6 tips to cut your monthly spending in half
Posted May 7
As finance blogs and "The Millionaire Next Door" have taught us, spending less than you earn is the golden rule of smart money habits. While some bills are a necessary evil — I’m looking at you, apartment rent and car insurance — there are usually a handful of others we can eliminate entirely.
One of the best ways to cut down on your overall spending is to reduce your recurring bills. Even seemingly insignificant monthly charges can add up and take a toll on your wallet over the long term. Plus, reducing your monthly bills as opposed to cutting back on spending entirely means you don’t have to sacrifice your desired lifestyle.
If you’re ready to cut your monthly bills in half, give these six tips a go.
Hunt for affiliate sites
Many companies have affiliate programs where an individual or group is paid a commission to promote or sell the services of that company. Often, these affiliate sites offer special deals that allow you to save on monthly charges and receive free incentives.
For example, if you want cable TV instead of a streaming service but don’t want to pay the traditionally hefty fees, use a deal site or a coupon code to switch providers and take advantage of discounted pricing.
Switch cellphone carriers
Major phone carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T, are well-known for offering steep discounts and incentives when you switch from another carrier. Some will offer you up to $650 per line to cover switching costs.
Compare your current monthly charges with other providers and see if you can save while still getting the same features you want. Like your current phone carrier? Call and explain you’re considering switching to another provider and the rep may offer you a credit or discount for staying.
Eliminate energy vampires
One of the worst ways to waste money is on unnecessary energy use. When you put your computer on standby or leave electronic devices plugged in, they’re still consuming energy, even if you aren’t using them. This includes everything from your phone charger to the toaster.
The Department of Energy estimates that “energy vampires” — these power-sucking electronics — can add an extra 10 percent to your monthly utility bill. Use a power strip so you can turn off multiple devices in one go to save on your bill.
Negotiate a lower rent
Not many people realize that you can often negotiate a lower monthly rent with your landlord. Often, landlords are willing to reduce your monthly rent if you prepay a few months at a time, sign a longer lease or extend your termination notice.
Alternatively, you may be able to earn a rent discount if you refer a tenant for a new occupancy or help out around the complex by doing things like cleaning up common areas or newly unoccupied apartments.
Search for gym deals
Gym memberships can be expensive, especially when you consider annual dues. If you’re considering switching from or joining a gym, don’t sign a contract before searching for a deal.
And don’t forget to ask your health insurance provider. Some plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield and other providers reimburse members if they sign up with a participating gym.
Save on groceries
Coupons aren’t the only way to save on your grocery bill. Consumer-advocate site Clark estimates you can save up to 30 percent on groceries by switching up your routine.
Start by changing where you shop. While it’s nice to eat organic, Trader Joe’s and Sprouts are significantly cheaper than Whole Foods. For perishables, buy in bulk at wholesalers like Costco or Sam’s Club. Lastly, never shop on an empty stomach or without a list. Otherwise, you’re more likely to buy items you don’t need.
Saving money can be easy and even fun. Make a game out of it and see how many expenses you can cut. Try out a few of these tips and make it a goal to accomplish at least one of them this month and share your success in the comments below.
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