Tips for Reducing Monthly Expenses

It is no secret that people want to save money. What does seem to be a secret is how to go about saving that money. 

*Subscriptions. Stop paying for magazine subscriptions that you do not use or want anymore. It can be a hassle to cancel these subscriptions, but it is worth saving that money. If you have cable service, you may want to consider canceling it. You can stream television shows and movies through your internet and watch them at your desk top computer or laptop. Video game subscriptions are another thing to consider canceling in order to save extra money. Book clubs, make-up clubs and other similar clubs cost money to be involved in; you can actually save quite a bit by canceling these memberships. In order to not cut out every bit of fun, you can find many of these types of items by searching online auction websites, and often for less than what you were paying! 

*Utilities. This is simple; when not in use, turn off the lights. Do not stand with the refrigerator door open. When you are not using your computer and television, turn them off. Do not have windows/doors open while the heat/AC is running.

*Cell phone. This one can get people in trouble if they are not careful. Make sure you pay attention to your usage and allowed plan features. If your plan does cover internet usage, then stop going online. Make sure you are staying within your allowed voice minutes and text messages. Try getting on a shared or family plan in order to save some extra cash.

*Groceries. Shop the sales! Use coupons. Stop buying name brand items, store/generic label items are just as good and much cheaper. Another good rule of thumb is to only buy what you can use right away. This rule applies to things that have a short shelf life like milk, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables and breads. You can actually save by buying certain things in bulk like meat, canned goods and dry pasta. Bulk meat like ground beef can be divided into meal size portions and frozen until you are ready to use it. Avoid buying a lot of an item if you do not use it very often, even if the sale is really spectacular. The last bit of advice here is to never go grocery shopping when you are hungry! You will end up trying to buy everything but what you actually need.

*Spontaneous purchases. This is one of the biggest ways people end up spending a lot of extra money each month. Impulse buying is not a good thing. The new wave of impulse buying is online. There are so many websites that make it easy to buy items spur of the moment. People really need to stop themselves from hitting the “add to cart” button and ask themselves if they really need that item in the first place. 

*Entertainment. Most people like to treat themselves to night out once in awhile and there is nothing wrong with that. It can become expensive when that “once in awhile”, turns into several times a week. This applies to concerts, clubs, movie theaters and even miniature golf. Why not save that money and actually make the next time you go out an actual treat? 

*Smoking/drinking alcohol. Quitting smoking reduces health risks and will leave a nice chunk of change in your bank account. The same can be said for alcoholic beverages. 

*Dining out. Going out to eat is fun and a nice break from cooking at home. That is, unless you do it several times a week, then it is expensive. It takes fuel to get to the restaurant (fuel is not cheap these days), money for the meal, money for the tip, and then fuel to get back home. Okay, the fact is some people do not feel like cooking a meal after they have worked all day; this is understandable. The solution? Nuke it food. There are some pretty decent choices in microwave eats in your grocer’s freezer section. No, microwave dinners are not as nice as restaurant food, but they will save you money and the hassle of having to dress up to go to the restaurant.

You can sometimes slash some of your monthly expenses in half. The trick to this is actually paying attention to where the money is going, and by how much. Sometimes people get so used to just paying whatever the bill says, that they end up overpaying, or even being charged for items/services they did not receive. Another way to save big is by not making spontaneous purchases. These “great” buys can really add up quickly. 

One idea is to sit down and make a list of all your monthly expenses. Figure out what you can cut out or at least cut down on each month. Another tip is to keep a close eye on your bank statements. If you spot any unfamiliar charges, call the number associated with the charge, or call your bank for more information about them.