7 Painless Ways To Cut Back on Essential Costs

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One of the common approaches for fighting inflation and rising cost-of-living expenses is to use clever techniques that help cut costs.

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Certain expenses may be negotiated or entirely cut out of budgets while savvy shoppers can use budgeting techniques to find extra savings and deals. In the GOBankingRates infographic below, you’ll find examples of painless ways to cut back on the cost of essentials — and then keep reading for further details.


Cancel Underused Monthly Subscriptions

It’s possible that you may be subscribing to more subscription services, including movies and TV, music and gaming, than you realize. 

Jacqui Kearns, chief brand and strategy officer at Affinity Federal Credit Union, said many individuals signed up for an extraordinary amount of streaming services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kearns said that in many cases, households that stream now pay more for streaming services than they did when they cut the cord on their cable provider. Take a moment to review your existing subscriptions, see which services you use the most and determine which services may be kept or canceled in your streaming bundle.

Make Your Money Work for You

Make a Weekly Meal Plan

One place inflation has hit hard is the grocery store. Savvy shoppers are using several budgeting strategies to stretch their dollars at the grocery store and ensure everyone in the family enjoys a delicious meal. 

Some of these popular strategies are included in our infographic, like meal planning for the week, shopping sales and buying in bulk at warehouse clubs. There are even more grocery shopping secrets that shoppers have previously shared with GOBankingRates. Keep more money in your wallet by arriving at the store armed with a list to curb impulse buys, buying store brands, shopping for in-season produce and using any credit cards that offer points or cash back on grocery store purchases.

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Price Compare

Shop around! You can do this by scanning ads in store circulators, checking coupons and downloading apps that allow you to find additional coupons and deals at stores in your area. Comparison shop by comparing prices on similar items at different stores to determine which store is offering the best deals.

Make Your Money Work for You

Program Your Thermostat

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now is the time to invest in one for your home or apartment. Programming your thermostat allows you to control the times of day that you preheat or precool your abode and ensures you don’t have heat or AC running at all hours of the day or during the most expensive hours of the day. You can set the thermostat before leaving your home or use your smartphone to control the temperatures accordingly.

Switch Mobile Plans (or Carriers)

There are several bad habits that can hike up a phone bill, including going over your data limit and constantly investing in smartphone upgrades. One painless way you can cut back on phone costs is to periodically examine your mobile service. If you find your billing statement is too expensive, it may be time to make a change. Look into switching to another plan offered by the same provider or even exploring other affordable carriers. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Lower the Water Heater Temperature

Lowering the temperature on your water heater is actually something most people can DIY on their own, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. While some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, you can set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. 

Reducing the temperature settings on your water heater means saving anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses. Lower water temperatures for consumption including showers, dishwashing and washing clothes can also result in additional savings with some amounting to more than $400!

Seal Off Home Air Leaks

There are obvious and less-than-obvious gaps in your home that can lead to air leaks. Conduct a regular visual inspection on the inside and outside of your home to detect any cracks or gaps that could lead to air leaks by following advice in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver program

You may also learn how to conduct a basic building pressurization test. This can help increase infiltration through cracks and leaks and make it easier to detect them. Once you know where the gaps are in your home that lead to air leaks, you’ll be able to properly seal your home from air leakage and save more money.

While many homeowners know that heating and cooling expenses are on the rise, most may not fully understand what else they can do to reduce these expenses. Kearns recommends reaching out to your electric or energy providers to review a home statement. These new documents give homeowners a peek into where they can make their home more energy efficient and regulate overall energy consumption.

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