How to cut monthly expenses?
When you need to get serious with your money, it can come as a bit of a shock when you realize that it’s your monthly household expenses that are tipping you over into debt every month.
Even if you were a saint and never went out, never bought any clothes, never went to the movies, the money will keep being spent.
It’s down your household expenses, and these are areas that people can often miss.
On the grounds that you can’t get rid of these bills, so no point focusing on them.
In reality you really do want to focus on them because learning how to reduce your household expenses is key to you mastering your money.
And master it you must.
Cutting your monthly expenses, those regular bills, can make a real difference as those bills just keep turning up month after month.
Cut those expenses to the bone and you could be quids in.
Of course when you are looking for ways to save money you don’t want long, drawn out and difficult ideas, what you actually want, is simple and effective steps that you can do right now.
Tell me what to do and I’ll do it, type of thing.
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How To Drastically Cut Expenses
When you need to make big savings quickly you often think about how to drastically cut expenses.
And of course you can do a lot straight away, especially if you are willing to be a little different from those around you.
Extreme frugality is one way to make big savings quickly in addition to all the tips I talk about here.
You can also look at really creative ways to save money.
But cutting expenses to the bone can be achieved when you develop a strong frugal mindset and are prepared to make changes ahead of time.
That’s when you can really cut your monthly expenses because you don’t have many to start with.
5 Surprising Ways To Cut Household Expenses
If you are looking at how to cut monthly expenses drastically then it is often about being willing to do things differently.
To be a little bit different (or a lot) and be willing to not worry about what others may think or say.
Easier said than done I know.
1. Drink Water Instead Of Soda
Water is practically free in comparison to any other drink you may make or purchase. I’m obviously not talking about bottled water you purchase from the grocery store or corner shop.
I’m talking good, honest tap/faucet water from your home. Think about all the different drinks you purchase in a month and then think about how much you would save if you didn’t buy any of them.
- Fruit juices
- Bottled water
- Tea & coffee
Drinking just water for a whole month is a great example of how to cut monthly expenses to the bone – you are cutting your drinking costs out COMPLETELY.
2. Collect And Reuse Grey Water
There are plenty of typically normal ways to save money on your water bill.
But how about reusing your bath water to flush your loo?
Or using water from your washing machine to water your plants?
Reusing your grey water makes financial sense as it helps you to reduce one of your monthly expenses – your water bill.
3. Reduce Food Waste
Many households waste up to 30% of the food they buy. If you usually spend $600 then that’s nearly $200 of your precious money being wasted on thrown away food.
4. Cut Your Own Hair (Ladies)
Your hair never seems to stop growing does it? And so regular trips to a salon are part of your monthly expenses that you have had to just suck up and deal with.
Be different, cut your own hair or get your partner to do it for you. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you want advice or inspiration.
Think how much you could save if you never had to go to the salon again?
5. Declutter And Sell Or Donate
Decluttering your home and reducing how much you own is a great way to clear your mind and have a clean slate.
With less stuff around you, you have less temptation to buy more stuff as you won’t want to clutter.
To help your money situation more, why not see if you can sell your unwanted stuff? Or donate it to someone who could really use it.
How To Cut Monthly Expenses – Household
Ensure Subscriptions Are Still Relevant
Monthly subscriptions can be lethal for leaking money every month. You start out with the best of intentions about using certain services or products but things change, you change, life changes.
Make sure you are only paying for memberships or subscriptions for things you are actively using and can justify the expense to your self.
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Do I get value from this service (or product)?
- Can I find it cheaper?
- Do I need it or can I do without it for now?
Cancel any that fail these questions.
Renegotiate Utility Bills
Utility companies rely on us not questioning our utility bills. In some states and countries you have a choice of utility company to use.
This makes for a great way to save money as these companies always offer new customer discounts.
Even if you can’t change company, you can certainly contact your existing company and ask for a discount. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Look After My Bills is a fantastic new service in the UK that will automatically switch you to a new provider as your existing one becomes more expensive.
Not only is LAMB free to join, they keep checking the market and switch you again as your existing deal ends, so you know you will always be on the best deal. How fab is that?!
Shop Around For Your Insurances
Never let your insurances auto renew, whether that’s house insurance or your car.
Insurance companies often reserve their best offers for new customers only with existing customers getting a poorer deal.
When your renewal draws near do some price comparison work to find the best deal for your finances.
You can also contact your existing insurance company as they will often price match the best offer you find as a way to keep your custom.
Cut Your Energy Bills With New Bulbs
When we recently moved house we inherited a ton of old, inefficient light bulbs.
