10 Ways To Reduce Your Monthly Expenses
In this day and age, it seems that prices are always inching there way up but our incomes are never keeping in step. If we’re not careful we can easily find ourselves in the red by the end of the year and not really understanding why. You may not be able to get any extra income right now, but here are some ways to reduce your monthly expenses.
After oil prices hit there low a couple of years ago, we can only surmise that they are going to go up (and as of writing they are already in the $60s). Pump prices here in Ontario are sitting at $1.249 per liter and are most likely only going higher.
A direct result of higher oil prices is not only the increase in the price of petrol, but the increase in price of pretty much everything else. So guess what, we’re in for higher prices of everything from heating to food to municipal taxes so everyone offering services can offset their increased expenses. This is the way of things right now, so what are we, as the general public, going to do about it…on a personal finance level?
As I’ve said before, the first step is to Understand your financial situation. You really need to know where your money is coming from and where it’s going. This is the only way long term and beneficial changes can be made. And don’t forget, you must, must, MUST but honest. You can start by creating an honest personal budget, and this is something that I talk about in another post so I won’t get in depth about it here. This is of utmost importance and is the basis for everything else.
Once you’ve fully understood where you sit financially and you’ve determined that you need to reduce your monthly expenses, then it is time to “Trim the Fat.” Take it as you will, I am going to go through 10 ways to cut down on your monthly expenses. Some may apply to you, some may not, and some you may not be able to change or live without. This is all up to you to decide, but the idea is to go for a minimalist mindset while still maintaining the lifestyle you choose to live.There are a million and one ways to cut your monthly expenses and these are just 10. Click To Tweet
After each section, I’ve added a realistic example (from my own life) of how much is/could be saved per month and at the end we will see just how much it totals. So here are the 10 ways to reduce your monthly expenses:
Switch to LED bulbs
As stupid as this may sound, you can actually save quite a few bucks by doing this. With a little bit of upfront spending, you may be able to recoup that cost within the first year on savings with your electricity bill. Think about it, one 60 watt incandescent bulb equals the power of around nine equivalent LEDs (give or take). Couple that with long dark Canadian winters…I’m pretty sure you can do the math. Saving: $5
Switch your main power consumption to the cheaper times of day
Another one which will cut your costs significantly. Do you high power consumption activities during low-peak hours. This may take some getting used to and a bit of scheduling, but it will definitely help to cut those costs. Saving: $20
Price compare and use sales
Actually go through the flyers you get every week. Compare the prices of items that you want and even combine this with the next 2 points and you can save a ton of money after a bit. Remember though, use due diligence because at some places an item on sale may still be more expensive than at another place at regular price. Saving: $35
There are lots of online resources to get coupons that you can either print at home or save on your mobile phone. They are like little nuggets of happiness. Don’t forget the entrance to your grocery store or on the shelves near the items themselves. Saving: $15
Use cashback/points apps
This is something we discovered a little while ago and have averaged $250-$400 a year back to us when cashback is used and points are collected. I will say this though, a lot of what is on both is garbage food and crap you don’t need, but you can really save some money with this if used properly and it doesn’t take much effort at all.
The two we use the most and have found actually very useful are Checkout51 (I get a kick back from them if you use this referral link) and Caddle (Use CHRIS65226 as a promo code and we both get $1.00). Both are available in Canada and we have been using them for a few years now with zero complaints. Caddle even has daily surveys for a little bit of money (sometimes more than one at the same time). Savings: $20
I’ll throw this one in there for the military crew specifically, but it may apply to many others. Ask for a military discount (or whatever discount)!!! Soooo many places offer it but it’s rarely used. Some places may not even offer one, but may say “you know what, thanks for your service, here’s 5% off). I haven’t paid full price for gas in over 2 years…every little bit helps. Saving: $5
Shop for Cheaper Alternatives to Utilities/Providers
Whether it’s a cell service provider or an insurance agency (bundle all your insurance if you can for a better deal), shopping around for cheaper rates can always be a fruitful endeavor. Granted, sometimes you’re just stuck with what you get (ex: electricity), but for the ones you can get a cheaper rate with…why wouldn’t you. I almost halved my cell phone bill per month with pretty much the same plan ($118 to $68). Saving: $50
Quit Smoking/Bad Habit
Alright, so I’m a guilty one with this…I am a smoker and I waste an enormous amount of money with this. I average about $250 per month wasted. When I see that amount in front of my face, it makes me cringe. But the hard truth is a lot of us spend our hard earned money on really unhealthy crap (me being no exception). I get how hard it is to quit habits, I really do…maybe cutting down could be an option. At least something eh. Saving $250
Cut Down on Eating Out/Entertainment
If you’re one of those people that enjoys going out every weekend and spending a boat load of cash on dinner and drinks, maybe start thinking about cutting back on them. Even cutting out 1 dinner out a month can add up to quite a bit. As alternatives, start having get togethers at home with friends and family. Have a pot-luck where people can bring some type of food and a bottle of wine and make a game night out of it. Not only will this save you money, but it’ll bring you closer to other people (and save them money too).
We decided to eat out only once a month and hit up every free/cheap event in the region. We also have a small group called “Winosaurs” that get together every now and then at each others’ houses for games and drinks. All of this makes a huge difference in the end. Saving: $50
Carpool as often as you can to and from work, and with this one, the more people then the cheaper it is. Assuming the cost of gas is split evenly, just one other person will cut your gas costs in half, but the more the merrier here. Word to the wise though, if you have a motorcycle, just take that when you can. It’ll cut your costs in half and it’s way more fun anyhow. Saving: $50
There are a million and one ways to cut your monthly expenses and these are just 10 solid, fairly easy to do ones that can be started today.
So lets see how we did with our total savings…
If we take into account the $250 for quitting smoking (or some expensive bad habit), then we save $500/month…that’s a whopping $6000/year. Even without the smoking included, we end up with a grand total of $250/month, for a total of $3000/year. That is quite a bit of savings right there and just think what you can do with it by not really changing much of your lifestyle.
Sock that away into something you can pull 10% a year with, like Lending Loop or a REIT, and it won’t be long until you really start making that money work for you, or maybe put that newly freed up cash towards your high interest debt. No matter what, it’s a win/win.
Well, there you have it, 10 easy ways to cut back on your expenses that will add up each and every month. Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to really make a positive impact on your own financial goals. These things aren’t that difficult, but they do take discipline and an honest effort. Till next time, all the best.
- I am an avid Forex trader and multi-tiered investor. Over the years I've learned many money management lessons. It took hitting rock bottom, but I took my lessons and persevered. Today I am debt free (mortgage aside) and can enjoy what I have. I believe our money should work for us and is only a tool to enjoy the life we want to live.