25 smart ways to spend less on everything

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A big pain point in life is bills. They come up every month, they need to be paid and, for some of us, they can really feel overwhelming and all-consuming. There are ways to lower your monthly bills, though, even the small ones that chip away at your income slowly.

In this article, we are going to share 25 ways to lower your monthly bills. It’s going to be divided into these categories for easy navigation:

  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Household
  • Entertainment

Make sure to bookmark this post for later. You won’t want to forget these money-saving ideas to lower your expenses every month.

Let’s go.

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How to Lower Your Monthly Bills on Transportation

Your transportation costs include all the expenses related to your transportation and commute. Transportation is a must for a lot of people. Not everyone can walk to work or school. You have to drive your car or take public transit. It’s a given.

Here are some ideas to help you reduce these costs.

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1. Switch Out Your Car

We’ll start with the most extreme tip. Switch your car for a cheaper vehicle. Doing this can help you save money on:

  • Your car payment
  • Maintenance costs
  • Fuel costs

Imagine if you drove a gas-guzzling truck. Trucks are great for holding for their value. As such, they tend to be priced higher than other kinds of vehicles. So, you are at a high car payment and high fuel costs.

Consider making a switch to a fuel-efficient sedan or hybrid vehicle. It’s a great way to save a ton of money on your car payment and lower your gas costs.

This might not work for everyone, but it’s definitely an option that can make the biggest impact to your transportation costs.

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2. Use Gas Apps

Your gas costs can eat up a lot of your money. Gas is a must if you own your vehicle. You need it to power your car and there’s no getting away from it.

But there are ways to save money on gas and you can do this with gas apps. Here are a few to check out:

  • Gas Buddy: This free app shows you the cheapest gas prices in town. The information on gas prices is crowdsourced, which means that people enter in gas prices that they find. This can lead to some inaccuracies and lack of up to date information, so keep this in mind. Aside from this, Gas Buddy is still one of the highest-rated apps for gas prices.
  • Gas Guru: This free app takes information from the Oil Price Information Service, which results in up-to-date, accurate prices on gas.
  • Waze: With this app, it will tell you while you’re traveling, where the cheapest gas around you is, and direct you to that location.

There are many more gas apps available. Just grab your mobile device and start searching in the app store.

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3. Carpool

An underrated yet very effective way of saving on transportation. Does your job have a carpool program? Join.

If they don’t, start your own carpool. There are even carpool apps like Scoop that help you find other people to carpool with.

Imagine if you carpooled with four other people. There would be a total of five people in the car and one new person would drive daily. So, each person drives once a week and rides four times a week, including you. Think about how much gas you could save doing this!

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4. Take Public Transit

Public transportation can be cheaper than driving your own vehicle to work or school. Think about taking the subway, bus, light rail or other public transportation in your city to work, and your wallet will thank you.

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How to Save Money on Your Monthly Food Bills

Next, we’re going to dive into some ways to save on food. Some of these may shock you, so keep reading.

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5. Cut Out Fast Food

This one is probably the first idea that pops into your head. Fast food is convenient. It’s also expensive. Cut it out completely and watch how much money you’ll save.

This one might take some practice but all it takes is more preparation and getting organized:

  • Try meal prepping
  • Do batch cooking

Meal prep will ensure that you always have food on hand to grab for lunch at work or pop in the microwave or oven at home to heat and eat.

Batch cooking is a great time saver for those who don’t want to spend hours cooking every day. Take one day a week, like a Sunday and cook your week’s meals.

Then, you can take it one step further and do your meal prep, as shared above. Store the food in meal prep containers and store in your fridge or freezer. Easy.

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6. Start Couponing

We’re not talking extreme couponing here, though you could try this if you’re up for the challenge. The easiest way to coupon for the non-couponer is through save money apps.

These apps are free and so easy to use. Here are a few to check out:

  • Ibotta: This app helps you spot the best deals on groceries in your area. It also gives you cash back on your purchases when you scan your receipt with the app.
  • Checkout 51: This app helps you get cash back on your grocery and gas purchases.
  • Dosh: This app is great for grocery savings and saving money on your everyday retail purchases. You get cash back on your purchases, and when you reach $25 on your Dosh balance, you can redeem for cash straight to your bank account, PayPal and other options.
  • Rakuten: Rakuten is more for online shopping but it is great to use for online grocery shopping or hunt for other deals.

And you can also do traditional couponing where you clip coupons you receive in your Sunday newspaper or in the mail.

Other places to find coupons include magazines, your local grocery store, coupon databases found on Krazy Coupon Lady and other places, or you can buy a coupon service which sends you coupons on a recurring basis (and even score free samples).

Have you tried grocery delivery services? This, surprisingly, can save you money.

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7. Cut Out Coffee to Go

Those Starbucks visits add up. And this goes back to eliminating fast food., which should include coffee. Spend five minutes in the morning and brew a fresh cup of coffee in your home kitchen. Invest in a coffee tumbler and take it to work.

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8. Buy Frozen Instead of Fresh

Fresh foods are the best, especially products like fruits and veggies. But they’re also expensive. You can save money on fresh foods by just buying them frozen.

Instead of buying fresh green beans you can buy a huge bag of frozen or even canned green beans. Instead of buying fresh strawberries for your smoothies, get a frozen bag of berries.

These simple switches can make a big difference.

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Lower Your Monthly Household Bills

Here are 10 ways to lower your monthly bills on household expenses. These are those dedicated expenses you cannot get away from, like rent, your light bill, etc. Take a look.

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9. Move

Again, we’re starting with the most extreme change, which is moving. If you live in an amenity-rich area, you’re definitely paying for the location. Whether you’re renting or you own, you can move to a cheaper area, saving a ton on your rent or mortgage payment.

