The easiest way to maximize your paycheck is by reducing your monthly costs.
Wouldn’t it be nice to boost your savings and reduce your expenses – all while working with the income you already have? Here are nine practical ways to cut down on fees and expenses from your life.
9 Ways to Reduce Expenses and Save Money
1. Plan For Outings
According to Lauren Ver Hage, contributor to The Financial Diet, it’s best to plan out your outings ahead of time to avoid overspending. If you know you’re dining out or paying for some other activity in the middle of the week, save money by opting for free or low-cost activities on the weekend (and vice versa).
Don’t be afraid to encourage friends to participate in low-cost activities as a way for you all to save a little money. Hosting a potluck at someone’s house, going for a walk at a local park, or going out for breakfast instead of dinner can all be fun, money-saving options.
2. Share Transportation
Minimize the wear on your vehicle and save on gas by carpooling or participating in a rideshare program. Payoff Inc. recommends initiating a carpool with coworkers. You can also check out local options for ridesharing, especially if you live in an urban setting.
What if you don’t live in an area where ridesharing is easily found? You can still make the most of your trips with these suggestions:
- Plan a minimum number of trips and try to pick a route that will stop everywhere you need at once.
- Invite friends or a family member along with you and do your errands all at one time.
- Drive smart – without lots of accelerations and harsh braking. These waste gas compared to driving efficiently.
3. Replace Cleaning Supplies
Another common expense to cut is expensive brand-name cleaning products. Ver Hage advises stocking your cleaning shelf with basics such as vinegar and baking soda. Natural cleaning is having a moment, too, so browse Pinterest for other easy cleaning product recipes you can use to keep your home tidy while curbing costs.
As a bonus, you’ll be keeping harsh chemicals out of your home and replacing them with safer options. And ask yourself if you really need multiple types of cleaners for everything. Often, a hard-surface cleaner can be used just about everywhere in your home.
4. Bundle Insurance
Leslie Geary from Bankrate.com suggests combining your separate insurance policies into one to help cut your monthly bill. Providers will often give you a discounted rate if you decide to go this route, so it’s definitely something worth pursuing.
This means you’ll have to combine all your policies under one brand of insurance, so if they’re currently scattered among multiple providers, check with your insurance agent.
5. Cut Laundry Costs
When you do laundry, Geary advises choosing the cold water setting whenever possible, which will help lower your utility bill. Another way to save on laundry expenses is to dry clean special garments at home rather than at a local dry cleaning shop.
Finally, if you have the space and inclination, hanging clothes to dry instead of putting them in the dry can save you a little money and be a better choice for the environment.
6. Conserve Electricity
This one seems to go without saying, but it works, especially if you’ll be out of your home for hours or days. Turn off lights, kitchen appliances and other household gadgets when you’re not using them. Ver Hage explains that this is a simple but often overlooked way to lower your electricity costs.
Some appliances, like printers and toasters, continue to draw electricity while they’re plugged in, even if they’re not turned on. So anytime there’s a small appliance you’re not using, just unplug it. To make it easier, plug multiple items into a power strip that can be easily switched on and off.
7. Refinance Your House
If you own a house, consider refinancing your home to save money. By refinancing the remaining balance that you owe on your house, you can often enjoy a lower interest rate than what you were originally paying.
Talk the decision – as you would any large financial choice – over with a financial advisor to make sure it’s a good idea for you.
8. Use Coupons Online
Whenever you shop online, Ver Hage suggests checking for coupon codes you can apply at checkout. With so many online coupons as well as company-specific codes, you can obtain a lower price tag on a wide spectrum of items.
Some browser extensions and apps, like Honey, automatically find savings for you when you’re shopping. Look around and find an option you like to start saving. Don’t forget about your grocery store of choice, which likely offers an app and coupons, too.
9. Evaluate Your Cell Phone
Kelsey Sheehy from NerdWallet.com advises that you should regularly evaluate your cell phone plan to make sure you’re not paying extra for data or perks that you never use. And if your rate goes up, call the customer service department to ask why.
It’s also a great idea to shop around for other providers’ plans to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate for the cell services that you need. Many cell phone companies have set monthly fee plans, which can result in significant savings. If you’re OK with a phone model that might not be the absolute newer, prepaid phones can be another money-saving option.
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Equipped with these budget-savvy strategies, you’re well on your way to increasing your savings and decreasing the amount you spend each month.
Published by Minster Bank
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