Cutting down costs is the only sure fire way to ever save money. While there are thousands of ways you can do this, these sixteen tips for cutting your cost of living are great for beginners and experienced money savers alike! They’re sure to help you balance your budget and build your savings account!
It seems like everyone is trying to cut down costs and spend less these days. After all, cost of living has gone up significantly over the past year or so. For some, buckling down and cutting costs is second nature. For others, it’s a task they have never had to do before and reducing their bottom line becomes an overwhelming mess for them.
Can Anyone Learn How to Cut Down Cost of Living?
No matter whether you’ve been saving money for decades or you’re just getting started, it never hurts to check to see if you’re missing some way to save money. Now this list of tips to save money is by far comprehensive. Frankly, I could never write a post long enough to cover every single way you could reduce your monthly expenses.
But, it is enough for those used to saving money and for those who are new, to recheck their spending and cut costs down one step at a time.
Earn Extra Money To Help Increase Cash Flow
The first step you should always take when you need to reduce your expenses is to find extra money. This is not so you can spend more, but so you can save more. You can do this by either finding a side hustle to make cash or by doing things such as survey companies online to earn cash or gift cards. Use the gift cards in place of cash in your budget and you can bank the cash.
For me, I often opt for the survey option. I have two sites that I have used for years to earn money with. Between the two, I have earned thousands of dollars in extra cash over the years.
The first is InstaGC. When you sign up for an InstaGC account, you’ll earn points for doing things such as taking surveys, completing offers, clicking links, playing games and more. Each point is equal to $0.01 so a 235 point survey equals $2.35. You can cash out your money when you have as little as $1.00. After your first payout, anything under $25.00 is instant while anything over $25.00 takes 1-2 days.
Create your InstaGC account HERE and you’ll score 10 free points when you do.
The second site I love to make money with is Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a lot like InstaGC although it does offer more ways to earn. When you sign up for a Swagbucks account, you’ll earn points for doing things like searching the web, watching videos, printing coupons and so much more. Swagbucks pays in gift cards including AmEx gift cards and Visa gift cards but offers a Paypal option too. Once you cash out, payments take between 7-10 days to get to you although they do offer different levels now where you can earn instant payouts.
Create a Swagbucks account HERE and earn free points when you sign up.
Downsize to Cut Costs
You may not have connected it yet, but you are very likely paying for more home than you need and that those costs are much more than rent or your mortgage. They add up in the cost of utilities, maintenance, and so on. Downsizing is a great way to save money on rent and cut the cost of housing by quite a bit.
I have done this myself multiple times. Three in fact. First, I down-sized to live in a hotel full-time – see my hotel costs of living HERE – then to live on the truck with my husband and currently to a 30-foot RV. The costs I pay now to rent my RV – with all utilities paid – are drastically lower than my costs to live in the house we moved out of earlier this year. In fact, they’re $2750 per month lower.
So to put that into perspective, that is $33,000 less that we pay for our housing each year. All because we downsized.
Change How You Shop
Shopping is a necessity for most of us, but changing how you shop can help you cut your food costs and more. Going into the store and just buying whatever is a great way to find yourself broke. Instead, change how you’re cooking and actually pay attention to what you’re spending and you’ll save more money than you expect.
My three personal favorite ways to save when I’m shopping are Ibotta, Rakuten and Honey.
When you create an Ibotta account HERE, you’ll be able to select rebates on everything from milk and meat to shampoo and magazines. Add the rebates you want to your account and head to the store. Buy the item and scan you receipt in the Ibotta app to get the cash back added to your account. At $20.00, cash out for cash or $25 for a gift card.
Create your Ibotta account with THIS link and get $10.00 free.
Rakuten is a fantastic way to save money on everything else. Create a Rakuten account HERE and you can earn cash back on thousands of stores. This is a great way to cut costs on clothing, household goods and more! Using Rakuten is simple. Log in, search for the site you’re looking for and click the “shop” button. It’s that simple to get part of your purchase back in cash!
Create your Rakuten account HERE and earn $10.00 free with your first $25.00 shopping order.
Change How You Cook
Another way to cut costs is to change how you cook. What I mean by this is that you should start looking at feeding your family as a whole versus the individual. Sometimes, our favorite meals, are cheaper in a different form than we normally make them.
Tacos, for instance. While I love tacos, to feed a family, they can be somewhat expensive to feed a large family once you account for the meat, cheese and toppings. However, put those toppings in a casserole dish to make a taco bake and you’ll use less meat and toppings while still feeding your family a great meal.
By changing how you look at your favorite recipes and changing them to fit the crowd, you will slowly begin to spend less on food.
Stop Eating Out
Most of us already know that when we stop eating out, we can cut costs, but I wanted to mention it for one reason; eating out is so simple to do that we often don’t realize how much we are doing it. Because of this, it is very simple to spend far more than we realize.
