Need to save a couple hundred per month? We’ve compiled 30 different ways you can save money on your monthly expenses. Some of these will make you stand out from the crowd and live life a bit differently. Live a little weird for now so you can have a successful financial life later.
In the list below, you either adjust these services or cut some of them out. Without further ado, let’;s begin:
1. Save on utility bills
Turn off your lights, electronics, and appliances when you aren’t using them. Make sure your thermostat is at a reasonable level. Doing this is one of the easiest ways to save money while simultaneously helping the environment.
2. Ditch your car payment
Most folks can get a $4,000 car that can get them from point A to point B. That’s if they need to commute somewhere on a regular basis. Think about ridesharing programs in your area or consider riding a bike or a scooter. Low-cost public transportation can be useful when available. So ditch the car you are paying for monthly and free up that cash for other uses.
3. Move closer to your job
Time is money and the more time you sit in your vehicle, the less time you could be making money or enjoying your life. Consider the impact of living closer to your job. If you can walk to your job, you may not need to spend a chunk of your income paying for the costs of owning a vehicle.
Living closer to your job can also improve your life. You might have to downsize, but going from a two to three-hour daily commute to one that only takes one hour a day can make a large difference in your quality of life.
Consider that going from a three-hour daily commute to a one-hour commute will save you 522 hours/year in your car (261 working days per year x 2 hours saved). That is equivalent to thirteen 40 hour work weeks!!
4. Take advantage of free preventive health screenings
If you currently have a medical or dental policy, you probably have the opportunity to get a free preventative health screening. Take advantage of these early and often because finding a problem in the early stages can save your butt in more ways than one.
5. Cancel your cable or satellite subscription
The cord-cutting revolution is in full effect! There is no need to pay $50 to $200 per month for cable or satellite services when most people only watch a tiny amount of the shows available.
Consider a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription to get access to the latest shows for under $10 per month. Digital antennas are available that allow you to watch local channels free after buying and installing them – a must for sports fans.
6. Find a cheaper gym membership
Some gym memberships may be worth the extra money depending upon your personal fitness goals. If you’re just lifting weights and hitting the treadmill, there likely are cheaper alternatives.
The low-cost family gym is a new trend. They offer prices of $20 per person or less. Some gyms also include childcare. Taking your children to the gym a few times per week can help save your sanity while you get fit, and you don’t even need to pay a sitter.
7. Reevaluate your broadband services
Do you truly need 50Mbps broadband internet? If you do, it may be wise to shop around for better deals. Up and coming fiber providers such Google Fiber and others are sprouting up all over the country. If you are just doing basic tasks on the internet, downgrading to the lowest tier could save you hundreds per year.
Don’t forget to negotiate. If you are on a fixed income or have been a valued customer for years, tell the rep and see what you can get.
8. Get a prepaid unlimited mobile plan
Phones with talk and data plans can cost big bucks each month. Instead, there are nationwide prepaid unlimited everything plans that currently exist for around $30 per month.
Boost Mobile and Cricket are vendors in this arena. Changing your mobile service could save you over 50% on your current monthly bill. Some services even let you bring your number, making the switch even more enticing.
9. Go even cheaper: Use Google Voice instead of prepaid mobile
Do you rarely use the phone? Do you need a number that people can text?
You can get Google Voice and access the phone interface from a desktop computer. You can take calls, make calls and send texts from your PC or mobile device. There is also an app for iOS and Android, which allows you to perform the same features from tablets. Best of all, you can get started for free!
10. Downsize your house
Downsizing your home is radical!! But if you have a house payment you can barely afford or too much house, sell it and downsize. Remember that the average home size has increased greatly since the 1960s.
In the 1960s, most families lived in homes around 1,500 square feet. The average home size now is 2,200 SF. But those are just averages.
Are you living in 4,000 SF that is stressing you out because of mortgage payments and property taxes? Is it far from your job? Consider selling your home and moving to a house that you can comfortably afford.
Here is a quote from a book called Don’ts for Husbands published in 1913, it still rings true today:
Don’t take a bigger house than you need just for show. You will find it needs more servants, more furniture, more everything and you will have to scrape to keep up appearances instead of being comfortable on a less expensive plane.
