We get it: life is expensive. Even necessary items, like groceries and housing, can really add up. But there are plenty of strategies to reduce what you owe each month.
In this article, we’ll go over 11 ways you can cut your expenses drastically. If you’re looking to reduce monthly expenses to help create extra money to pay off your debt, open up that loan payoff calculator and let’s get down to business.
How to cut your expenses dramatically
1. Create a budget
Creating a budget can help you separate the essential items from the discretionary. To create a budget, compare your post-tax income against the income you bring home monthly. Then take stock of your spending habits. Allocate your cash to the items you need most and cut out anything that’s superfluous.
2. Kiss brand names goodbye
Brand names are oftentimes nothing more than good marketing. Purchase generic instead of brand names for a month and see if you can actually tell the difference.
3. Stop buying everything brand new
Some items should be purchased new, e.g. a baby’s car seat. However, things like books and clothing can be purchased secondhand to help you save some $$$.
4. Cut out unnecessary subscriptions
Do you really need monthly memberships to 3 boutique Pilates studios? 5 online newspapers? Every streaming service? Cutting back on subscriptions you don’t need or use that often can help you save.
5. Cut the cord
Do you still pay for cable? That’s basically akin to churning your own butter. Join the 21st century and cut the cord to save big.
6. Price match while shopping
Before you hand over your credit card, do a little online research to see if any other stores are carrying your item for less. Many stores price match and will honor the lower price.
7. Sell or rent your car
If you live in an area with reliable public transportation, you can consider selling your car. Or you could list your car on a site like Turo to rent it out when you’re not using it.
8. Cook at home
It can be tempting to give in to the siren song of Seamless when you’re tired/lazy/just cannot deal with cooking. But making meals at home instead of constantly ordering out will dramatically cut down on your food bills.
9. No more Starbucks
In the same vein, it’s also time to say goodbye to your daily venti Frappuccino. Making coffee at home is significantly cheaper than indulging in your Starbucks addiction.
10. Consolidate your credit card debt
Consolidating your debt can help you secure lower rates and simplify bill paying each month. To consolidate credit card debt, you could look into a balance transfer card.
You’ll move your existing debts to a new credit card with a promotional 0% APR period. Note that you’ll need to pay off your debt before the promotional period expires. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying a very high interest rate on your remaining balance.
11. Reduce housing costs
Decreasing your housing costs can help reduce your expenses bigtime. Options for saving include getting a roommate, moving to a cheaper area, and refinancing your mortgage (if you own your house or apartment).
These ideas can help you cut back today so your money can help you more tomorrow, e.g. with an emergency or retirement fund. The best time to start is right now—good luck on your savings journey!
Stefanie began her career as a journalist, reporting on options, futures, and pension funds, and most recently worked as a writer and SEO content strategist at a digital marketing agency. In her free time, she enjoys teaching Pilates and spending time with her daughter and Siberian Husky.