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Ways to Lower Monthly Expenses

By the time your paycheck is deposited, you pay the bills, fill up your gas tank, meet up your friends for a well-deserved night out after a long work week, you may find that the bank account balance has a little less remaining than what you had hoped, and you say to yourself “Where did it go? I just got paid!”.  That is not even including hopefully building an emergency fund, paying off debt, and saving for retirement, so in order to make every dollar stretch, now is a good time to examine your monthly expenses, what you’re currently spending, and having a budget in mind.  While some you mind find will be easy to get used to, others may be a sacrifice, but once you start seeing the balance continue to rise at the end of the month, you can put your hard-earned dollars to better use.

Ditch the Gym Membership

If you are like most, you joined the gym towards the end of the year when it was time to make a difference as the new year is approaching, not to mention the promo rate that is being offered.  At first the visits were probably regular, but after a few months days were being missed, pretty soon weeks would go by without going.  After a while, you continue to pay every month but haven’t gone in months.  Do yourself a favor and cancel the gym membership and instead start taking the dog for a walk every day around the block.  That, mixed with healthy eating, and you can still notice the pounds dropping off.

Cut the Cable Cord

While this may be a sacrifice at first, you may not even know it’s missing after a while.  Think about it, of the hundreds of channels that are available, how many do you actually watch?  Of those channels, how many do you watch live, without DVR’ing the shows?  Other than maybe live sports, you could get by with cutting the cable cord and opting for a streaming service for a fraction of the cost every month, while still catching up on all the best shows.

Track All Purchases Made

If you were asked how much your monthly bills are, or even further, how much are you spending in gas, food, or even your bar tab in a month?  Now is a good time to take a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement and actually go line by line.  From there you can see which charges were necessary and which probably could have been avoided.  Just for fun, add up all of the charges that you could have gone without, and see how much you could have put towards your emergency fund, getting out of debt, or contributing to retirement.

Use Cash Instead of Credit

Swiping the credit card is so easy these days, it’s scary.  There is virtually no stopping you from making a purchase, I guess unless you max out your credit card, that you can keep building up your statement balance until it comes due.  If you are looking to hone spending in a bit, you can allot yourself a certain amount of cash that you can ensure you only spend what you have, and once it’s gone, it’s gone until next paycheck.  At least this way, it might make you appreciate the dollar a little more and seeing it leave your hand and going into the cash register might give second thoughts to which purchase is priority.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards

If cash is not an option, or you are able to use a credit card responsibly, then probably the best reason to use a credit card in the first place are the rewards.  By making even the purchases that you were going to make anyways throughout the month, you can earn points or cashback that could add up to hundreds of free dollars a year, depending on how much you spend.

Avoid Going Out to Eat

Going grocery shopping and preparing meals at home instead of going out could be the largest sacrifice on the list.  While it’s nice to go to your favorite restaurant to order what you like, have someone else cook and cleanup, it comes at a price that adds up pretty quickly the more times a week you go out.  By eating at home, you can watch savings of hundreds of dollars build up every month, not to mention the healthier options at home will help the waistline and watch the pounds fall off in no time.

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