When it comes to cutting down on expenses, the most straightforward strategy is to — obviously — not buy things. Skip the fancy latte in favor of home coffee, cook at home instead of dining out, or go to the library rather than the book store, for example. 

But there are also small, creative and not-so-difficult changes you can make to your everyday life that will help cut down your monthly expenses. While each change might result in a few dollars saved, when it all adds up, you’ll have an extra bit of money in the bank each month.

Here are a few ways to get started.


Meal plan

This strategy will undoubtedly take the most time, but will likely reap the most savings. Plotting out your meals for the week will help avoid wasted food and unnecessary purchases, help you maximize ingredients and utilize leftovers. Bonus: a mapped-out strategy will likely help you eat healthier, too. 


Grocery shop mid-week — and buy generic brands
Because grocery stores are often packed on the weekends, many stores run sales and promotions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to provide extra value for shopping off hours. While you’re at it, buy generic rather than name-brand items. The products are often produced at the same facility, but without a name-brand, they’re often marked down as much as a dollar or two.  


Cancel unnecessary subscription expenses
Apps, streaming services, memberships, delivery services and other monthly subscription fees can really add up. Do an inventory of how much you pay out on subscriptions each month, and determine what you really use and what is worth the expense. 


Switch to reusable items

Rather than buying paper towel rolls by the dozen, switch to cloth rags or sponges. Instead of purchasing single-use bottles of water, invest in a durable water bottle that you can keep full (for free!). Opting for reusable items means you don’t have to buy them again, which is not only financially smart, but an eco-friendly choice, too. 


Drive slower

Taking it easy on the roads is not only better for safety, but for your gas budget. Driving at a smoother, more even pace uses less gas, is easier on your car, and is safer for the community. It’s a win all-around. 


Unplug energy vampires
Energy vampires are appliances and devices that continue to consume power from electrical outlets even when they’re not in use. Examples include phone chargers, computers, coffee makers, hair dryers and more. Unplug these while they’re not in use, and you should see your electric bill go down each month. 


Negotiate your bills

Sure, you’ll spend a significant amount of time on the phone. But set aside some time to reach out to your credit card company, cable companies, cell phone provider, insurance company or other provider to make sure you’re paying the lowest possible rate. Be friendly, patient and respectful, and you might just score a lower monthly bill. 


Designate “no-spend” weekends
Make at least one weekend a month a “no spend” weekend to save money. Get creative with your activities and cook at home, have a movie night, take advantage of free options in your area and indulge in other free offerings. Since most spending happens on the weekends, designating this time to stop spending will yield significant savings. 


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Whether you’re looking to save more or pay down debt, with a few small tweaks in your daily life, you can cut back on unnecessary spending. Then, you can put those extra funds toward accomplishing your financial goals.  


DISCLAIMER – This content is for informational purposes only, and is not financial, investment, or legal advice.