If you have read any of my other posts you will know that I place an emphasis on saving money. One of the best ways to start saving money is to reduce or eliminate expenses.
There are many expenses that are unavoidable including housing, transportation, and food. Although unavoidable, they can still be reduced. Aside from the required expenses, there are many other things we spend money on each month that really aren’t necessary.
Listed below are 7 different expenses you likely have and ways you can reduce or eliminate them to help you save money each month.
Related: 3 Money Management Habits To Avoid
Cut the cord on cable.
You have likely heard about the popular trend of cord cutting, especially among millennials. In case you’re not familiar with the term, this means getting rid of expensive cable subscriptions. Although having cable is nice, it’s not something you need to have.
If you think that you will be bored out of your mind without cable, consider an alternative provider like Sling TV or Netflix. For Netflix and Sling TV the only requirement is internet access.
Netflix is around $7.99 per month and offers a wide array of television shows, movies, and documentaries on demand.
If you crave live television, Sling TV may be the way to go. Sling TV offers several different packages ranging from $20-$30 per month that include many of the television channels you would get with a cable subscription.
I personally like Sling TV because they tend to just include the channels I actually want to watch instead of charging me for all kinds of channels I will never watch.
In terms of cutting the cord, I won’t go as far as to say cancel your internet completely. Let’s face it, we live in a world where internet access is practically required whether that be for work or paying bills. If you think you can manage without internet then by all means eliminate that expense as well.
Dine in, not out.
Going to a restaurant for a meal can be considerably more expensive than cooking the same meal at home. If you are a frequent restaurant goer, try to only eat out a couple of times a week. Perhaps limit dining out to the weekend.
Depending on the type of restaurants you go to, this could literally save you hundreds of dollars per week.
Related: Save Money By Reducing Expenses
Minimize your gym membership fee.
I am a firm believer in having a consistent workout routine and I can say from experience that you don’t need an expensive gym membership to achieve great results.
The only equipment you really need for a solid workout is a set of dumbbells. Although having more complex equipment may be nice, you can still get in a solid workout with just dumbbells. Aside from lifting weights, you can do cardio and most body weight workouts practically anywhere.
So how do you minimize your gym membership expenses without sacrificing your workout results?
One was is to use your neighborhood/community gym. From my experience, almost all community gyms have a rack of dumbbells at the very least.
If you don’t live in a community with a gym, you should shop around for the most affordable gym membership. There are many gyms that offer memberships for around $10 per month. These gyms may not have spas, pools, or basketball courts, but they do have all of the equipment you need to get a good workout.
Alternatively, consider purchasing a set of adjustable dumbbells. You can find these online as cheap as $189.00. This certainly isn’t cheap, but they will pay for themselves in a couple of years if you take into account the money you would have been paying for a gym membership.
Shop smart for groceries.
Buying groceries is an unavoidable expense, but you can still limit this expense by being a bargain shopper. Try to do most of your shopping at discount grocery stores as opposed to high-end stores like The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.
Remember, you don’t have to eat steak every night of the week. Try to eat low budget, healthy meals. If you crave a protein rich diet, like myself, chicken is an inexpensive alternative to steak.
Another way you may be wasting money at the grocery store is by buying too much fresh produce and meat. This often results in the food expiring before you get the chance to eat it. If possible, try to freeze perishable items before the expiration date. Some produce, like lettuce, do not freeze well. For these items, try to buy what you know you will use before the expiration date.
Related: Make Your Money Work For You
Find inexpensive entertainment and hobbies.
We all like to spend money on entertainment. Some forms of entertainment are inherently more expensive than others.
For example, if your go to choice for entertainment is shopping, this can eat up a lot of your paycheck. Try to find some form of entertainment that cost little or no money at all. Here are a few suggestions:
-Go for a hike
-Play a sport at your local park
-Read a book
-Play board games
-Do yoga at home
-Start a garden (this can also save money on your grocery bill)
Minimize your electricity use.
Electricity is likely your most expensive utility. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your usage.
If the heating and cooling system in your house runs on electricity, it is likely one of the main contributors to your electric bill. This is especially true in the hottest and coldest parts of the year. For optimal energy efficiency, it’s recommended that you turn your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the warm months and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the cool months. If you’re away from your home for awhile consider adjusting your thermostat even higher in the warm months and even lower in the cool months to save even more.
Another way to cut back on electricity usage is to use LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs use around 75% less energy than the standard incandescent bulb and they last 25-50 times longer.
Your clothes dryer is also an electricity guzzler. As an alternative, trying hanging your clothes to dry. Most hardware stores carry everything you need to assemble an inexpensive clothesline.
Cut back on gas consumption.
If you do a lot of driving, gas can become a major monthly expense. This of course depends a lot on the fuel efficiency of your car and the price of gas where you live. Either way, you can reduce your monthly gas expenses.
One way to increase the fuel efficiency of your car is to remove excess weight. If you have a trunk full of stuff, consider emptying it to reduce the total weight of your car. If your car has a removable roof rack, remove that as well.
Driving conservatively is another way to reduce gas consumption. There are many different ways you can drive more conservatively. Listed below are a few examples:
-If you’re at a stoplight and it turns green, don’t push the pedal to the floor to race to the next stop light. Instead, slowly accelerate.
-Driving 65 mph or less leads to less gas consumption, but don’t be that person driving 65 mph in a 70 mph zone.
-Using your brakes less helps to reduce gas consumption. This is because when you break, you likely have to accelerate again, which uses more fuel. I’m not saying to use your breaks as a last resort, but I am saying to avoid constantly pumping the breaks because you’re tailgating someone.
Big savings in the long run.
While these 7 strategies may not result in significant immediate savings, over time the amount of money you save each month by utilizing these strategies will have slowly accumulated to a more significant amount that can put to good use whether it be for a home, vacation, or an education.
For ideas on how and why to invest your saved money check out these articles: