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How To Cut Down Your Monthly Expenses

A man calculates his expenses on a calculator with several receipts.

If you’re like many others, you may feel like your monthly expenses outpace your budget. It can be very frustrating to check your bank statements each month wondering how those expenses all added up. And as prices continue to rise with inflation and the average cost of living goes up, it can get overwhelming fast.

The good news is there are some simple ways you can better manage your money and cut down on your expenses. With the right knowledge and strategies, getting your finances in control doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated. All it takes is being mindful of your spending and following a few good habits that will set you up for success later on.

Keep reading to learn more about how to cut down on monthly expenses and other frugal living tips.

Review and Adjust Your Utility Bills

One of the primary expenses that people struggle with is their utility bills, as they’re consistent and can quickly add up over time. To cut down on your monthly costs, start by reviewing your utility bills and usage reports to see where you can make adjustments. Most people have to pay for water, electricity, gas, and trash/sewage at their homes, though some apartments and other communities can include some in the rent. You also should look at your monthly bill(s) for phone, internet, and cable, as many people don’t realize how much they’re paying for these utilities.

While adjusting your utility usage may sound like a tall task, there are some easy things you can do to shrink your bill. For example, you can turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use, install energy-efficient appliances, and take shorter showers to reduce your utility output. If you’re feeling brave, you can also negotiate with your service providers to see if they can offer you better rates or discounts.

Minimize Discretionary Spending

Another effective way to reduce your monthly expenses is to cut down on your discretionary spending. This includes expenses such as dining out, shopping for items you don’t need, and going out with friends. Many people also subconsciously lose lots every year on subscription services that they either forget about or don’t utilize enough to get their money’s worth.

Instead, prioritize essential expenses that are reliable and necessary to make sure you don’t overspend. Cook most of your meals at home, with dining out reserved for special occasions. Pay all of your bills as soon as you get them, as that will allow you to truly know how much disposable cash you have on hand. In general, paying for things you need before the things you want will allow you to save and get the most out of the discretionary money you can afford to spend.

A woman packs up food into containers while meal prepping.

Meal Planning

One of the biggest expenses for many households is food, as grocery costs can quickly add up even if you follow good frugal living habits. If you’re wondering how to cut down expenses related to food, consider meal planning and preparing your meals in advance. This way, you can easily buy in bulk, avoid wastage, and stick to your budget. You can also try cooking your meals from scratch using simple and affordable ingredients or looking for discounts and coupons for your favorite grocery stores. Many chains offer rewards programs for deals and fuel savings, too.

Ways to Save on Car Expenses

If you own a car, you know how many unexpected costs come with driving—especially if your vehicle is on the older side. When considering how to cut down car expenses, you really don’t have to go too far out of your way. Stay on top of regular maintenance and inspections to preserve your car’s long-term health. You can also explore carpool or public transit options to get around to reduce wear and tear and your gas usage. You may consider changing insurance if you can find a cheaper option too, and driving safely will keep your premiums low, while you’re at it!

Track Your Expenses

If you want to stay on top of your finances, you must keep track of your spending habits. This means logging all of your purchases, either by hand or with the help of an online app. Staying cognizant of your expenses will help you understand where your money is going, plan for future costs, and save for your financial goals. Our Landmark mobile banking app has trackers in the “Card” menu to keep you updated on all of the recurring purchases you have scheduled to your debit card number, as well as a Spend Insight tracker that will help categorize the money you spend using your debit card.

Practice Good Financial Habits to Save Money

Reducing monthly expenses can seem like an uphill battle at first, but with careful planning and commitment, it’s undoubtedly possible. Optimizing your utility usage, cutting your discretionary spending, and planning your meals are some easy ways you can enhance your financial stability. You may have to start small, but if you’re patient, it will pay dividends down the road—literally!

Looking for ways to stay on top of your spending? Landmark National Bank offers convenient options for online and mobile banking along with credit cards that can help you keep track of every dollar you spend. For the money you end up saving, explore our savings account options to keep growing your wealth. Find a bank branch near you today!

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