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How to Drastically Cut Monthly Expenses
TayTalksMoney: Money, Lifestyle and Productivity

How to Drastically Cut Monthly Expenses

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*This post may include affiliate links. We get a commission if you sign up with a partner; this commission is at no cost to you.

(Last Updated On: March 10, 2021)

Story time, family.

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About three years ago, I was at a crossroads. Things were pretty good. Bills paid on time. Check. Vacations. Check. Vibrant social life. Double check.

But I also felt complacent. Do you know the feeling? It’s like you’re floating.

You’re kinda in a trance. All the days start feeling the same. And you’re not sure how to get control of the cycle. My roadblocks were my student loans and not-so-great spending habits.

How I Drastically Cut Monthly Expenses

There’s no way around it, money is a huge factor that contributes to being stuck in a cycle that you can’t get out of. When you’re broke or living paycheck to paycheck, you have limited opportunities, options, and resources to make life changes.

When you have savings and less debt, you have more opportunities + flexibility to take risks or afford the things you love. For me, finding more money literally meant more freedom.

Cutting costs was the answer to regaining control and allowed me to make the moves that I had only dreamt of until that point.

Deciding to cut monthly expenses is what helped me find money to increase my student loan payment from the bare minimum. It also helped me leave my cushy 9 to 5 job for self-employment. After I cut montly expenses and actually started budgeting, I found that I never had an income problem, it was a spending problem.

Money Tip: On top of cutting costs, Digit is a another GREAT app I use and LOVE for saving. It connects to your bank account and uses an algorithm to see how much money you have and then transfers cash incrementally without you having to do anything! Use this link to sign up and you’ll get a $5 bonus!

How to Cut Monthly Expenses for Your Household

What costs can you cut? This is the important question that can unlock your own door to freedom and allow you to afford more of the big things in life that it feels like you’re never able to indulge in.

Cut back consistently day after day and month after month and you too will have enough money to live out your weird, wild dreams!

To help you, below is a mega list of possible costs you can cut from your household expenses.

It can be seriously easy to forget all of the money you’re actually spending on random things. Running through this list will help make sure you’re accounting for the “phantom expenses” that cause you to bleed money throughout the month.

You’ll probably find (like I did) that the small expenses add up to big money that will better serve you in a freedom fund.

BEFORE STARTING… STOP AND READ ME: Yes—I know you want to read ahead. I’m a perpetual read aheader too (is that a word?). But the intro information is important and it’s going to give you information about reading the following list. Okay. Back to the important stuff.

These are ideas of expenses you can cut from your budget short-term or long-term to meet larger financial goals. Know that you don’t need to give up all of these things forever.

In fact, I don’t recommend it.

We all live once, and we should enjoy and take care of ourselves while we’re here. But to make your larger dreams and money goals possible, you may be able to give up a few of the following.

This isn’t an all encompassing list or a list of things you CAN cut. It’s to jog your brain about costs that you may have monthly that you can pass on.

Also, if you can’t cut these expenses entirely (like insurance… you need insurance), it’s a reminder to look at what you’re spending to see if you can shop around for other providers for a cheaper rate.

How to use this list

You’re not going to be able to cut all of these things. The list is to help you remember some of your expenses so you can do one of two things—cut or reduce the bill.

It’s like an “ah ha” moment.

“I forgot I was spending money on this so let me either cut it or reduce the bill.”

You should try to comparison shop and reduce your bills at least once per year because rates change.

We set so many of our bills on autopay these days that it can be easy to forget what we’re spending on. And small cuts can lead to big savings.

For example:

“Oh, shoot, I’m spending more money than I thought on my cable, internet, and phone. Do I need telephone? Maybe not. Let me try to negotiate a better deal with my provider or jump ship to a new one.”

“Oh shoot, I’m spending more on child care than I had hoped. Maybe it’s time to shop around for a new sitter.”

Afterward, jump down to the bottom of the list for additional comments and resources.

ENTERTAINMENT + EXTRAS

Entertainment and extras may fall into your variable expenses budget category. Variable expenses are expenses that can vary from month to month. You may find that these costs are also not necessary to keep you living and breathing. This is called a non-essential cost.

Your homework: Go through each one of these potential costs. Not all of them may apply to you; Circle ones that apply to you. Go to your checking account/credit card account to see how much you spend in the area. Consider cutting these expenses from your budget so you have a little more cash to spare for your other goals. Write out things you want to cut out below.

Clubbing/bar-hopping

Concerts

Cigarettes

Kids sports leagues

Dining out

Festivals

Plays/Operas

Takeout

Gambling

Lottery tickets

Alcohol

Fast food

Happy hour

Weekend trips

Bowling/Rollerskating

Takeout lunches

Takeaway coffees

Gaming apps

Pro sporting events

HBO

Taxis, Uber, car services

Movies

Adult sports leagues

SlingTV

Hulu

Netflix

TiVo

Youtube Red

*My own personal circle… alcohol. I’m going alcohol-less recently.