This doesn’t have to be a “forever” change. You can think of it as temporary. Once you reach your savings goal or pay off your debt or any other financial goals you have, you can definitely consider moving back.

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10. Bring on Roommates

Adding roommates to the equation instantly cuts your bills down by a sizable chunk. Get one roommate and cut your bills by half, possibly. Bring on two roommates and start paying a third of household expenses.

This can be a big change but it can definitely be worth it.

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11. Use Timed Outlets and Faucets

Save money on both your electric bill and water bill by using timed outlets and faucets.

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12. Get a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is an investment that is well worth it. It will allow you to program the temperature in your home so you can keep it warmer while you’re away, like during the workday and cooler when you’re home.

Some smart thermostats even come with an app that you can download on your phone that let you program the temperature while you’re away from the home.

Or you can set your temperature on autopilot so the thermostat will set a cooler temperature on your drive home and you can walk into a cool house.

It’s all really cool (pun intended) and a great way to save on energy costs.

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13. Unplug Appliances Not in Use

It’s called vampire energy, and it happens when you have appliances plugged in that you aren’t using. That means when your toaster is plugged in during the week and you’re not using it, you are definitely still paying for it.

Try unplugging televisions, microwaves and other appliances you aren’t using. This will save you big on your electricity costs.

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14. Take Advantage of Promotions Your Utility Companies Offer

If your utility provider is offering a promotion, take advantage. This can mean a lower price on electricity, internet, cable or other utility costs. This is one of the easiest ways to save.

All you have to do is call your utility provider every three to six months and ask for ways to save money.

Trim can also help you do this so you never have to directly talk with anyone.

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15. Get Money-Saving Upgrades

Along with calling your utility provider for information on promotions and deals to save, it’s also common that they offer cost-saving upgrades.

This means they can supply you with equipment, like an upgraded thermostat, water heater or other upgrade to save you money. And a lot of times, this is totally free.

Call your utility provider and ask.

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16. Turn It Off When You Leave the Room

It’s easy to unplug appliances not used but for the stuff you can’t unplug, turning it off will save on energy and lower your utility costs.

For example, when you leave a room, you can turn off the ceiling fan or flip the light switch off. These easy changes can add up.

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17. Negotiate Your Bills

Yes you can absolutely negotiate your bills! I do this by using Trim and saves us $100s of dollars a year on our cell phone and wifi bills.

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18. DIY Landscaping

This is about dwindling your household costs to as close to zero as possible.

If you are hiring a landscaper to groom your bushes or mow your lawn, ditch that service and start doing it yourself.  Again, another service that doesn’t break the bank but it can save you hundreds per month or more if you do it yourself.

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19. Fire the Pest Control

Another home service you can do yourself.

Eliminate the pro pest control that costs you hundreds every year and start doing preventative home pest control yourself. You can buy sprays, pellets and pesticides at your local hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot and treat your home yourself.

There are a ton of hacks and tricks to keep your home bug-free too, if you just do some light research on the internet.

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Lower Your Monthly Entertainment Costs

These last six money-saving ideas will save money on your entertainment costs without leaving you bored. Check it out.

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20. Cut Down Your Subscriptions

You noticed I didn’t say cut out your subscriptions. You can still have some subscriptions to keep you sane but cut them way down. Here are some common subscriptions you may have:

  • Streaming TV providers (like Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
  • Beauty/Grooming subscription boxes
  • Food subscription boxes
  • Food delivery services
  • Gym membership

Pick your favorites and keep one or two of them, eliminate the rest. You can use an app called Truebill to actually do it more automatically so you don’t have to go digging into the depth of your bank statements for these.

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21. Embrace No-Spend Weekends

Every weekend doesn’t have to destroy your wallet. There are many ways you can be entertained without spending money and no, this doesn’t mean you have to be tied to your home all weekend long.

Here are some ideas:

  • Free community events like music in the park, free festivals or carnivals
  • Exercise in your neighborhood or at home
  • Play sports like basketball or ping pong at your community center
  • Go swimming in your community center
  • BYOB at your house
  • BYOB at a friend’s house
  • Binge watch your favorite movies
  • Organize/rearrange your house
  • Take free courses (there are many free ones available online for watercolor painting, etc.)

Try any one of these ideas or come up with your own.

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22. Cut Back on Going Out

You don’t have to scrap this completely but instead of going out 4 times a month, cut back to once a month or twice a month. This is an easy change that will instantly save you money.

But with COVID-19, cutting out on going out is getting easier when everything is closed. Maybe start with cutting out on takeout for a bit to see if it makes a difference.

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23. Do Chores

This isn’t necessarily fun but it’s a good way to keep you busy, help you stay productive and get stuff done.

On a boring Saturday, take the day to Spring clean your house, wash your car, wash your dog, clean out your attic or garage, do some landscaping, organize your closet, throw out old stuff around your home, etc.

Then see what you can sell from what you find or clean that you no longer need.

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24. Get Loyalty Cards

If you happen to frequent the same ice cream place or another favorite spot often throughout the year, get a loyalty card. A lot of restaurants and retailers have them and they are totally free. They let you earn points for every purchase which leads up to a freebie or reward in the future.

If you buy nine smoothies, the 10th one is free, for example.

They also offer rewards for special events like freebies on your birthdays, free stuff on national days like a free hotdog on hotdog day, etc.

This is a super easy way to score free stuff.

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25. Turn Your Hobby Into A Side Hustle

Do you enjoy knitting or watercolor painting? Or another hobby? Make it a side hustle. Doing your hobbies can make you money and you can throw that money towards your bills.

Sell your stuff online in places like:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Etsy
  • Storenvy

Your side hustle could fuel your entertainment during the month or more!

This article originally appeared on ILikeToDabble.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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