Consider discount stores like Aldi
  • Buy fresh produce at your local Farmer’s Market
  • Grow your own food
  • Plan your weekly meals
  • Be careful buying in bulk to reduce food waste
  • Shop at discount clubs like Costco or Sam’s

Ditch Your Daily Splurges

coffee

Some people purchase a latte at their local coffee shop every day while others may treat themselves to a donut from a bakery or a glass of wine after work. Although all of these things may make the day more enjoyable, the costs can add up especially if it’s a daily or even weekly splurge.

If you stop for coffee every morning, consider making your own and treating yourself at the coffee shop once a week. Rather than hitting up happy hour every week, why not take turns hosting with friends? You are likely to find a nice bottle of wine for about the same cost as one or two glasses of wine at the bar.

Rethink Your Monthly Subscriptions

netflix

As you create your budget, you may come across some expenses that you forgot about, and many of these may be subscriptions to online services. Most streaming services for music, television, and movies are reasonably priced, but their costs can add up. Consider all of your monthly subscriptions.

Are you paying monthly fees for some of the services because you forgot to cancel after the free trial? Are there some subscriptions that you only use a few times a month? Depending on the cost of the subscriptions, you could save yourself a significant amount of money if you decide to get rid of some.

Another way to save money is by sharing accounts with someone you trust or find a service that has dual purposes such as Amazon’s free shipping and streaming.

If you live in a household that still receives newspapers or magazines, you may want to consider saving some money and opting to visit the online version. If you want a hard copy of an edition, you can always head to your newsstands.

Address Your Debt

passbook

Some people have very little debt while others feel overwhelmed by the amount they have every month. If you struggle to make payments on your monthly debt, you could be making the issue worse.

Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to lower your monthly payments by signing up for an income-based repayment plan, or by consolidating your credit card or loans. If you have good credit, you may be able to lower your interest rates.

While these options for lowering debt may not be ideal for everyone, they may be the perfect solution to staying on top of your debt.

Reconsider Your Car

car on traffic

For many Americans, a car is a “must have.” If you live in an urban area where mass transportation is easily available or if you live in a two-car household, you may want to consider selling your car. If you work from home or simply don’t drive your car all that much, you may be able to get away without owning a vehicle.

Depending on where you live, carpooling may be an option or you can rent a car when you need one for travel.

Shop Sales or Secondhand

selecting clothes

Excessive monthly spending is often a result of shopping for things that you don’t necessarily need. Whenever you shop, you should always consider the sale prices, and if you have time, you can even do a little research to find the lowest price.

Even if you are only purchasing things that are on sale, try to keep your spending to the things you need; it can be easy to overspend or overindulge when there are sales.

Buying secondhand is another great way to save money, but be mindful of what you’re buying as you may be better off buying new.

Should You Stay In or Go Out?

tv and bottle of beers

It’s a Saturday night, and your friends want to go out for drinks, dinner, and a movie. Getting out of the house is always fun, but before you solidify plans take a look at your budget.

Inviting friends over for dinner and watching a movie on a streaming service can be just as fun (if not more) and you can save a considerable amount of money, especially if everyone chips in and brings something.

You don’t have to pass on every opportunity that comes your way, but reducing the amount that you go out can help you save a lot of money every month.

​Final Thoughts On Lowering Your Monthly Expenses

All of the tips that we’ve shared with you for lowering your bills and other expenses are great places to start after assessing your budget. While one tip may not apply to you, there are others that may be the key to saving money.

As you change some of your spending habits, it’s important to remember to be patient with yourself and keep in mind that you may not see changes overnight. Financial changes may take a little time, but if you stick to a plan you’re likely to feel financial relief sooner than later.

If you are still overwhelmed by debt or can’t lower your expenses any more after trying some of our tips, consider talking to a financial professional or call a company, where you make monthly payments, and see if you can work out a plan or explore other options.

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