We have slowly replaced these with LED light bulbs as they are almost 400% more efficient than traditional ones and last for years.
Be A Champion Unplugger!
Many electronic devices continuously use a small amount of electricity when they are plugged in, even if not in use.
The worst culprits I found are phone chargers, microwaves (that little clock needs power) and TVs (standby still uses energy).
Use Power Strips
I know it can be a pain trying to turn off all the equipment you have in your living room and the like. Using a power strip allows you to switch them all off with just one button.
No need to keep these on standby just because you can’t reach the wall socket. A bonus is that your devices are protected from power surges when you use a surge protector power strip.
For more help with saving on your energy bills why not check out these posts:
Lower Your Thermostat
The higher your thermostat the more you will pay for your heating and cooling.
The trick here is to increase the temperature on your thermostat in the summer so if you have air con, it doesn’t kick in till the higher temperature has been reached.
In winter, keep your heating off as long as possible and when you do put it on, heat your house to a lower temperature.
Wear Extra Layers
To offset the coolness of your house because of the tip above, wear an extra layer or two in winter. There is nothing wrong with wearing 3 layers of clothing around the house.
In fact, who says you cannot wear a hat or mittens too? Your (heating) bill, your choice.
Turn The Lights Off
I am sure I am not alone in having walked around the house turning lights off after small children. But as an adult, do you turn the light off every time you leave a room?
It’s a small saving but these mount up over the month.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Take a trip down any grocery store and you will see (what feels like) mile after mile of cleaning products.
Firstly you don’t need a million different bottles to clean your home, 2 or 3 will do the job very nicely.
Secondly, making your own homemade cleaning products will save you money and reduce your household expenses – no need to keep buying.
Hang Your Clothes
Dryers are very convenient but they come with drawbacks. The main one being they bump up your energy bill.
Other drawbacks include; creased clothes, shrinkage and increased wear and tear on your clothing.
Doing your washing according to the weather forecast helps you to hang clothes out on dry, sunny or windy days. And it’s free!
On wet days you do not need to resort to your dryer, hang them on an indoor drying rack. I use this large drying rack for anything I cannot hang on a hanger in a doorway.
Doorway drying speeds up the process so hang shirts, trousers, skirts etc on hangers across your doorway – just mind your back when you bend to walk through!
Grow Your Own Food
You don’t need acreage to grow food, just a few raised beds or big garden pots can reward you with a crop of tomatoes, salad leaves and much more.
For more benefits of growing your own food check out this post:
Buy Generic Medicines
Have you ever read the small print of generic medicines versus branded versions?
If you have, you’ll notice that there is little to no difference in the medicine recipe. Buying generic medicines makes good financial sense especially when you are wanting to cut everyday expenses.
Say Goodbye To The Window Cleaner
Go DIY and clean your own windows. Not only are you likely to get a better finish (you know those missed corners always annoyed you) but you can use newspaper and vinegar to get a sparkling finish.
It’s what our grandparents used. Newspaper and vinegar are also the best thing for your mirrors.
Buy Used Or Refurbished
When you buy used instead of new you can seriously reduce your expenses in one go. Buying used, you could save up to 90% on the new price.
You can buy almost anything new or refurbished. Buy from places like:
- FaceBook Marketplace
- Thrift stores & charity shops
- Yard and car boot sales
How To Cut Monthly Expenses – Your Grocery Budget
Cook From Scratch
Fresh ingredients cost less than ready meals and significantly less than restaurant meals.
Your home cooked meals are also likely to be healthier as you can decide what to put in them.
Drop Down A Brand
Much like generic medicines, generic food products are often made with the exact same ingredients just different packaging, from branded goods.
But cost much less, as in up to 400% less. My favorite example for this is canned (baked) beans.
Here in the UK the prices in Asda Walmart for a 400g can are:
Value brand Asda own brand Heinz (premium) brand
22p 29p 85p
Need I say more?
Every good (small) grocery budget starts with a meal plan.
Planning out the meals you are going to have in advance allows you to create a bespoke shopping list that has the exact ingredients you need for next week’s food, and no more.
For meal planning help you can take advantage of the $5 meal plan. For just $5 a month you get meal plans and shopping lists emailed to you every week.
Different diets catered for and you can use this even if not US based (it took me months to work out this basic tip!)
Given we can waste up to 30% of all the food we buy, $5 a month for recipes and a grocery list emailed to you every week will definitely help you cut your monthly grocery expense.
And you can start with a 14 day FREE trial, that way you can get a feel for how it will work for you, without spending any money.