Another great quote is from Don’ts for Wives:
Don’t spend your life keeping up appearances. Why should you buy expensive furniture for the benefit of your neighbors if you haven’t a balance at the bank?
11. Start clipping coupons
Clipping Coupons can be a time-consuming process, but there are several websites out there that make couponing a workable process.
Many websites exist such as CouponDivas that link coupons with deals in your local supermarket. When you get the chance to stock up on cheap food, coupons can certainly help take a chunk out of your monthly food bill. If you don’t have time for clipping coupons, then make a point to buy generic items or the store brand.
12. Evaluate free heating and cooling methods in your area
Depending upon your local climate, free heating and cooling may exist in your area.
Translation: open a window and take advantages of natural airflow when possible.
If you have a timeworn HVAC unit, check with your state government about tax credits for installing a more efficient, new system. Solar screens on west facing windows are a one-time expense that can cut down on your costs for years to come.
13. Try winning contests to supplement your entertainment budget
Do you sit at a desk all day? I know a woman who listens to the radio at work. She calls into all of these different contests, and you’d be surprised at how much she wins! In fact, she’s always bragging about it on Facebook.
You’ve heard of those “Be the fifth caller to win” ticket giveaways on the radio. Instead of spending a $100 to see your band, try to win tickets through contests and giveaways. These don’t just happen on the radio but at local grocery stores, auto centers, etc.
14. Drop your bad and/or expensive habits (smoking, drinking, etc.)
Recreational marijuana is now for sale in several states. Alcohol and cigarettes are practically available everywhere. Others love to buy chips, candy, and desserts. If it is not food or drink, it can be other little vices that add up.
For example, some women love to get manicures every week or guys like to bet on a few games each weekend. Many workers buy lunch every day. If you have some of these habits, you can easily spend $200 to $500 per month enjoying yourself.
You have to ask yourself:
Is it worth it to damage your body in some instances and your financial future in all cases?
My wife and I enjoy wine and having the twins sometimes makes a drink more appealing than others, but we’ve decided that drinking every day isn’t what we want to do. We just buy fewer bottles and don’t buy more as soon as we run out. Try eliminating expensive habits.
15. Reevaluate your paid subscriptions
Think about all of the stuff you pay for on a monthly basis. It could be a premium membership for a website or service.
- Do you need to pay for Pandora every month?
- Is Hulu Plus mission critical for your life?
- What about magazines, newspapers, wine clubs, or activities for your kids?
Many subscriptions are automatic and you might not even realize you are still paying for services you don’t use.
16. Small business owner or blogger? Find a cheaper web hosting solution
If you host more than one website, it may be wise to consolidate all of your websites onto a VPS versus paying several dollars per month per website hosting account. You could save up to 50% on these costs by consolidating your website hosting plans.
17. Do it yourself pet grooming
If you have a pet, you know that taking your pet to the groomer can cost you between $50 and a $100 a trip. Why not buy the supplies and do it yourself?
18. Dispose of your recyclables at a recycling center
Buying soft drinks is probably a waste of money but if you do find yourself with a sizable amount of recyclables at the end of the month, take them to your neighborhood recycling center to see if they will remit you a check for the materials. They typically pay you per pound.
19. Stay away from convenience stores
A dollar here, two dollars there. Convenience stores make their profits by providing (drum roll) convenience for a fee.
Items in these stores are marked up, and you should avoid buying products from these stores unless absolutely necessary. This goes for many items at drug stores as well, which are priced higher than at the larger retail store.
20. Make a weekly meal plan on Sunday evenings
When you plan your meals in advance, you can resist the temptation to spend money on eating out. When you know exactly what you are going to eat, you can plan and shop the grocery store. This allows you plan for what you need to spend in your food budget.
You don’t even need cookbooks: Pinterest has millions of recipes to try and also has boards on cooking for large families, cooking for one, low-cost cooking, and almost anything that interests you.