A very simple way to check to see how much you’re actually spending is to use a printable savings tracker to track your expenses. After just thirty days of doing so, you’ll know exactly how much money you’re wasting on restaurants.
Stop Using Food or Grocery Delivery Services
This is one that I have a particular hate of. Living in rural Texas, I love the fact that I can use Instacart to have groceries delivered as opposed to driving 20-miles each way into town. However, the cost of that delivery is more than what I want to pay often. By the time that I pay for service fees, tips and higher than in store prices, I’ve added more than $25 on average to each trip.
Like most convivences, grocery delivery should be one of the first things you cut when you are looking to cut costs down. If you’re having financial troubles, especially if you’re facing a financial crisis, you can’t afford to take the easy way out.
Cut Down Costs by Buying Less and Making More
Another sure-fire way to cutting down your costs is to buy less and make more. I started doing this in 2015 and the amount of money it has saved me has been unreal. Even if you can’t make a ton of different items, making a few can help you save a few dollars each month. Even $20.00 a month will add up.
Brand loyalty is ingrained in our society, but it’s also making us broke. The truth is that most of those brand name products are made by the same companies that make the generic ones. The same bottle of detergent that bares a brand name can be bought for several dollars less but under a different name.
Get rid of brand loyalty in your home if you’re really interested in cutting down costs.
Do What You Can to Save Gas
Recently, gas has spiked to record levels in the US and while it’s starting to come down, I doubt we will see $2.00/gallon anytime soon. That’s why I wrote a post not too long ago giving you the ultimate guide to save money on gas.
Even if you’ve been working at reducing your costs for years, doing everything you can to save money on gas will help to lower your costs quite a bit.
Take Cooler Showers
The hotter your showers, the more power you will use to heat that water. I understand the need for hot showers, but most homes have their water heaters turned way too high. This causes it to use much more power than is truly necessary. Turning your water heater down to 120°F will allow you to still take a hot shower and reduce costs a little bit at the same time.
Take Shorter Showers
In addition to turning your water heater down, taking shorter showers will also help cut costs down for water and power. No one is saying you need to take showers so short you can’t get clean, but it can be helpful to keep in mind that each minute you’re in the shower costs you.
Turn the Lights Off
Another very basic tip for cutting own costs is to watch your lights. It can become very easy to get into the habit of leaving them on, but it really is costing you quite a bit each month. This is especially true if your power costs have gone up per kwh over the past few months.
I also recommend installing a programmable thermostat if you have not already. Set it to run no higher than 70°F and keep the temps warmer when no one is home.
Finally, if your power company offers a paperless billing option, check to see if they give perks for opting into receiving your monthly bill by email. Some companies will offer you a discount each month just for doing this.
Reduce Unnecessary Subscriptions
If you’re like me, chances are good that you have at least five subscriptions you pay for each month. In the age of social media advertising, internet streaming services and cell phones, it’s not surprising.
Honestly, some months there are far more than five if I were to be honest. But, those subscriptions are often just throwing money down the drain.
Go through your bank statements and ensure there are are no extras that you don’t mean to be paying for. If you find any that you’re accidentally paying for, cancel them. Your entertainment costs should not be causing budget struggles.
Keep Up on Home Maintenance
When was the last time you checked your home for air leaks? Or the last time you had your HVAC system serviced? These things that go unchecked can literally cost you thousands if something breaks. You can save yourself this money and really reduce your cost of living by taking care of your home maintenance before there is a more costly break.
Become More Self-Sufficient will Help You Cutting Down Costs
When you’re really serious about cutting down costs, learning a new frugal skill or how to be more self-sufficient is really one of the only sure-fire ways to cutting down costs. Becoming more self-sufficient will help you rely on the store less in literally every way possible.
Frankly, the more you can rely on yourself and the grocery store less, the better off you’ll be financially.
That alone will save you hundreds; if not thousands; every year. If you’re really struggling to stop living paycheck to paycheck, this one single step will help.
Prepare for Hard Times
Finally, taking the time to prepare for hard times will help cut your expenses down at a time when it will matter the most. This is essentially taking the time to prepare for loss of a job, to prepare for higher inflation, and so on.
These preparations should include things such as learning how to create a crisis budget and learning how to build an emergency food stockpile. If and when things go upside down for your family, you’ll have these preparations in place.
What Have You Done to Cut Your Monthly Personal Expenses?
Cutting down costs isn’t something that happens overnight and as I said in the beginning of this post, this list is by far all you can do. However, start with these tips and then move on to the more advanced. As you begin to lower your expenses, you will find that you enjoy it more and that it becomes easier.
But if, at the end of the day you aren’t willing to look for a better deal, make a meal plan, a shopping list or work to lower your utility bills, then you really need to ask yourself why you’re not willing to change your spending habits and work at cutting down costs the way you want or need to.
Saving money isn’t easy, but it takes less time to work at saving money than it does to clean up a financial mess left behind by impulse buys, bad budgeting and credit card debt.