Stick To Simple Meals
Meals can vary enormously in cost, from pennies to mega bucks depending on the ingredients you use.
Choose simpler, more homely meals and they will reward you with tastiness and low cost.
Related post: 55 Cheap And Easy Meals You Are Going To Love
Use Your Leftovers
Linked to reducing your food waste and keeping your grocery budget nice and low, is the need to use your leftovers up.
Unless you are brilliant at portion sizing then you are likely to have leftovers from some meals.
These can form lunches, other meals or a smorgasbord of tasty treats one night.
The most important thing is to not throw them away!
Don’t Eat Out
Eating out or having food delivered is a very expensive way of getting the fuel your body needs to function.
And they are also one of the easiest ways to reduce household expenses by just not having them in your grocery budget anymore.
If that is too big a step today then reduce how much you spend on these and keep reducing until you find your sweet spot.
Coupons can be a great way to reduce your household expenses, especially your grocery budget. But only when done wisely.
Coupons are great if they mean you save money on the food you would normally buy.
Or you buy something with a coupon because it works out less than if you bought another product.
But do not fall into the trap of buying products just because you have a coupon.
I hardly ever (as in way less than once a month) use coupons now.
Because we cook from scratch, buy value or generic store brands there are very few coupons for the products we buy.
I also shop in Aldi & Lidl and they rarely have coupons. Instead they offer low prices which help me save money on my groceries without clipping coupons.
Keep a Running Grocery List
Meal planning will provide you with the bulk of your grocery list.
Keeping a running list for things you run out of during the week helps you keep your store cupboards stocked to the right level without having 3 of everything there.
How To Cut Monthly Expenses Through Your Everyday Expenses
One of the biggest challenges you face when you’re in debt or trying to create your budget is to work out HOW you can spend less money.
Cutting your everyday expenses gives you a head start on saving money and getting back on track with your budget.
Pack Your Lunch
If you usually buy lunch out then consider this little sum:
Lunch $8 x 5 days = $40 x 50 weeks = $2,000
Think what you could do with an extra $2,000 every year. Packing your own lunch is an easy way to learn how to cut monthly expenses and you’ll see the results straight away.
I’ve always packed my lunch in an insulated bag like this one.
It keeps my lunch cool and there’s no chance of a naughty colleague helping themselves to my lunch when it’s by my side!
Make Your Own Coffee
I get that buying a coffee can be a treat but often it’s just a habit. Making your own coffee to go is one of the easiest ways to cut this expense right down.
I use a hot drinks flask like this one and it goes everywhere with me. To work, on walks and even when I am out shopping.
No temptation to buy a coffee when you have a ready made one in your bag.
Reduce Beauty Expenses
I know having your nails done on a regular basis is a nice treat but if you are now all about saving money then there are ways to maintain your beauty regime but on a reduced budget.
Do your own nails or partner up with a friend to do each others.
Swap your expensive shampoos and beauty products for generic or something cheaper.
Use Your Library
Your local library can be a gold mine of free things to do. Books, DVDs and community events are all held at your library and are crying out to be used.
Read Free Kindle Books
Have A No Spend Week Or Month
Creating a no spend challenge is a great way to cut your living expenses quickly. If you regularly spend at the weekend, why not try a no spend weekend challenge?
If you spend multiple times every day then a no spend challenge for a whole week will help you press reset on spending.
Dump Your Gym Membership
You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get fit.
I know some gyms come with additional leisure perks but when you are on a mission to learn how to cut monthly expenses, the gym is an easy one to cut.
Work out at home, you don’t need any special equipment. Use YouTube to inspire your workouts.
Stay At Home
I don’t mean be bored and stay at home, I mean find things to do at home instead of always heading out.
When you go out to find entertainment and fun it usually ends up costing you money.
Have you ever managed to go to the mall and NOT buy something?
And when you go to the movies do you always bring your own secret snacks or do you ‘treat’ yourself to some nachos and a coke?
Go To The Park
You don’t need to have kids to take a walk in the park. Walking outside has many health benefits as well as not costing you anything.
Fresh air and the enjoyment of the natural world around you are just two benefits.
How To Cut Monthly Expenses And Gain The Extra Money
Cutting your monthly expenses makes good financial sense.
The big ticket items in your budget such as housing, debt repayments and health insurance (in the US) aren’t very flexible.
And you may have already cut those where you can. But your monthly bills most definitely are flexible.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference and this is certainly true for your money.
As the saying goes: “look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves”.
For more help in saving money and making your money stretch further these posts will help:
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