5 Ways to Control Monthly Expenses

Who has ever said, “Why, no, I don’t need to save a few bucks every month?” Saving money often requires sacrifice, but the idea that saving is difficult couldn’t be further from the truth. You may have to cut back on a few expenses, but watching your debt shrink and your savings account build is worth it.

Have a Light Bulb of an Idea

light bulb
Image via Flickr by wuestenigel

Do you have an idea so good that it’s like a cartoon light bulb goes off in your head? Consider this thought: The light bulb is the great idea. Changing the bulbs you use in all the fixtures throughout your house probably doesn’t seem like a money-saving idea. If anything, buying new light bulbs for all the overhead lights and lamps in your home is a costly expense.

Over time, incandescent bulbs are more expensive. They use more energy and more electricity, and so they also use energy at a faster rate. As a result, they tend to burn out faster, which causes you to replace them more often. Who needs that hassle? While LED lights cost more initially, you won’t need to replace them as often as you do incandescent bulbs. The LEDs don’t use as many kilowatts either, saving you $100 or more over the lifespan of the LED lights.

Add or Subtract 5 Degrees

You may believe you can do little to save money on heating and cooling that doesn’t involve buying an expensive new HVAC system. However, all you need to do is to adjust the temperatures on the thermostat during the summer and winter seasons.

How cool do you keep your house during the summer? If you keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees, take the temperature up to 73 degrees and observe how the house feels. As long as everyone in the home is cool enough, you don’t have a reason to turn the thermostat lower. During the winter, lower the temperatures by 5 degrees.  By doing so, you should save at least $100 every year.

Pare Down Your Phone Plan

phone plan
Image via Flickr by pabak sarkar

Nearly everyone who owns a mobile phone can waste a certain amount of money every month, whether it’s on data, apps, or contracts. Getting locked into a contract can quickly consume your monthly expenses. Switching over to prepaid phone plans from a provider such as T-Mobile, for example, puts you in control. With a deal like this one, you can use T-Mobile’s reliable nationwide 4G LTE network for your communications. However, you can choose unlimited data, multiple lines, or pay-as-you-go plans that allow you to add text, data, and storage as needed.

In addition to cutting down on your monthly payouts, using a prepaid phone plan can also help you to create a monthly budget. You no longer have to carve out a significant chunk of cash to take care of your cell phone bill each month. You also won’t have to worry about overage charges either.

Whittle Down Your Debt

Debt can swallow up your savings each time you get ahead. Use the money you save to battle it as much as possible. Follow the debt avalanche method, which advises paying the minimum payments on all credit cards and other debts while paying extra on the card that has the highest interest. With the snowball method of debt reduction, everything extra goes toward your smallest debt.

Improve Your Grocery Shopping Game

grocery cart
Image via Flickr by eddie.welker

Food is a necessity, but it costs a great deal of money, too. Every Sunday, sit down to put together a meal plan. Make a menu for each day of the upcoming week. Include plans for leftovers, such as eating the same meal twice, making something new from a previous meal, or taking your leftovers for lunch. Once you know what you want to buy, you can save money in two ways: Make a list and follow it to the item, and use what coupons you can.

Everyone wants to make the most of budgets, so share your tricks. How do you cut down on monthly costs?

 

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