For many people, the major obstacle in personal finance is how to cut down on monthly spending. The easiest way to do this is to take a look at your monthly expenses and find ways to save. Many of your usual bills could even be somewhat small independently, but when you add them all together, it can cost quite a bit. Let’s take a look at some of the everyday monthly expenses and how to reduce them.
Reduce your energy consumption
You probably already know that energy bills are one of the biggest costs that any household faces. By reducing the amount of energy, you consume you will see a direct savings when it comes time to pay the bills. These are just some of the ways to cut your energy usage that are inexpensive to implement, drastically reduce energy consumption, and won’t change your quality of life.
Install energy efficient light bulbs that are four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. You can try using LEDs for the most efficient bulb, but at least opt for CFL’s. Unplug any devices that you are not using. Believe it or not, machines that are switched off still consume energy. Try using power strips that you can switch off and on to control how much power you use.
Install a thermostat that you can program so you can reduce the amount of heating and cooling used when you are not home or sleeping. By insulating your house better and sealing your home, you can save money on heating and cooling. To save money on your water bill, take shorter showers and even lower the temperature of your water heater for added energy savings.
Cancel any unused subscriptions
The first thing people often look to cut spending on is entertainment expenses, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. Take a look at your regular expenses for entertainment. Cancel any memberships or subscriptions that you don’t use enough to justify the cost.
Unless you are going to the gym at least a few times a week, cancel your membership. If you belong to an organization, but never go to the meetings cancel that as well. Review any subscriptions to newspapers or magazines and consider how often you really read the articles. Perhaps there is a free version available online you can use instead of paying for the subscription.
The same is true for television, movies and other types of entertainment subscriptions. The average cable bill is $103 per month so consider reducing the number of channels or eliminating the package altogether. Go through every type of service that you pay for on a monthly basis and get rid of anything you can. All of those $10 a month or so subscriptions really do add up.
Reduce the amount of retail spending
You might be like many Americans and overspend on clothes, shoes, outdoor gear, hairstyling tools, and all sorts of other retail items. If you are determined to constantly purchase new clothes and shoes, you can do a few things to save money.
By taking advantage of sales, special offers and deals, you can curb your monthly spending on retail goods without sacrificing your style. If you wait until the end of a season to go shopping, you will be able to buy the same stuff for a lot less. Sign up for any free loyalty programs and be on the lookout for any coupons.
Try shopping at smaller retail stores, and you are likely to save the most money on your retail purchases. Smaller stores usually have better prices compared to large department stores, but still offer the same well-known brands you’ve come to love. If you don’t have many small retail outlets near you, then take a look at what is available online. With a little bit of research and price comparison, you can look good for less.
Get the most out of your food
Food is a major budget item for any household and an area of concern for many American families. It seems impossible at times to eat well without paying for it, whether it’s in the wallet or the waistline. Look for any coupons and specials in the mail or in your newspaper. Sometimes buying the Sunday paper is well worth the cost in coupons.
Stop going out to eat so much and try to cook the same meals at home. When you do eat out, make sure to ask for a doggy bag and take home any leftovers. You can reuse the leftovers to make another meal. If you are the type who always goes out for lunch, consider packing a lunch even a few times a week instead.
Pay attention to the expiration date and cook or freeze consumable food items before they go bad. Every time you throw away food, you are throwing away your money. Try the generic brand of food and compare the ingredients. If the generic brand is similar enough to the name brand, then switch up your shopping list.