Cut These 10 Monthly Expenses and Crush Your Budget – Today!

Are you on a mission to cut your monthly expenses?

When we first took out our mortgage our basic monthly expenses were high as we were also paying for full time childcare.

We started slowly building debt as we were living beyond our means.

Buying your first house is always more expensive than you think it’s going to be and it’s not always possible to suddenly start earning more to keep pace with your increased budget.

When we decided to knuckle down and try to live within our means we had to look at what our monthly expenses were and see where we could cut back.

I think most of us presume we are spending our money wisely as no-one would willingly waste money just for fun!

What we found surprising was there are plenty of money saving ideas to cut bills in everyone’s budget without feeling the pinch, even if it is just pennies.

There are many bills and monthly expenses you can’t cut completely but these money saving ideas will help you to free up more money.

Related post: Cut your budget with tips from the experts

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

Cut these monthly expenses, reduce your bills and save money. Money saving tips and budgeting tips to help you manage your money. Personal finance tips and frugal living tips. Save money today! #savemoney #moneygoals #money #savingmoney #moneytips #bills #budgeting #finances

 10 Monthly Expenses You Can Cut to Crush Your Budget Today

1.Your Dryer

We unplugged the dryer and vowed never to use it unless an emergency. Every load we dried probably cost around 50p in electricity.

As a family of 4 with Mr2p working in the construction industry and 2 kids we washed a lot of clothes.

I got used to line drying throughout the year and using upstairs doorways to hang everything along with an indoor airer up against a radiator.

We always ensured we had an air flow to take away the moisture.

Related reading: 25 tried & tested money saving tips

2. Haircuts

My haircuts weren’t super expensive as I had very long, straight, fine hair but the ends got straggly really quick so regular cutting was necessary.

I decided to cut it myself for many years with Mr2p taking over when I wore it shorter.

Mr2p has used his own clippers for 20 years now to cut his own hair every month. A straight over number 3 with a neck shave from me and he is done.

You can find tutorials on YouTube to learn how to cut different styles and pick up a set of clippers and special scissors for less than the price of one haircut.

3. Paper Towels

My brother goes through rolls and rolls of paper towels using it for everything from napkins to wiping up spills to blowing his nose.

Paper towels aren’t expensive but they are an unnecessary expense.

We stopped buying them and used cloth napkins and washable kitchen cloths for spillages.

Now I wouldn’t know what to do with a paper towel roll if I bought it!

close up of a round rail of colored shirts hanging up

4. New Clothes

We each had a wardrobe full of clothes with many items hardly being worn.

We committed to wearing what we had and necessary replacements coming from charity/thrift shops.

New items could still be purchased for birthdays and Christmas.

This included the children where possible but not always as they were still growing and choices were sometimes limited.

DD1 received an monthly allowance once she reached 14 which included money for new clothes.

Related post: Why you should create your own work uniform

5. Processed Convenience Food

I’m not talking takeaways or take out here (although they went as well). I’m talking processed beige food, potato shapes, potato waffles, breaded chicken and the like.

These are easy, no thinking meals that don’t take any effort or time to prepare.

But that convenience increases your monthly expenses.

Save your money by cutting the beige food out and lower your grocery bill.

An added bonus is you will eat healthier meals.

You might want to have one evening a week with home cooked junk food, as a treat or if both of you are working late.

We allow ourselves fish and chip Fridays but not from the chippy, we cook these at home.

6. Fabric Softener

Fabric softener is not hugely expensive but it’s not a necessity. You don’t need fabric softener even if you live in a hard water area.

Yes our towels are pretty rough when newly washed but people pay good money to buy sugar scrubs and the like in the pursuit of softer skin.

Line dried towels do this for you for free!

basket of fresh fruit and veggies on a table

7. Replacing Thrown Out Food

As a nation we throw away roughly one third of the food that we buy and then don’t eat.

I’m not even going to talk about people around the world going hungry.

We throw away one third of the food we buy!!

Why do we do that? Needless to say this is an area you can cut costs by becoming masters at minimizing your food waste.

An over ripe banana can be the makings of banana bread. Limp vegetables can be turned into yummy homemade soup.

Reduce your monthly expenses by not throwing away any food you buy. You are also doing your bit for the environment by not wasting food.

