There are two sides to a successful financial equation: increase your income and cut your expenses.
The only way that you can improve your situation financially is by doing one or the other.
Often times increasing your income can be a challenge. If you have the time, you can always pick up a side hustle.
However, not everyone has time to do that. As such, we’re going to share some valuable advice that will save you money.
We’re going to provide you with ideas for trimming your household expenses.
Top Ways to Trim Your Expenses
Here are some practical tips on how to trim your household expenses. Utilize every one you can in order to save hundreds of dollars each and every month.
1. Reduce Clothing Costs
Are you still paying full price when you buy clothes? If so, you are missing out on huge opportunities to save money.
What are some ways you could save money on clothes? Try shopping at thrift stores.
It’s not uncommon to find new clothes with the tags still on at local thrift stores. Also, try looking at online clothing store sites.
The online stores that will help you sell your unwanted clothing will also sell clothing to you for cheap.
There are even ways to get free clothes online if you know where to look.
And if you prefer to buy only new clothes, commit to shopping the clearance racks and only buying clothes when you really need to.
2. Cancel Unused Memberships
When was the last time you went to the gym? How often do you get a Netflix DVD in the mail? Do you go to Costco enough to justify the cost?
Do you read the e-magazines you’ve subscribed to? These are some questions to ask yourself in order to save some money.
If the answer indicates that you don’t use these memberships much anymore, you should consider canceling them.
We canceled all three of these expenses and haven’t looked back.
Helpful hint: Use Trim to monitor and cancel unused services automatically.
3. Cut Down On Restaurant Meals
Eating out after a long day at work can be so relaxing! Someone else cooks, someone else cleans up. You, however, are stuck with the bill.
Eating out is typically much more expensive than cooking at home. And when you’re feeding 2 or more people the cost really adds up.
Consider limiting restaurant meals to once a month. Start searching online for restaurant recipes you can make at home as a substitute.
4. Ask Existing Service Providers For A Better Deal
I was able to this with my internet provider, satellite company, and cell phone service. All I did was call and ask them how I could get a better deal.
The internet company gave me about 30% off for a year because I was a “loyal” customer.
The satellite company downgraded my package saving us roughly $20 per month.
The cell phone company offered me a lower cost data plan which was about $15 less than I was previously paying.
Chances are that if you have been with a service provider for several years they will be willing to give you a deal to keep you as a customer.
And if a company isn’t willing to deal, consider switching service providers.
5. Wait To Use the Washer, Dryer, And Dishwasher
Most utility companies will charge you significantly less if you run these appliances in the off-peak hours.
It varies from state to state, but here is an example of the off-peak hours by APS to get an idea of what type of savings is possible.
Monday – Friday: 12pm to 7pm
Monday – Friday: 7pm to 12pm
All day Saturday and Sunday
Try using your main energy hogs like washers and dryers during off-peak hours. And if you can, hang your clothes on the line to dry.
6. Take Care Of Your Health
Doctor visits and prescription medicines can be expensive. The better care you take of your health, the less you could be spending on medical expenses.
Exercise regularly (with your doctor’s approval), eat healthy, whole foods, and keep vices like drinking and smoking to a minimum.
The better care you take of your body, the stronger it will be so it can take care of you.
And money savings often follow a healthier lifestyle.
7. Take Your Lunch To Work
This could potentially save you a ton of money each month. I easily save $5 per day by bringing my lunch to work which is a total savings of about $150 per month.
If I eat out at lunch, I generally pay just over $8. If I brown bag it, I estimate the cost to be around $3 for a sandwich, pretzels, fruit, and nut mix.
Bring leftovers from last night’s dinner and save even more.
Helpful hint: Make bigger batches of soups and casseroles and put some in plastic containers in the freezer for work lunches.
8. Pay Off Your Debt
This idea might surprise you. But if you think about it, every month you have debt, that is more money coming out of your pocket and going into somebody else’s.
See my previous posts on how my wife and I paid Off $52,000 in Debt in 18 Months or Get Out of Debt Fast to see how to reduce your debt with a vengeance.
Check out your loan and credit card statements to see how much money you’re paying in interest to creditors each month.
Then make a plan to pay them less by paying off your debt.
9. Cut Down On Salon Expenses
Salon costs can really add up. Between hair cuts, colors, manicures and other services, it’s not difficult to spend hundreds of dollars a month at your local salon.
Consider trying to save money in this area. For instance:
- Shop around to find a less expensive stylist
- Color your hair at home
- DIY manicures and pedicures
- Search online for at-home spa treatments
- Eat healthier to get a clearer complexion
You’d be amazed at how much money you can save by trimming your salon expenses with some DIY health and beauty tips.
10. Shop Around For Insurance
This is a great way to save money with little effort. My wife and I have most of our policies through one provider which includes insurance on our home and two cars.
They give us a discount for having multiple policies with them. The bundled discount is so good that every time I have shopped around I can never find a better deal.
Check with your current insurance provider to talk about bundling. And check competitors in order to find the best deal.
11. Do it Yourself Home Projects
Instead of paying someone else to do something, consider doing it yourself.
If you don’t know where to start, you can search for your project on YouTube to see if someone has posted step by step instructions to help you learn how to do it.
You can find DIY videos and articles for everything from car repairs to home remodeling projects.
12. Turn Off And Unplug Your Electronics When Done
This includes turning off your Blu-ray player, fans, computers, lights, just about anything that uses electricity.
Every little bit helps, right? Before you go to bed at night, make sure things that don’t need to be on are turned off.
Then monitor your electricity usage to see how much you save each month.
13. Install A Programmable Thermostat
This was one of the first things I did when I bought my own place.
I realized that the old thermostat would kick on whenever it dropped below the target temperature, even when no one was at home.
After installing my Programmable Thermostat. I instantly noticed a decrease of around $15 per month in my electric bill.
There’s no sense in having your heat or air conditioning running when no one is home.
Buy a programmable thermostat so that you’re using less gas and electricity when people are gone or sleeping.
14. Buy Used Whenever Possible
This seems obvious but it needs to be said. Why pay full price for something that you could pay a lot less for?
I recently bought a used Macbook Air for my wife for a little over $500. If I would have bought one new, it would have cost over $2,000.
Now you might think that is risky to buy used, but there are broken ones selling on Ebay for $400.
So if it doesn’t work out, I will be able to recoup most of the cost.
Besides, if you buy a used product from a reliable manufacturer, chances are is that it will still have a few good years left in it.
Cutting back on expenses is not easy–especially if you’re used to having everything new.
However, with a little motivation, you can cut back your expenses and start saving. Use those savings to pay off debts and start saving for your future.
Try following the above tips for six months and see how your money situation changes. You might just start liking cheaper living!
What do you do to trim your budget and cut household expenses? Leave your tips and ideas in the comments section.