Money Health

How to Reduce Expenses and Save Money Every Month

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Cutting back on monthly expenses can feel impossible when there are so many things that seem to fall into the “must-have” category. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to spend less each month and still cover your necessities.

In fact, small tweaks can help make the difference in how much you pay for common expenses. From car insurance to groceries, there are many changes you can make today that could reduce your bills. Learn how to reduce expenses and save money every month with the following ideas.

Rethink your car insurance

Car insurance can be a hefty monthly bill. To reduce your car insurance costs, call your provider to see if you qualify for a better rate. Many insurance providers offer dozens of discounts that you can likely take advantage of, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Here are a few of them:

  • Anti-theft devices
  • Auto and homeowner’s coverage with the same company
  • Defensive driving courses
  • Drivers ed courses
  • Good credit record
  • Higher deductibles
  • Low annual mileage
  • Long-time customer
  • More than 1 car
  • No accidents in 3 years
  • No moving violations in 3 years
  • Student drivers with good grades

If you don’t drive a lot, you may also want to consider switching to a per-mile insurance option to save more money on your car insurance bills.

Cut back on entertainment costs

If you haven’t cut the cable cord yet, now may be the time. Doing so could drastically decrease your monthly entertainment bill. According to a recent study, cutting cable saves an average of $115.34 per month.

With so many streaming services available now, it’s easy to do away with this bill in favor of something cheaper. When choosing a streaming service, consider what’s most important, like local broadcasts. Note that most cable providers also offer some programs for free online, making it easy to stay up to date with all your favorite shows without the pricey bill.

Learn How to Save More on Entertainment Apps

Spend less on food

Learning how to reduce expenses and save money usually involves some adjustments to your food budget. Luckily, there are many ways to cut back on extraneous food costs, while still getting what you need to eat healthy. Here are a few tricks to try:

  • Buy non-perishable items like granola, beans, and rice in bulk, which can be cheaper than the boxed version.
  • Plan your meals. Instead of grabbing items haphazardly, you’ll buy foods you know you’ll eat, and you’ll waste less.
  • Buy foods that can be used more than once throughout the week. For example, chicken can be roasted with potatoes, sautéed with veggies, or mixed into pasta.

If eating out or ordering in is a regular expense for you, start with a small goal for cutting back, like eating out just twice each week instead of three times. On average, it’s almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home. Cutting back just one day a week will have an immediate impact.

Reduce your utility bills

Whether you own or rent, you know how expensive utilities can be, especially if you have the heat or A/C running a lot. The good news is that adjustments to your energy usage can help you drive down the cost of your monthly utilities, now and in the future. Here are a few ways to save on your energy bill:

  • Put a reminder by your door to turn off the heat or air conditioning so you don’t accidentally leave it on.
  • Unplug electronics, such as lamps, microwaves, toasters, and other appliances when they’re not in use.
  • Service your air conditioner once a year to ensure it’s running at top efficiency, allowing you to use less energy.
  • Cover your windows with plastic in the winter to avoid heat loss.

Don’t forget to contact your local gas and electricity provider as well. As Allstate explains, “Many utility companies have programs and incentives in place to help encourage their customers to cut back on energy consumption.”

Save on your cell phone

A cell phone is a necessity these days, but you may not need to pay as much as you are for yours. First, call your provider to review your current plan and data usage—you may be using less data than you think, allowing you to drop down to a lower tier. You may also be able to get a lower rate by signing up for automatic payments.

If you can’t get a lower rate and you don’t like options from other cell providers, consider other simple money-saving tactics like using Wi-Fi instead of data whenever you can. You can also go into your phone’s settings to find out which apps are using the most data, or download an app that will tell you and automatically close those apps for you.

Figuring out how to reduce expenses and save money sometimes just takes a little digging. In many cases, a simple phone call can help you save in just a few minutes. Use these ideas to spend less while still having great car insurance, a warm home, and other necessities.

Get free help with debt and money management

Cutting back on monthly expenses is a great start to improving your finances. Learning how to deal with debt, money, and planning for your future is the next step, and luckily, it doesn’t need to be hard. We have developed a simple to follow guide to help you find the tools you need to move to a better financial future. Get started by downloading our free guide right now.

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Jessica Thiefels is the CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting and has been writing for more than 10 years. She’s written for AARP, Reader’s Digest and Lifehack and regularly contributes to The Financial Diet, Homes.com and more.