Related reading: 13 killer ways to save money on groceries

8. Buy Makeup

You can spend a fortune on makeup these days, £30 for a small palette of 9 eye colors is normal.

If you bought mid range full face makeup you could be looking at over £80 straight away.

Add in color choices and the potential cost saving continues to rise.

I continued to wear the make up I had but bought no more, saving any new purchases for birthday present lists.

I subsequently stopped wearing it completely, partly to save time and partly because why should I?

Why do women feel we need to wear makeup anyway?

Related reading: 10 things I don’t do or buy

9. Top Brands

Brands spend a fortune on marketing their products to encourage us to believe that top brands are better.

They may be slightly different, sometimes better, sometimes meh!

But top brands cost more than own brand equivalents. We down branded all our grocery shopping, dropping to value brands in the main.

We kept the odd branded item (Marmite!) and cut our grocery bill.

10. Gym Membership

I know some people swear by their gym membership. Others pay for it every month with great intentions to start going again but never do.

We had gym memberships on and off in the early years but decided this was a monthly expense we could drop.

Mr2p set up a second-hand weights bench in the garage and whoever was undertaking housework made sure they did it with gusto, thereby having a mini workout.

Related reading: 15 tips to save $14,000 a year!


Cut these 10 monthly expenses and crush your budget today. We cut them out and have never looked back.

  • Stop using a tumble dryer
  • Cut your own hair at home
  • Stop buying paper towels
  • Wear what you have or buy second-hand
  • Cut out junk food
  • Bin the fabric softener
  • Stop food waste
  • Become makeup free
  • Buy a brand or two down
  • Dump the gym membership

What monthly expenses are you willing to cut to free up money? Are you on a mission to pay off debt and live within your means?

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

Cut these monthly expenses, reduce your bills and save money. Money saving tips and budgeting tips to help you manage your money. Personal finance tips and frugal living tips. Save money today! #savemoney #moneygoals #money #savingmoney #moneytips #bills #budgeting #finances
Cut these monthly expenses, reduce your bills and save money. Money saving tips and budgeting tips to help you manage your money. Personal finance tips and frugal living tips. Save money today! #savemoney #moneygoals #money #savingmoney #moneytips #bills #budgeting #finances
Cut these monthly expenses, reduce your bills and save money. Money saving tips and budgeting tips to help you manage your money. Personal finance tips and frugal living tips. Save money today! #savemoney #moneygoals #money #savingmoney #moneytips #bills #budgeting #finances

Last Updated on 21st February 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

12 thoughts on “Cut These 10 Monthly Expenses and Crush Your Budget – Today!”

  1. Is that really what running a tumble dryer costs? Ours runs constantly at the weekends, I might have to rethink that.
    This year I’ve made a big effort not to buy clothes. Not that I’ve ever been that interested in them but I would buy a few bits whenever the new season catalogue got delivered. I’ve cancelled it now and haven’t missed it – out of sight is out of mind.
    Ms ZiYou’s post on the beauty tax is one of my all-time favourites – I resent the pressure to conform so much. I’m wearing less and less makeup, I don’t think it will be long before I ditch it altogether because as you say – why should we?

    • I can’t quote the research study but remember it being bandied about some time ago and it always stuck in my mind. My electric bill certainly went down by more than £1 when I stopped using our tumble dryer! Catalogues definitely suck you in don’t they? I’ve dabbled with buying via catalogues in the past but never found it a satisfactory experience – probably because my weight used to fluctuate and the sizing never worked right (aka I bought too small a size!)

  2. Great list, I can see why you are so close to achieving your goals!

    I have a washer dryer, only because when the family come to visit, they often need something washed and dried quickly before they leave. I never use it myself and also don’t use fabric conditioner.

    I’ve only bought 2 items of clothing so far this year (a pair of socks and a dress as a birthday treat – total cost £12!) – I have a wardrobe and cupboards full of clothes and need to have a big clear out as I’ll never be able to wear them all.

    I waste very little food as I have a loose plan of what I eat most weeks so shop accordingly. When I do buy the occasional ‘beige’ food, it’s because I fancy something different!

    I don’t wear a lot of make up so don’t spend a lot on it. When I buy it, I use Boots points, which I always have a lot of due to the purchases I make for the family so zero cost!

