How to Cut Back on Monthly Expenses – 10 Tips & Simple Guide to Save Money!
We all like the finer things in life, so talking about cutting down expenses is a conversation no one wants to have.
We don’t want to be discussing cutting back financially, because it feels like you’re failing with money.
But that’s not the case.
If you’re struggling with money, the wisest move you can make is a plan to cut down everyday expenses.
If you don’t, then your situation will never improve and you will never lift the burden of struggling financially.
Unless you fall into some major luck by winning the lottery, or you’re left a big sum of money by a relative, your financial situation will worsen without doing so. If you’re relying on that happening, you will most likely be waiting forever.
In order to avoid financial ruin, there is nothing wrong with making financial cutbacks where possible.
You might not even be struggling financially, perhaps you’re just fed up of not be able to save enough money to move house or a make big purchase you’ve always wanted, or you’re just fed up of living from payday to payday.
I believe there is always a way to save money.
Here is a simple guide on how you can cut back your expenses and save a lot of money in the process.
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Determine your financial goals
Most people want to reduce their monthly expenses because they want to save and accomplish more with their money. Knowing your goals can help you align your budget around achieving them.
The best part is your goals can be anything you want. Perhaps you want to pay off credit card debt, save money to purchase a car, or build an emergency fund. The more specific you can get, the easier it will be to break down your goals into manageable steps.
Ask yourself – what do I want my finances to look like a year from now? But starting today, you’ll begin planting the seeds for a successful financial future.
Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:
Want help with what method would be best for you for tackling debt? See my post below:
Eat at home as much as possible
Eating out is a nice treat for every now and again, but when you get into the habit of dining out because you can’t be bother to cook, it becomes and expense game.
After a long day a work, when you’re tired, it’s just the easier option. I’ve done it before, we’ve all done it at one point of time. The thought of cooking after a stressful day is a chore, but there are ways around this.
Batch cooking food is a great way to give yourself a break from the kitchen. For example, you could cook a batch of meals at the weekend and then freeze them. Each day you will then have a meal prepared without having to cook from scratch.
I do this with my workout meals for the week, it saves me a lot of time.
For a family of four, just by eating out a few times a month, you are talking about a few hundred pounds/dollars per month, if not more.
Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.
Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.
This year we decided to cut or Sky/cable, by doing this we are saving £50 per month.
I thought getting rid of this would be brutal, and I would miss it, but that’s not the case at all.
Most of the time the TV was just on as background noise, we only actually sit down and watch TV for about two hours daily in the week, and a bit longer at weekends.
You can cut back your package to save money, or get rid of it all together and use a subscription service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have both of these; they are excellent value for money.
You might find this work out to be much cheaper for you.
There is always new TV shows and movies being added and the back catalogue on just these pair are huge. You will always discover something new to watch!
These are just two available, there is also Hulu, Disney+ and much more if you search online.
You are never tied in to a subscription service such as these, they can be cancelled at anytime you like.
I have been guilty of this, having a gym membership I never used.
The money would be coming out my bank account every month, while I’m trying to convince myself I would start to use it.
You need to get rid of it – ASAP
If you haven’t been using it regularly and consistently for months on end you are not going to do it now.
According to This Is Money, Brits waste a collective £25billion a month each year on subscriptions they don’t use or want, and a massive 12% of that is on gym memberships alone!
That’s a whole lot of money!
If you don’t use your gym membership, look at alternative ways of exercise instead. I have invested in resistant bands and an exercise bike. I prefer this way, and there are plenty of workout tutorials on YouTube to follow.
If your finances are tight, then this one has to go!
People love brands names, but in my opinion, the majority of the time, you are paying just for the name!
The money you save week in week out is massive!
As long as I look good and feel comfortable in my clothes and shoes, that’s all that matters to me, not what branded name I’m wearing.
See my post on cutting back grocery spending:
Resist impulse purchases
Have you ever walked into a shop to get something small, such as shampoo and you ended up leaving with a bunch of items that weren’t on your shopping list?
Don’t feel bad if you said yes. It’s called impulse spending and marketers are really good at encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases. This is an unplanned decision to buy a product (or service) right before the purchase is made.
Nearly 78.2% of Brits have succumbed to the temptation to impulse online shopping, according to a recent survey. While it might seem like an impulse buy here and there is harmless, it can sabotage your goals such as paying off debt, building your emergency fund, or saving for a large purchase.
Want to know more information on how to complete a no spend month and save a huge chunk of money? See the below post:
Take advantage of coupons/vouchers to save money.
Honey is a great website for finding vouchers from thousands of retailers online. I have saved money when making purchases on clothes through Honey on several occasions.
Also, Latest Deals is great website for bargains and deals.
While saving money you also earn points though the above sites, which can them be redeemed into a giftcard of your choice.
These sites are no brainer!
For information see my posts for Honey and Latest Deals:
Cashback shopping sites
I use cashback shopping sites such as TopCashback or Quidco for my online purchases. Cashback sites are a way for you to save money every time you shop online at one of its partner retailers using a link from the cashback website.
A percentage of the purchase is returned to you as a cash back rebate when you complete your purchase. Cashback shopping sites offer cash back at thousands of stores and they are free to use.
I use both TopCashback and Quidco to shop online and like them both. I usually check to see which of the cashback sites will give me more money back on my purchase and then shop through that cashback site for my specific purchase.
Rakuten is a great cash back site for those over in the US. In addition, you’ll find thousands of coupons and promo codes from Rakuten. Every quarter Rakuten mails you a cheque or PayPal payment with the cash back you received from shopping online through them.
Cancel subscription services that you don’t use
No matter how closely you pay attention to your monthly bills, I’m sure if you take another look, you’d find at least one subscription that you’re not using. You may even discover a late fee you’ve forgotten about!
I recently went through all my monthly subscriptions and memberships and noticed there was a few I didn’t need anymore. Now the only monthly subscription I pay for is Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime.
Lower your mobile phone bill/cancel your landline
How much are you paying per month for your phone bill?
If you can’t afford to pay for a phone in full, it’s too much. There are cheaper alternative plans out there, or consider getting on a family plan with your close family or friends. That way you’re saving money as a team.
And call your provider to see if there’s any way you can reduce your monthly plan. There’s no harm in asking. The worst that can happen is if they say “no”.
But what if the answer is “YES”?
How to cut back on monthly expenses – Final thought
Whilst these items individually may not seem like they can make big changes to your monthly budget, making small changes can, in fact, help you to save a few hundred extra dollars each month.
Those extra pounds/dollars can really help you make a dent in your debts.
Don’t be discouraged by having to cut back on expenses.
It’s better to look at your long-term goals and use that as your motivation to keep pushing forward to your financial freedom.
One thing I have realised is that you should never turn your nose up at small savings because eventually, they do add up to make a considerable difference.
Let me know what tips you have for cutting down on expenses!
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