Every month, there are certain expenses you have to pay for — food, housing costs, transportation and electricity, to name a few. Although you won’t be able to eliminate these costs outright, if you’re strategic, you can use a number of ways to save money on these monthly expenses.
Here are 10 smart and simple money moves to make:
1. Skip Your Morning Coffee Run
You can save $20 to $30 a week — or $80 to $120 a month — by making your own coffee at home. “Save the $3 to $5 you spend daily and instead buy a bag of your favorite brand of coffee for the same price that could last you two to three weeks longer,” said Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at cash back site TopCashback.
If that proves to be too difficult, you can still buy your coffee and use other ways to cut your Starbucks bill.
2. Meal Prep
Want to know how to save money on groceries? Only buying groceries you actually need and bringing your lunch to work every day can trim your monthly food budget.
“Packing a lunch every day instead of eating out can save $30 to $50 a week,” said Smith. “And stay true to the saying, ‘Never go shopping without a list or on an empty stomach;’ make a list to avoid any spontaneous purchases.”
3. Do It Yourself
In many cases, your lazy habits could be costing you. “Whether you pay the take-out delivery fee, have your groceries delivered to you or you purchase pre-cut veggies and fruits, the fees add up and you are wasting your money,” said Smith. “Save money and do simple tasks on your own.”
4. Ditch Your Gym
A creative way to save money is to get your workouts done outside of the gym. “Instead of paying $40 a month for a gym membership, cancel the membership and put the $40 towards your savings or paying off additional debt,” said Smith.
Instead, exercise outdoors — for free — by going for a jog, run or bike ride.
5. Shop Generic
You can find plenty of ways to save money on a tight budget, but one of the easiest is to ditch name-brand products. It’s tempting to always shop for familiar brands, but you can decrease your monthly grocery spending by buying generic items.
Between gas and tolls, commuting can cost you up to $25 a week and put a strain on your budget, said Smith. “I recommend opting into carpooling with coworkers, using public transit, or even biking or walking to work,” she said. Saving $25 every week will put an extra $100 in your pocket each month.
More Tricks to Save Money: 39 Ways to Save for Your Emergency Fund
7. Save on Your Electricity Bill
In several states, customers can choose their own electricity providers. Shopping around for cheaper energy could end up cutting down your monthly utility bill by 30 to 40 percent, especially during months when you are consistently using air conditioning, said Kelly Bedrich, co-founder and president of ElectricityPlans, a site that allows you to compare electricity rates and shop plans.
If you don’t live in a deregulated state, you can still cut down your bill by unplugging all unused electrical devices, said Smith.
8. Downgrade Your Cable and Internet Package
“Switch your cable plan to basic cable and internet,” said J.R. Duren, personal finance analyst at consumer review site HighYa, an online community where consumers can research products. “Consumers paying more than $100 for cable and internet are usually paying too much. Companies like Comcast usually offer basic cable and fast internet for less than $65 a month.”
If you find that you’re mostly getting your entertainment fix from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, you can save even more by cutting the cable cord altogether.
9. Renegotiate Your Rent
As a renter, you can save money by renegotiating your rent amount when it comes time to renew your lease agreement. “Assuming you have been a good tenant, everyone’s life would be a bit easier if you just stayed,” said Jeff Proctor, personal finance expert from money blog DollarSprout. “That gives you leverage to start the conversation with your landlord. Do your research and see what price similar units in your area are being leased at. Data is king here; the more information you can gather that helps your case, the better your chances of negotiating a lower rate are.”
10. Do Preventive Maintenance
As a homeowner, you can end up saving in the long term if you dedicate time each month to do some preventive maintenance tasks on home appliances and building materials. You can start with changing air filters, trimming overgrown shrubs around HVAC units and cleaning out the back of the dryer’s vent from lint. “Not doing these tasks increases your monthly energy bills, as systems have to work harder and longer to heat or cool the house, dry your clothes, heat your hot water, etc.,” said John Bodrozic, co-founder of digital home management platform HomeZada.