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6 Ways To Reduce Your Monthly Expenses

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Are you living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to make ends meet? There might be two reasons for this: you might have an income problem or an expense problem. An income problem means that your earnings don’t cover your living expenses and you’ve done everything in your power to reduce any extra and non-necessary spending. This can only be fixed by making more money.

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The expense problem, on the other hand, means that you are spending too much beyond your necessities and then some and are still struggling. So, you need to find out it if this is your case.

First, I hope you have a budget and that you know everything you’re spending your money on. If you don’t, your first step would be to create a budget plan. I have a post about budgeting that you can check out here. A budget helps you figure out if your monthly paycheck is enough to cover all of your expenses. This is where you can start tweaking things if you find that you can’t save or you are living paycheck-to-paycheck or that your income is not sufficient for your expenses.

Staying within budget and making sure you don’t spend more than you earn is one of the most difficult challenges in our day-to-day lives. Luckily, there are ways to help you achieve this goal so you can start saving for the most important things in life. So, here are 6 ways to help you reduce your monthly expenses so you can pay off debt or start your savings journey.

1. Keep track of your money

Make sure you know exactly where your money is going. Access your bank account and check you recent transactions. You might have automatic payments coming out of your bank account regularly and not even be aware. You might have signed up for a service that you no longer use. This goes for magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, etc.  Cancel your gym membership for example and find another way to exercise for free. If you did your budget correctly, you would have figured this out during that process. Make sure you check your bank accounts and credit cards regularly to ensure that you don’t have unexpected expenses.

2. Eating out and drinking out

Foods and drinks tend to cost a lot more when you are eating and drinking out. If you find yourself spending a lot at bars and restaurants, it’s a good idea to limit the number of times you go out or find a way to do it for cheaper. For example, you can limit yourself to one drink or just order the main course and skip entrees and desserts when going to the restaurant.

Try going out to restaurants when they are offering a discount or when they have specials.  For example, I only go out to eat wings when it’s wings night. This way I get a lot more for my money’s worth. You can enjoy occasional trips to the restaurants, to the movies or to the bar but try not to make it a habit. You will be surprised how much money you will be saving if you do.

Do your best to bring your lunch to work every single day. This will prevent you from purchasing too often at fast food restaurants. When you bring your food to work, you won’t want to waste it and will consume it. Personally, I find that this trick works well for me. I don’t like wasting food, so when I bring my lunch to work I am not tempted to buy food. If you have co-workers who make it a habit of inviting you to order out for lunch everyday, this is a great excuse for them. By doing this you will not only save money but you will also eat healthier foods and be certain of what’s in your plate.

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3. Cable

Do you really watch TV regularly or do you just occasionally watch movies and TV shows online? If you are usually online there’s really no need for you to keep paying for cable.

If you are paying full price for cable and not really enjoying it cancel it and find a cheaper alternative. There are so many options out there to be able to watch your favorites TV shows and programs for free or cheaper. Honestly if there’s one thing I hate, it’s getting ready to watch my TV shows and just having it paused for every 5 minutes for advertising. This is why I prefer Netflix for example. This way, I can save a lot of money and enjoy my TV shows at the same time.

However, if you like watching TV, try bargaining with your cable company to see if there is a way for them to reduce the price you are paying by downgrading. Focus for example on the channels you watch the most and try to see if they offer options to pick and choose the channels you enjoy for cheaper.

4. Unsubscribe from automatic email offers

We are all guilty of this one. We sign up for email offers and regularly receive email notifications about all kinds of products from our favorite stores. If you want to save money, I suggest you unsubscribe from all these stores. This will reduce temptation and prevent you from buying unnecessary things.

Look at it this way, if it took an email from a store to make you realize you need the product, you really don’t need it. Or else you would have already found a way to purchase it. If it’s not a necessity, you don’t need to spend money on it while you are on a savings journey.

5. Trips or vacation

Traveling can be expensive, especially if you do it often. If you usually just travel for fun and not for business and it’s now important to you to save money, you need to either stop traveling or really reduce the number of times you travel. You can also find ways to travel for really cheap.

The problem with traveling is that it’s very difficult to plan how much money you will be spending. The expense doesn’t stop at your plane ticket or bus fare. There are hotel room expenses, food expenses as well as transportation. Remember, that food can be really expensive when you eat out, especially if you do it often. Transportation can also be tricky especially if you are in a new city you are not familiar with.

6. Get rid of your car

Owning a car can be very expensive. Not only does their value constantly go down, but the amount of gas they consume can be ridiculous. If this was the only issue, it would not be so bad. The problem is that you need to think about the car payments, the car insurance then the gas and don’t forget about the maintenance and parking. These payments can add up to a lot in a month.

The other problem with owning a car is that it’s not reliable sometimes and you might have unexpected expenses like car repairs and these things ruin a budget.

If you have easy access to public transportation, you can save a lot of money on car expenses. For a small percentage of the cost of owning a vehicle, you can get around a lot using public transportation.

Another option for transportation would be to carpool. You can use this option if you have a car or if you would like to get rid of your car. If you keep your car you can offer carpooling services for work to people who are not too far from your destination. This way, you can save on some of the expenses of owning a car.

If you get rid of your car you can carpool to work with friends or coworkers and save money.

So, if you can find a way to forego the car completely you’ll be able to save a lot of money. If you don’t leave in an area where public transportation is reliable and you absolutely need a car to get around, you might want to think about purchasing a reliable second-hand car that doesn’t consume too much gas. You avoid car payments altogether. Do your best to shop around as much as possible for the best car value.

Bottom Line

Try implementing these tips gradually in you life and you will certainly notice the change in your bank account. Remember, when you are in a journey to pay off debt or save for important things and you are living on a tight budget, you need to be strict and watch your expenses very closely to be able to achieve your goals.

Posted in Pers. Finance, Saving Money



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