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How to Cut Monthly Expenses


Cutting Monthly Expenses

Whether you want to pay off debt or save for a big purchase, one of the best things you can do to save money is to cut monthly expenses. But you don't have to change your life completely to save a little money each month.  By looking for small ways to change your spending habits, you should be able to save money and maintain your current lifestyle.

Start by looking at your recurring expenses and decide what you absolutely need and what you can do without. Here are five ways to cut monthly expenses.

1. Food

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spends about $7,000 on food per year. Out of that, about $3,000 is spent on restaurant meals or other food outside the home, which comes to $250 per month. By keeping track of how often you eat out and deciding to eat at home a few more times per week, you should be able to lower your monthly food expenses.

Another easy way to cut costs is at the grocery store. If you plan all your meals for the week in advance and make a grocery list before going to the store, you should be able to avoid impulse buys and stick to your budget.

2. Utilities

Utility bills, such as electricity, gas, and water, are another easy area to reduce monthly spending. Turning down the heat at night or when you're not home, using fans instead of air conditioners, maximizing load sizes on laundry day, taking shorter showers, and turning the water off while doing the dishes are all fairly easy ways to lower your energy bills. All these small adjustments added together can lead to big savings each month.

3. Cable and Phone Bills

Other than rent and food, your cable and phone bills are likely your two biggest monthly expenses. You could save a lot of money by adjusting one or both of these services. But you'll need to ask yourself a couple of tough questions:

Do you really need cable? Today, there are a number of inexpensive streaming services you could turn to instead of paying that hefty monthly cable bill.

Are you sure that you're getting the biggest bang for your buck with your cell phone service? Lower-cost plans and carriers are numerous, so it's worth investigating how much making a switch to one of them could save you in the long run.

4. Insurance Premiums

If you have auto and home insurance with different companies, ask if they offer a special price for bundling your insurance together. This should lower your overall price and reduce your costs each month. You could also ask to raise your deductible, which should also reduce your monthly insurance costs.

5. Transportation

Could you live without a car? If so, using public transportation, walking, or biking can quickly cut monthly expenses—saving money on gas, insurance, maintenance, and car payments.

Other small things like combining errands to save unnecessary trips in your car and carpooling with colleagues to work can reduce gas costs and wear on your vehicle.


Tools to Help

Cash Flow Budget Template


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Information is great. But taking small steps now can lead to big changes.
  • Today
  • Put together a cash flow budget to better understand where your money goes each month.
  • Review the list of bills you pay each month. Are there any that can be reduced or eliminated?
  • Next Week
  • Contact your billers to find out if they have suggestions for reducing your rates. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • In the Next Few Months
  • Revise your cash flow budget to reflect the new cost of your monthly expenses.
  • If you have created savings, decide how you will use it. Maybe to pay down debt or start an emergency savings fund?