    I have my hair cut and the greys covered every 10 weeks or so for £55 (which includes my 10% regular customer discount) – apparently this is cheap compared to what my friends and colleagues pay for their haircuts.

    Giving up my premium gym membership which I’ve used for nearly 20 years would be a sacrifice and I don’t believe in making sacrifices just to achieve my FIRE goal. As mentioned previously, it’s more of a sports and social club, I meet my friends there, can relax in the sauna, jacuzzi, eat in the restaurant and watch football matches without having to subscribe to Sky myself. That said, I would not like to work out exactly how much I’ve paid in membership over the years but it’s my only extravagance, if you could call it that!

    Oh and I do use paper towels but a roll of 3 lasts for many months – perhaps there aren’t many spillages in my house!

    • Your gym memberships sounds like a good deal when so much is included and your life is obviously nicely intertwined with it. I’d pay for a membership like that too to be honest! I’m still waiting for the grey to make an appearance – I know they must be there, my hairbrush occasionally confirms this but they don’t make their presence felt. You got a bargain there for £12, I can’t remember when I last bought myself something clothing wise – apart from an expensive pair of hiking shoes. I don’t count those as they’re ‘equipment’ 🙂

  3. I love that so much of list coincides with being making less of an impact on the environment as well. Re. haircuts, when I lived in London I always gone mine done for free at hairdressing schools. I had one bad experience (they chopped my hair into a super short bob, although with my permission), but otherwise I must have saved 100s of pounds! I’ll have to check if the same ones are still around when I’m back.

    • Our local college certainly does cheap haircuts and beauty treatments – not that I’ve ever been there of course! Glad you found them as it’s so helpful for the students to practice on real people. I hadn’t twigged about the environmental bonus but you are so right!

  4. We did a few items on your list, saves significantly. We have a garden, fresh fruits, and vegetables not only are cheaper than the market, they taste better and we know there are no toxic chemicals sprayed on them. I rarely wear makeup, hubby tells me I am naturally beautiful, I don’t need it. So most of the time I don’t except on special occasions. Store brands are packaged in the same facilities as the national, heavily advertised brands. I have no desire to pay more for a package that is going in the recycling bin.
    We have a wind and solar powered clothing dryer, it is called a clothes line. We use it on nice days. Hard to get clothes dry when it is raining, so I still do use my dryer.
    You may think this was a crazy move, but I had my husband give me a haircut shortly after we met, it was our 3rd date. I had a really horrible haircut and salon experience nearly a year before and I mentioned that I needed a haircut, but didn’t want to go to the salon. He mentioned he could cut my hair for me and I asked for details. He explained the process of how he would do it, that he had the right tools, and that he had cut the hair of women friends many times. So I said please give me a haircut, and he did. I told him my hair needed a lot off, it was bad. He said he could trim off the damaged ends and shape it up taking off only a couple inches. So I said great, let’s go for it. So after I had the towel around my shoulders, he combed out, sectioned and pinned up my hair with clips. Let the sections down in 1/2” increments and trimming each layer. I admit I was nervous as I heard the shears snipping my hair, but figured it was too late to back out. When he finished he swept up the clippings, ahowed me the dust pan, not much there and I dashed for the bathroom mirror. He handed me a hand mirror to check the back. He took off maybe only an inch and a half, but my hair looked great. I was extremely pleased with the free haircut I just got from my new boyfriend. I told him he was now my regular stylist and he has trimmed my hair for me ever since. He now gives my two boys their monthly haircuts, has cut my mom’s hair for her as well as giving my best friend haircuts and she is very picky about her hair. The home salon/barbershop route saves me hundreds of dollars a year and never a bad haircut, plus the time going to the shop and paying for a lesser quality haircut. It’s not being cheap it is being smart.

