There really are effective ways to reduce monthly bills, and they don’t require pain and suffering. In fact, consumer counselors usually offer new clients five relatively simple ways to cut out some of the budgetary fat from a personal spreadsheet. It’s more about being smart than denying yourself. For instance, one of the key steps to becoming more frugal is knowing where all your money goes. Finding out the destination of every dollar, as some may put it, is the first step toward financial freedom for millions of consumers. Here’s a summary of the best ways to chop spending and end up with more money at the end of every month.
Know Where Every Dollar Goes
If you don’t already have one, now is the time to create a budget, and make it as detailed as possible. That’s what experts mean when they say, “Know where all your hard-earned cash goes.” One way to begin is to list all spending and income categories, with amounts, on a spreadsheet. It’s your income, and you should know how it is spent, or saved.
Join a Shopping Club
Joining one of the big shopping clubs is a surefire way to reduce your grocery bill. The average consumer can reduce their grocery spending almost in half by joining a club. There’s no magic about it, just old-fashioned wholesale buying that does the trick. You might have to give up some of your favorite brands, but you’ll bag some serious savings by opting for a membership.
Refinance Your Student Loans
If you have student debt from college, grad school, law school or a PhD, refinancing is one of the quickest, wisest ways to lower your monthly expenses. A standard refi of education loans not only means having more funds available, it usually brings you a lower interest rate on the debt as well as more time to pay of the entire balance. That’s good news for anyone struggling with cutting expenses.
The entire coupon universe has changed in the last ten years. Nowadays, you can use fancy apps or standard search engines to get online coupons that can help you live frugally and put some muscle in your budget. But remember to follow the golden rule of coupons. That means using them only to purchase items that are already on your grocery list. Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing new things that cost more. Ten percent off an item that costs 30 percent more than what you normally buy is not a good deal.
Eliminate Junk Food and Soft Drinks
People who opt out of the junk food world usually find that they are able to save money quite easily. That’s because all those soft drinks at the service station, fast-food snacks and candy bars aren’t cheap. Yes, giving up some of life’s simple pleasures is a challenge, but you stand to boost your budget’s bottom line by a lot. If a sweet tooth is getting the better of you, consider allowing one day per week to munch on the junk food, just to maintain sanity.