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Save Money by Cutting Expenses

Saving isn't difficult when you spend more wisely.

woman sorting through bills

If you feel like you never have any money left at the end of the month and you need to get a handle on spending, there are ways to cut back without a lot of sacrifice. Cutting expenses doesn't just mean spending less. It's about spending wisely and getting the best value for your dollar.

Here are some ways you can cut expenses without cutting into your standard of living.

Around Your House

  • Use a programmable thermostat. Setting the temperature back 10-15 degrees while you're sleeping or away can save up to 15 percent on your heating bill.

  • Check for water leaks. The average U.S. home wastes (and pays for) about 10,000 gallons of water every year because of leaks.

  • Replace light bulbs with compact florescent lights (CFL). Replacing a single bulb could save more than $57 over the life of the CFL.

  • Lower your heating and cooling costs by sealing leaks around windows and doors.

  • Improved insulation will reduce heating and air conditioning costs.

Transportation

  • Find the cheapest gas with MSN Autos' Gas Price Finder.

  • Use public transportation.

  • Carpool if possible.

  • Check tire pressure. Cars with low tires use more gas.

Entertainment

  • Bring a lunch to work instead of eating out or using the cafeteria.

  • Skip the coffee shop and bring coffee from home.

  • Eliminate cable or satellite TV and get local news by antenna and movies by the Web or from a library.

  • Cancel subscriptions to magazines you don't read.

Day-to-Day Expenses

  • Clip coupons or use online coupon sites.

  • If you have a cell phone, do you even need a landline?

  • Buy non-perishable items in bulk.

  • Do only full loads of laundry or dishes.

Personal Finances

  • Review your insurance. An American Family agent can help make sure you're properly covered and explain money-saving options.

  • Use a credit card that provides rewards or discounts. Pay the bill off every month to avoid interest charges.

  • Pay off loans early. Paying $100 extra every month toward the principal of the average 30-year mortgage will take off six years of payments and save thousands of dollars in interest.

  • Use ATMs with no service fees.

  • Pay cash when possible – psychologically it's harder to spend cash than using credit cards, and you'll save on interest charges.

  • Carry only one credit card for emergencies to avoid excess spending.

With a little common sense and minimum sacrifice, you can reduce your expenses and start saving for the things you really want.

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