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Looking for ways to cut costs on monthly expenses? There are lots of ways to squeeze more money out of your budget!

Anything that pulls money from your account on a regular basis is a prime target for reducing expenses. Things like premium cable channels, gym memberships, book clubs, and subscription boxes are examples.

Whether you need the money for debt-repayment, emergency fund savings, or your next vacation. These options will get the cash flowing!

1. Shop Rates on Auto and Homeowners Insurance

Shopping for better insurance rates is an easy way to free up extra cash. It only takes a short time to get your policies out, see what your current coverage is, and start comparing. The average savings is roughly $700 per year! That’s a decent chunk to plunk on your debt, isn’t it?

It is less expensive to insure an older or a paid-for vehicle because you can drop the comprehensive coverage, which protects against non-accident damage like hail or vandalism. Once your total yearly premiums exceed the value of the vehicle you should consider dropping the collision insurance.

You may be required to maintain liability insurance which will pay for the damage and bodily injury to the other driver if you caused the accident. Note: Liability insurance will not cover your injuries or car damage! State laws vary so check your regulations.

If you bundle home and auto with the same company, you can easily save 15% or more. Consider raising your deductibles if you already have your emergency fund in place. You will also save if you pay annually or semi-annually instead of monthly.

Don’t forget to find an independent insurance broker to check rates for you because they can check the best rates from several companies and they work for you, not the insurance company.

2. Save on Health Insurance

Health insurance is another area to search for savings. If you are young and healthy you may be able to choose a less expensive coverage or a higher deductible because you will probably not need to use the coverage. What a great motivation to eat right and exercise. You can also select a higher deductible if your emergency fund is in place because you have the funds to offset the risk.

Many companies are offering health savings accounts which allow you to deposit tax-deferred savings for future medical costs. Now you do not need to rush around in December to spend all your money in the account because there are no “use it or lose it” requirements.

Checking insurance does take a bit more thought than other cost-cutting measures, but the payoffs are worth the time!

3. Cost-cutting Your Utilities

Utilities for the average home can run $2,200 per year. Let’s see how we can put some of that cash back into your pocket!

Check with your local providers for an energy audit. Some companies offer free online audits. You may be eligible for rebates for light bulbs, or energy efficient appliances.

Unplug When Not In Use

Unplug any electrical device when you aren’t using it. They all draw a small amount of power called a phantom charge. Hour after hour those energy costs add up. Besides anything unplugged is not a fire safety hazard. Power strips with a switch can make this easier to do.

Use LED or CFL Light Bulbs

Use the energy-efficient LED or CFL Bulbs. Even if you don’t want to replace them all at once because they are initially more expensive, buy one or two and begin replacing when your incandescent bulbs burn out. Many electric companies offer rebates or even a starter package that includes these light bulbs.

At the very least, you can consider using a lower wattage in areas that do not need bright lighting. Lower the wattage in bedrooms, and living areas like the family room, but keep the higher wattage in the kitchen and bathroom.

Lower Water Heater Temperature

Simply lowering your hot water heater temperature to 125 -130 degrees can save money on your bill, and it takes only a few seconds. Not only that, but it is also a safety measure against scalding. Purchase an insulated hot water heater blanket that prevents heat loss, and saves you money.  You can even get pipe insulation to further cut costs. Finally, turn your hot water heater to “vacation” mode if you will be gone for a few days.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

If you own your home install a programmable thermostat to keep the house cooler in winter while you are away, and vice versa in the summer, and set it to a more comfortable temperature about thirty minutes before you return.

Even if you are home all day, you can usually adjust the temperature a few degrees to save some money. Use insulating draperies or blinds or ceiling fans rather than air conditioning. Wear a wet bandana around your neck in the most sweltering heat and you will feel cooler.

Airseal Your Home

Sealing up air leaks can save up to 30% on your utility costs. This can be accomplished inexpensively with caulking and weatherstripping. Check out this guide from the US Department of Energy.  Reducing draftiness actually improves your comfort level in your home as well.

Check out the energy tax credits available this year for additional savings especially if you are considering appliance purchases or home improvements such as replacement windows, or a new heating or air-conditioning unit.

Cut Costs on Cable, Gym Memberships, Book Clubs, and Subscription Boxes

First, canceling cable frees up time to work these other strategies to your advantage. Set a goal to pay off a set amount of debt or save a certain amount before you add these items back in. We no longer purchase cable, but use an HD antenna, and subscribe to Netflix.

Anything that can reduce distractions and costs for a period of time to allow you to get in a better financial situation should be on the chopping block. Once you’ve made progress or achieved the goal, you can always determine if any of these expenses can be reintroduced.

Look for Free or Low-Cost Entertainment Options

Free Community Events

Many communities have free events like outdoor movie nights or concerts. Even museums will occasionally offer free or reduced admission. Most high-schools have musicals in the spring that are reasonable. Plan to visit a community parade or take a picnic to a local park.

Encourage your children to participate in your school playground program or a summer vacation Bible school program. Consider joining a church or community sports league.

Use Your Library

You can check out any book even if your library doesn’t have that title by using the interlibrary loan system. Reading aloud to my children was one of our favorite family times. Choose books three-five years above their reading level because they can comprehend at a higher level than they can read. Consider audio books. Sit outside on a summer evening and listen while you watch the stars come out.

Play Board Games

Play board games or card games rather than watch TV or play video games. You really do learn to interact more as a family. Some of my favorite memories are the times we laughed ourselves silly after a game of spoons!

Groceries

Surprisingly, there is usually a nice chunk of change available once you take a close look at the amount you are spending on groceries. Since you cannot eliminate this cost, it is important to get it under control to gain traction on either debt repayment or savings. Check out this post for a meal plan that will save time and money, or this post outlining 11 ways to save money on groceries.

Why Bother?

When you cut costs on recurring expenses you gain savings on a recurring basis! Multiply that expense by 12 to see the yearly benefit to cutting costs.

Cut recurring costs to build recurring savings

What recurring costs did you cut, and how will you use the recurring savings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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