Unnecessary expenses are something that most of us don’t really think about until it’s too late and we’re looking at our bank account at the end of the month, but with some careful planning a bit of disciple, there are dozens of ways you can cut expenses to save money. In fact, many of us could save more than $100 a year by simply changing our bank account.
Saving money is easy when you know where it’s going, so take a look at your expenses, and then try applying some of these tips to cut back on unnecessary
Everyone likes to eat out, and whether you make a beeline for McDonald’s or an internationally acclaimed fusion food restaurant, you should stop. Eating out means paying more for food, more for beverages, and usually paying for gas to get there. The average restaurant bill per person ranges from $28.55 for a nice restaurant to $5.32 for fast food, but if you’re eating out 2-5 times per week, that adds up, and quickly. In fact, California is one of the most expenses places in the United States to go out for lunch, with a lunch in the business district usually running at about $14.
Beverages are a huge expense for most people, and they shouldn’t be. While you might be spending $4 on your coffee in the morning, you could probably make the same item at home with a Keurig, Senseo, or a French Press for as little as 25 cents per cup. How much does $4 amount ot every year? $1,408. That’s a lot when you consider most of us actually indulge in more than one coffee per day, and the average high end coffee machine is usually under $450. You should also look at soda, especially at gas stations and convenience stores, energy drinks, and any type of refrigerated coffee. Sustaining a 4 a day Starbucks refrigerated coffee habit could run you as much as $450 a month.
Paying $80 for cable is a waste of money when you could have Netflix and HULU together for as little as ¼ of that. Internet television services have hundreds of shows and movies, and you can watch on demand rather than hoping you’ll catch what’s on. Even if you do love TV and want to see certain programs, you can try to narrow your cable subscription down to the most affordable plan that still includes what you watch.
Rent to Own Furniture or Electronics
If you’re renting to own, you might want to think again. Even purchasing items with your credit card can be more affordable, because interest rates can be as high as 100%. Unless you’ve almost paid off rent to own items, you’re literally better off returning them, purchasing something new with your credit card, and paying that bill as quickly as possible. Plus, you’ll get points through your card, and likely get an additional warranty through the card as well.
Try to switch all of your bills over to E-payments. They will automatically deduct from your bank, and you won’t ever pay a late fee again. Most businesses, landlords, and utility companies in California accept e-payments, you’ll just have to set it up with your bank.
The average phone bill is $71 per individual, per month. But, you could be cutting that down, unless you’re locked into a subscription for your phone. Even switching to using Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime for calling friends and family can help keep you from going over your subscription minutes and paying extra, but you can consider using them to swap out some of your plan as well. Free WiFi is everywhere, especially if you live in a busy city area like San Francisco or Sacramento. What else? If you’re not locked into a plan, going to a no-subscription or pay as you go module can save you a lot of money. Tally up how much Internet and calling you use, and compare plans available in your area. Unlimited plans usually range from $40 to $70 per month. Basic plans start at just $10 per month. Plus, if you don’t need the newest, fanciest phone, you can usually get a phone that is two generations old for $1 with many contracts.
Subscriptions & Memberships
Most people have multiple subscriptions to magazines, games, gyms, and many other things, and they often don’t use them. Go through your subscriptions and memberships and cancel anything that you aren’t using. If you have a gym membership, consider checking to see if there is a local YMCA near you, and visit it. Many have free or nearly free gym programs, and you can try joining.
Credit monitoring services are an upsell from many credit card companies and banks. Cancel yours. You can easily check your credit reports online for free once a month.
Credit Cards and Bank
Did you know that you likely pay a monthly fee for every credit card you own? You can also usually avoid monthly bank fees by switching your account to online only. If your check is electronically deposited, you can save as much as $10-$15 every month by switching to online only. Credit cards usually charge similar amounts. If you have more than one card and you won’t be charged for cancelling it, consider paying it off or transferring the amount to another card if necessary and then cancelling it. If you spend money on your credit cards for rewards, you should also ensure that you pay them off before the next billing period, as the next billing period includes interest. Cancelling services like allowing overdrawing can save you money as well.
Use Public Transport or Carpool
Switching to public transport or carpooling to work can save you gas money, repair bills, and if you don’t own a car, a lot of tax and monthly car bills as well. Walking and cycling can save you a lot as well. You’ll also get benefits, like using carpool lanes (just go to the DMV and ask for a sticker),
Cut Down on Energy Bills
Most people use way too much electricity and water, but you don’t have to. Lower your thermostat, and turn off lights when you’re not in the room. A programmable thermostat is a great way to save money as well without coming home to a cold house, but it does require an initial upfront investment.
Cutting back on unnecessary expenses requires that you know where you’re spending money, so write out a budget to get yourself started. If you know where your money is going, you’ll be able to focus on where to reduce it as well. Good luck cutting back your expenses.