I used to buy maybe a bottle of wine per week (don’t judge me!) at $15ish dollars. No more! That’s $60ish dollars saved! 

Think of some of your habits. What can you give up for a little while?

It doesn’t have to be forever… short-term savings can have a long-term impact.

SUBSCRIPTIONS + MEMBERSHIPS

Subscriptions and memberships are costs that are usually recurring from month to month. These are costs that may also be non-essential that you can cut to get extra money to put towards debt or savings.

Your homework: Go through each one of these potential costs. Not all of them may apply to you; Circle ones that apply to you. Go to your checking account/credit card account to see how much you spend in the area. Consider cutting these expenses from your budget to so you have a little more cash to spare for your other goals.

PandoraSpotifyApple MusicGoogle Play
SiriusXMAmazon MusicAmazon PrimeWebsite hosting
LuminosityKindle UnliitedMagazinesNewspapers
AudibleCredit score monitoringTidalRhapsody
Wholesale clubsJustFab (and other fashion subscriptions)Birchbox (and other box subscriptions)Fitness memberships
Daily BurnCalendar appsProductivity appsMatch.com
LinkedIn PremiumSocial media marketing toolsEmail marketing toolsIndentity theft monitoring

HOUSEHOLD STUFF

Household stuff includes different products you may pay for on the regular to make your house a home. No need to cut everything, but it’s worth a look at your monthly expenses to see if there’s anything that you can reduce. If necessary, comparison shop to see if you can get goods and services on this list for a cheaper rate.

Your homework: Go through each one of these potential costs. Not all of them may apply to you; Circle ones that apply to you. Go to your checking account/credit card account to see how much you spend in the area. Consider cutting these expenses from your budget so you have a little more cash to spare for your other goals.

*Think outside of the box for this one. Obviously, you won’t be able to give up child care while you’re at work. But can you cut down from four date nights a month to two or one? Could a relative do babysitting duties? Could you comparison shop at providers? There are also a few resources at the end of this list to help with savings ideas.

Home securityCaller IDApple MusicSatellite Network
Cable/internetWirelessPet grooming/walkingNanny/babysitter
Dry cleaning/laundryHousecleaningLandscapersPrepared food delivery
Water deliveryAccounting softwareLandline serviceVoice message system
AAA membershipPhone appsTithesDonations
SnacksSodasSeafoodPaper towels
Packaged goodsPre-cut productPackaged saladsK-cups
Brand name foods

SELF CARE

Self care is all of the stuff that makes you feel good. I HATE taking this off of my budget, but it may be necessary when things are really tight.

Your homework: Go through each one of these potential costs. Not all of them may apply to you; Circle ones that apply to you. Go to your checking account/credit card account to see how much you spend in the area. Consider cutting these expenses from your budget so you have a little more cash to spare for your other goals.

ManicuresPedicuresHair cutsHair products
ClothesMassagesDietary advisingJenny Craig
JewelryEyebrow threadingEyebrow wazingHair color
Body wazingShoesSpa visitsMake up
Teeth whiteningFacialsPersonal Training

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND TIPS

Saving more money and breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle is a simple equation. Spend less money and make more money. It’s aggravatingly simple but hard to do sometimes, i.e. most of the time.

The first stage is doing this assignment—combing your bank statements and seeing if this list can remind you of anything you could be spending money on that you don’t need or you can negotiate.

Here are a few other tips for reducing spending:

  • Limit the number of times you go to the grocery store. Going to the grocery story less frequently can help you save a boat load.
  • Try no spend days or weekends. These are days throughout the week where you don’t spend any money. Get into the habit of dishing out less cash.
  • Cook at home. Eating out frequently can put a real damper on your budget. Try meal-prepping or at least planning out a week of meals so you don’t have to think up a new meal every evening.
  • Get a roommate or roomie. If you have extra space, getting a renter can help you reduce your housing bill.

Here are a few other resources I’ve written with tips for saving and repaying debt:

The next step is earning more income. There’s no way around it. If you go through this entire list and you’re already down to the bare minimum, you need to earn more.

This sounds scary and impossible, but it’s not completely impossible! The first step is thinking positively. Sometimes I have trouble with this so don’t worry! You are worthy of more money. Perhaps you’re not able to get more money at your job, but you can make more money on the side.

What services can you offer quickly? Dog walking (I was one. No shame in my game!), babysitting, Uber riding, house cleaning, lawn care, hair care? Think outside of the box.

There are also ways you can earn a little bit of money online through survey sites, paid website testing sites, or task sites. Also, check out this post on earning extra income.

Questions or feedback? Comment below!

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