Cutting expenses is one of the best and easiest ways to stretch your dollar and eliminate extra spending. Like most people, when I started considering cutting my expenses, I had no idea which expenses to cut and how to make ends meet by spending less.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to cut your expenses with making huge sacrifices. It helps you keep more money in your pocket as well which is also a plus.
Here are some of my best strategies for cutting three of the most common expenses if spend less and earn more is your mantra for this year.
Americans spend a ton of money on groceries each month and it’s often an overlooked expense because eating food is a necessity. However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend $1,000/month on groceries for your family of 4.
My family of three spends only about $300 per month on groceries and we even include snacks and work lunches in our bi-weekly shopping trips. Cutting your grocery bill all boils down to three things: meal planning, shopping sales, and meal prep.
First, try to avoid going shopping if you don’t have a detailed and well-thought out list to guide you. Just going to the store and randomly picking up things is not a good idea.
Next, make sure you scan circulars first to see if there are any sales on food items your family likes. You may find a good deal on fruit, organic vegetables or chicken for example.
Then, you need to plan out your meals for each day and commit to prepping and preparing them at home as often as you can. Many times, we run to a fast food restaurant because we are too tired to cook and it’s convenient. If you take one day out of each week to plan and prep your meals, you can save more by eating at home.
You can also prepare some meals in a slow cooker to stretch your budget as there are plenty of soups, stews, and yummy dishes you can prepare in batches with a cheap price per portion and so your family has leftovers. Finally, avoid processed and ready-made foods at the grocery store as they are often unhealthy and expensive. The key is to cook your own food as often as possible.
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Everyone likes to have fun, but it can come at quite the cost. If you’re spending hundreds of dollars per month entertaining yourself and your family whether it’s outings, expensive dinners, or even cable T.V. there are many ways to adopt more frugal methods of entertainment.
For starters, get rid of your cable bill if you still have one. There are so many quality online streaming services that you can use like Netflix, Hulu, Sling, and Amazon Prime. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can sign up for one of these services and save a killing.
Next, try to search for free and cheap events in your area. Check with your local library or at a community center like the YMCA. If you like museums, many of them have free admission days for city or state residents. You can also check out national parks for free.
If you have an expensive hobby or interest, try to frugalize it (if that’s even a word). For example, if you like to see live performances, try checking out a local performance conducted by a school or community center. It may not be Broadway, but you’ll most likely still be entertained.
For everything else, sign up for loyalty rewards programs with your favorite places and take advantage of deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.
Insurance is another common expenses most people have. It’s not fun paying for insurance every month but when something happens, it’s a relief to have insurance to fall back on.
Some types of insurances are required by law so there’s really no way around them, but you can still reduce your monthly premium.
To save on your insurance, the key is to shop around. Whether you are looking to reduce auto, renter’s/homeowner’s or medical insurance, most companies want your business and will offer you a deal if that means you won’t go to their competitor.
Compare rates online for insurance and simply ask your provider for a discount. Some companies may even have programs you can take advantage of. My auto insurance company offers discounts to safe drivers.
You can also bundle policies in order to save. Your auto insurance company may also offer renter’s insurance and offer you a discount if you sign up for both with them.
Comparison Shop and Get Creative
As you can see, whether you’re trying to cut a fixed or variable expense, the key to cutting some of your sneakiest expenses will be to comparison shop and be open to creative solutions.
You can track your expenses with free budgeting tools like Mint, then develop a strategy (like the ones shown above) to start trimming the fat from your budget.
How are you planning to cut some of your expenses in the upcoming months?