While everybody loves to save money, few want to sacrifice to do it. Thus, the biggest obstacle most people encounter when it comes to living on less is their mindset.
“I work hard every day, I deserve luxuries.”
Hey, we’ll be the last to refute that. People are working harder now to make ends meet than at any time in the past 40 years. The cost of everything is going up while wages are remaining flat. Facing that reality and incorporating these tips for reducing your monthly expenses is a wise decision.
Assess Your Situation
Rather than blindly cutting back on everything, begin by taking some time to see where your money goes each month. Make a list of all of your fixed monthly expenses, total them up and see how much is left over.
Anything above and beyond those hard costs is likely to be adjustable. This is especially true if you find a lot of spent money is unaccounted for each month. If this is the case, your spending on items of insignificance is likely to be out of control.
Your initial reduction efforts should be focused there.
Hit the Obvious Stuff First
- Meals/Dining Out: If you have a habit of frequenting restaurants, it’s time to get acquainted with the grocery store, a cookbook and your kitchen. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn you can eat even better at home for a lot less cash. Learn what grocery items cost, set a monthly budget for food and plan your purchases to land within the range you set.
- Telecommunications: Some providers offer discounts if you let them bundle your telephone, internet and cable services. If you currently have three separate providers, you could be missing opportunities to save. Many utility companies have plans that allow you to average your payments over the course of a year rather than dealing with seasonal peaks and valleys. You’ll pay the same on an annual basis, but your monthly outlay will be less.
- Entertainment: Cord cutting can save you a lot of cash over a cable subscription. With fast internet and a carefully curated assortment of streaming services, you’ll enjoy an abundance of televised entertainment at a much lower price. Even better, buy your own modem and router and jettison the monthly rental charges for these items.
- Subscriptions: Maybe you’re paying for access to publications you no longer read. Perhaps you’re shelling out cash each month to get a music streaming service ad-free. Ditto wine-club memberships and other entities you’ve given permission to siphon a few bucks from your checking account each month. Review them all and cancel anything you haven’t used in the past year.
Making Harder Choices
Depending on your motivation, it might make sense to dial back in more significant areas. If you’re making a huge lease payment on a luxury car, getting rid of it and moving into something more economical will save you money over the long run.
If your financial situation is really dire and you’re having trouble making the minimum payments on your credit cards, consulting a debt negotiation firm could help you find the best strategy to get back on track. Before you choose one though, look for some background information like Freedom Debt Relief reviews to help you make the best choice.
If you’re living in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., or Manhattan, and your job is conducive to working remotely, taking that big-city salary to a more affordable place will free up a lot of cash.
These tips for reducing your monthly expenses will help you find more money in your spending plan each month and improve the quality of your life. When viewed from that perspective, any associated compromises seem quite insignificant.