    • What a lovely comment from your husband Carolyn! I’m impressed you let him cut your hair on your 3rd date but it’s so true about saving hundreds with home haircuts. I am so stealing your description of your clothes dryer – wind and solar powered – love it! Because we are not a large family I could get clothes dry inside on wet days by hanging most things on hangers in bedroom doorways although I would struggle if there had been more than 4 of us. Some nights it was like doing the limbo to get in and out of the bedrooms! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Yes, it was crazy! And looking back, I often wonder if I would have again, but being he has been doing it for me now for several years, I do not regret it for a second. He had just cooked me a great meal, he is a better cook than me and now he does 99% of the cooking. My sister invites herself over when she hears what he is cooking. I figured being he told me he could cook and then cooked me a great meal, and then he told me he could cut my hair for me, he had the proper tools and explained exactly how he would do it first before he ever reached for the shears I thought why not take him up on his offer. Another factor was that I did not have the money in my budget for a trip to the salon as I had just started a new job, my ends were looking very ratty plus the thought of being able to avoid the salon, made the offer too tempting to pass on. I figured he could do no worse than the salon, it wouldn’t cost me anything and my backup plan was if he screwed up I would have told him he was taking me to get it fixed on his dime. My mother noticed I had my hair cut and told me it looked very nice the next day. She was not happy though when she heard who had cut it for me. She thought it was a control thing, I should not have let him do it, I should go to the salon and spend the money, etc. however when he began giving my boys their haircuts, she had an entirely different tune, she thought it was great, he did a great job, no more bad hack jobs at the barbershop, it will save me alot of money and so on. Last year her regular salon was sold and the new owner not only gave her a bad haircut, but had raised the price $22 for the haircut, it was now $46 and she tipped. She complained about the price being too expensive , the bad haircut and how she could have gotten a better haircut from my husband for free. A few months later she was visiting and it was the boys’ night for haircuts and she watched as hubby did them and mentioned she needed a trim, but she was not ever going back to that salon. She continued chatting and told each of the boys how handsome they looked with their haircuts and how he had done such a nice job as each was finished. After he finished the second, I joked for her to have a seat as she was next! And she did! Hubby said ok, placed the cape around her shoulders and asked how much she wanted off. She was confused about the measurement of inches, fractions, etc. and hubby held up his hand and asked her how many fingers worth. She said the width of his thumb and he trimmed her hair, a simple shoulder skimming bob about an inch. She checked the mirror, smiled and said he did a nice job and she liked the price of free. She has had him cut it several more times for her, same cut and she has totally dropped the drama about him cutting my hair. No apologies, but no drama either as he saves her $50 each time. She is very frugal, I will giver her that.

        • Your hubby sounds like he must have been a stylist in a former life, as well as a chef. My hubby (Mr2p) does majority of the cooking when we are both home. He likens cooking to a chemistry set – it’s all about experimentation, it’s a very day when his experiments fail. Food always tastes much better when someone else is cooking.

          • My hubby is into gardening, growing many herbs of basil, garlic, parsley, sage, dill, as well as kale, tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc. i never used spices in my cooking, just salt and pepper, so in comparison, my food was bland. He even got me to eat peppers and onions, as he makes an awesome sausage, peppers and onions. I though he was crazy offering it to my boys, but they loved the pickled garlic from dill pickles we canned. He even canned a jar of garlic alone. They would take a couple pieces on their plate and eat it at dinner. I was surprised that it really is good. So I think the difference in his cooking is that he likes to use the spices in cooking. My mother gets upset if hubby is making burgers on the grill and she is not invited. He sautés onions and mushrooms in butter with a little garlic clove, my mouth waters when I smell him cooking it.
            This morning he made me a cheese omelette and he made my son one with sausage, black olives, peppers and onions as well. Eggs were from our chickens. He is artsy in his cooking like that. He does like to try new things to up his game, I guess you would call it. He is retired from the military, and ate way too many meals in the chow hall, deployed, etc. so he prefers to eat at home, what he cooked. As for being good withbthe shears and clippers, he had a female friend who was a hairdresser that would give him free haircuts and one day she told him that she needed one, so it was his turn to give her a free haircut. She walked him though it, did a good job, and cut her hair for her in return for his free ones. And when female friends hear you are good with the shears and are not scissor happy, he got practice fixing bad salon haircuts and giving trims to long haired friends. So basically he came pretrained before I met him and he had the proper tools, which was the part that convinced me to have him cut my hair. So it really wasn’t so impulsive and crazy.

          • Sounds like your hubby is very similar to mine – he no longer likes to eat out as he feels we can eat much better at home (usually with him cooking) and he had years of the mass produced food hall fare that tends to scream bland and takes the joy out of eating. I think I’m going to have to cook an omelette for dinner tonight (my turn to cook) as your husband’s sausage omelette sounds delicious!

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