If you're like most people, your monthly expenses probably include a lot of things you pay for without thinking. How much are you buying on automatic that's unnecessary or doesn't really add much to your life?
If you really give your regular expenses a look, you'll probably find a good number of items you can live without...with little sacrifice. Even if you already took the advice of seemingly every financial expert out there and cut out that daily trip to Starbucks, there are still a number of easy cuts you can make.
Skip these 10 expenses for better savings
On average, people spend $86 a month on their cable packages. Even if you're a huge fan of TV shows and think you can't live without that regular fount of entertainment, there are online options to cover most of the shows and movies you could want to see.
* Hulu - Free for the basic version, $7.99 a month for the premium version
* Amazon Prime - $99 a year (which comes to $8.25 a month, and includes free shipping on many Amazon purchases)
* Netflix - $7.99 a month for the streaming service
The cost of all of these services combined – and most households will find they don't need all three to stay up on their favorite shows – comes to quite a bit less than keeping that cable subscription. Do check on the cost of Internet only versus Internet plus cable (or other bundling packages), however, as it’s sometimes very close in price.
Most people don't need new clothes that often. If you're going shopping more than a couple of times a year, you're probably spending more than is necessary on clothes. When your old clothes start to fall apart or stop fitting, then a trip to the outlet mall or resale shop is called for. Otherwise, cut those trips to the mall or online retail sites out of your regular routine.
Also, check out the “slow fashion” movement, a call for buying, or making, clothes that are made to last longer than the majority of clothes created for “planned obsolescence.” You’ll buy fewer garments, but they’ll look better longer when they’re better made.
3. Eating out
It should be no surprise to anyone concerned with savings that eating out is an especially costly habit to have. Cooking at home saves quite a bit of money in comparison and gives your family a nice opportunity for together time.
To get even more savings out of cooking at home, take advantage of grocery apps designed to help you find the best deals.
4. Eating meat regularly
Meat's expensive. Even if you're a regular meat eater who can't imagine giving it up, cutting it out of your diet just a few days a week can really add up in terms of savings.
As an added benefit to eating it less, you'll start to appreciate it more on the days you indulge.
5. Gym membership
The cost of a gym membership averages $55 a month. Giving up your gym membership doesn't have to mean giving up your healthy exercise habit. You can just trade it in for cheaper, but equally healthy alternatives.
The cost of a workout video is anywhere from free (many are included in streaming services in #1) to around $150 for some of the full series that are most popular on Amazon. Even with the more expensive work out series, when stacked up against the cost of a gym membership, you start saving in the first three months.
6. Cut down on alcohol (at least when going out)
Admittedly this is not the most fun suggestion, but it is one that can make a big difference. The cost of a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine out can add up significantly. Give yourself a strict drink budget and trade some nights out for nights in to save more.
7. Grooming costs
This one can apply to both people and pets. How much do you spend on haircuts, hair products, makeup, regular trips to the dog groomer, manicures, etc? How many of those things can you cut out entirely, DIY, or do less often?
You can trim and bathe your dog yourself in between professional grooming visits. If you switch to haircuts at a beauty school, you can pay closer to $15 than the $44 commonly paid for women's haircuts. Skip all the beauty products you don't need, and watch your grocery bills shrink.
8. Disposable diapers
For those with kids, you can save a ton with cloth. It might sound like a lot more work, but the savings can quickly make the extra effort worth it.
You might not be able to cut out gas costs entirely, but if you can walk, bike, or take public transportation to work, you can minimize how often you have to fill up, and save a lot of cash in the long run.
10. Buying books
As already established on this blog, there are lots of ways to get books for free! You can get in plenty of reading without spending a cent.
If you start cutting down on expenses here and there, you'll be amazed how quickly the savings will add up. With more money sitting in your bank account, you can pay off your debts and start building wealth.