21. Eat more soup
One of the cheapest and healthiest ways to cut down on your food budget is to become a soup aficionado. Soup is super cheap to prepare, and you can make chilis, goulashes and other dishes that make several servings that are quick to reheat and serve.
22. Configure the power savings settings on your electronics
In Windows, you can go to the Power Settings found in your control panel. The settings panel allows you to select a choice which turns your computer off when it is not in use. Other electronic devices have similar settings which will save you money on your monthly utility bill.
23. Get new quotes for car insurance every six months
If you aren’t calling around and checking with different insurance agencies to get a new quote on service, how do you know you are getting the best price for insurance coverage? If your lifestyle requires an automobile, do a cursory check to see if you are the paying the least amount possible for your automobile’s insurance policy.
Also, do a yearly review of your health insurance, home insurance, and any other fixed costs. Fix costs take up most of what you make so getting them down a bit can make a big difference.
24. Opt out of receiving credit offers in the mail
Do you get tempted to apply for a new credit card and roll over the balances when you see a 0% APR offer? You can stop getting credit card offers in the mail by adding your address to the Federal Trade Commission’s Opt Out List.
Bonus! When you stop getting credit card offers, it also protects against someone stealing one of those offers and opening a card in your name.
25. Make your own washing detergent
Are you overpaying for laundry detergent? Do you require a particular type due to a skin allergy? There are guides online that show you how to make organic detergents that cost less than the bargain basement brands found in the laundry aisle.
This goes for other cleaning products as well. Check Pinterest again for ideas.
26. Buy consumer goods in bulk
When you buy in quantities, you can typically get a better deal. Consider this when you go to places like Sam’s Club or Costco. You could even have a friend split the costs in order for you to get a better deal on a product you both want.
27. Automate your finances
If you are unable to adhere to a strict budget, why not automate your finances to relieve yourself of the stress involved with paying your monthly bills? That way, you will never have to worry about paying a late fee again. You can also automate savings.
You can’t spend what isn’t in your checking account, so have automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts once or twice a month.
28. Check thrift stores for gently used clothes and household items
If you need fancy clothes for a special occasion, why would you spend $100 to a $300 for an outfit you might only wear once?. While it may be like searching for a diamond in the rough, there are some fabulous finds at thrift stores. Check your local thrift stores for goods frequently because new arrivals happen every day.
If you hate to shop around, check out thredUp an online consignment shop.
If you need a fancy dress for a party, try Rent The Runway You can rent a cocktail dress for as little as $30.
29. Use free cloud storage
Instead of upgrading your hard drive, consider moving your files to a free cloud storage provider such as Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Drive.
If you have Amazon Prime, you can get unlimited storage for all of your photos. Consider these solutions instead of purchasing flash memory modules or an external hard drive to backup your data.
30. Make entertainment creative
Turning your attention to saving money can severely affect your social life because you no longer spend money on social activities. It is an easy way to save, but can leave you feeling lonely.
Get creative! Take a few bottles of wine and a deck of cards to a nice hotel lobby and play cards with your friends. Play ultimate Frisbee on a field at a local park or set up a croquet field in a green space in your neighborhood.
Here is a list of free or very inexpensive ways to have a good time, use these as a starting point to plan your own fun.
- Host a potluck dinner with friends
- Use Redbox, Netflix, or Amazon to have a movie night at home
- Go for a walk, hike or bike ride with friends vs. going out to eat
- Plan a weekly basketball game at a local court
- Make a picnic basket and head to the park for a date night out
- Meet your friends at a hotel, library, or house for a poker night
- Check Groupon for “Things to Do” in your area, a quick look shows lots of options for $10 or less.
- Get your girlfriends together to have cocktails and do pedicures at home
- Take your kids to the free mall play area – large churches/houses of worship sometimes have fantastic indoor play areas that are open to the public.
- Invite friends with dogs to a local dog park and enjoy chatting while your dogs have fun as well.
- Join a group class at the gym and get to know other members
- Host a party – Here are some silly ideas: video game championship, field day, Star Wars Marathon, wine tasting, etc.
If you need to make some money fast we’ve got a big list of ideas for that too.
Got a weird money saving tip? Please leave it in the comments below.