Easy Ways to Reduce Your Daily Living Expenses

Are you having a hard time staying on top of all of your living expenses? Do you find that each month you have more cash going out than coming in?

You are not alone. Many people are struggling to keep up with their daily living expenses. They find themselves living paycheck to paycheck and they are frustrated because they do not know what to do to resolve the issue.

There are a couple of options. One is to find ways to increase your income. The second option is to find easy ways to dramatically reduce your living expenses.

reduce daily living expenses

Reduce Your Daily Living Expenses

Let's talk about some changes that you can begin making immediately in an effort to reduce your expenses. Keep in mind that you do not need to do all of these at once.

Temperature

You may live in a hot climate and have the AC running day and night, or you may live in a cold climate and have the furnace running day and night. The cost of running either of these systems adds up quite quickly.

If you are in a cold climate try reducing the temperature in your home and begin wearing warmer clothes. On sunny days, open all of your window coverings and let the sun in. This will warm up your house, even on very cold days.

The opposite will work in hot climates. Keep your blinds closed day and night so that you do not let any sun or heat in. Dark rooms are always cooler. Dress in light clothing and try to use fans instead of your air conditioner.

As well, consider installing a thermostat that you can program to adjust the temperature in your home. For example, if no one is home during the day, set the thermostat so that the furnace or the AC only comes on about 30 minutes before you get home instead of it running all day.

Water

The amount of water we all go through each day in our homes is huge and typically goes unnoticed until the bill comes in. Try to reduce your water bill by taking quicker showers, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and only running the dishwasher or washing machine when you have full loads.

Also, if you use a sprinkler to water your lawn, you can buy a timer that you plug your hose into and set it so that it will turn on every second or third day and only run for 20 or 30 minutes. These timers are very inexpensive and will save you a lot of money throughout the summer. Set the timer to run before sunrise so that you do not burn your lawn. 

Electricity

If you haven't already done so, change all of the light bulbs in your house to energy efficient bulbs. As well, remind yourself and the rest of your family to turn off any lights in any of the rooms that are not being used. This goes for the TV and your computers too. If no one is using them, turn them off. I have even heard that some people go so far as to unplug everything each night before bed. Does that save even more money?

Cable TV Packages

How much do you pay to have cable TV each month? For many people the bill is quite low and they wouldn't save much money by deleting it, so why bother?

Here in Canada, many cable companies offer their channels bundled in packages. So if you want certain channels, but they are spread out between three or four packages, you would have to buy each package to view them all. The cost of that can add up quickly.

While that might be okay for some, people looking for ways to reduce their daily living expenses may want to consider if they really need all of those channels, or if they can get by with just having the cheap basic channel package.

Are there other things that you could do instead of watch TV? Can you find some of your favorite shows online? I know in Canada our alternatives to cable TV are quite limited compared to other locations.

Also, keep in mind that you could always cut your cable now so that you can use that extra money on other bills, and hook the cable back up later, once you are caught up on your bills and have some wiggle room in your budget again.

Give it some thought.

living expenses

Cell Phones

How much money are you and your family members spending on cell phones every month?

Over the last 20 years people have become so reliant on their cell phones.

I remember the first cell phone. It was very inconvenient because it was much like carrying a brick around! People only used them for emergencies.

Today cell phones are so tiny they fit in your front pocket. People use them constantly, day and night, without giving much thought to how much their bill will be. Are you one of those people? If so, would it be possible to reduce this expense by limiting yourself to emergency calls only? Think about it.

Lunch

Going out for lunch with friends and co-workers is a great way to break up an otherwise hectic day at the office. While this may be okay once in a while, getting into the habit of going out for lunch every day can get quite expensive.

Consider bringing your lunch from home, perhaps leftovers from dinner the night before, and suggest to your friends and co-workers that you guys only go out for lunch one day a week.

To get out of the office on the other 4 days, perhaps you can go for a walk or simply find somewhere else to sit and chat or read a book.

Groceries

Everyone talks about groceries when they talk about ways to save money. For some, reducing their grocery bill is quite easy, and for others it is a challenge.

In a recent interview on our site, we interviewed a man that is single and has managed to reduce his grocery bill to between $60 and $80 a month. No, that is not a typo. He manages on that amount quite nicely.

It is quite understandable that not everyone can reduce their grocery expenses down that much and still feed their family. However there are things that each family can do to reduce the amount that they spend on food.

Begin by creating a weekly meal plan, and a grocery list. If you shop every week, make sure that any perishable items that you buy do not expire in the very near future. If they do you run the risk of them expiring before you get a chance to use them.

When you enter the store remind yourself that you are only buying the items on your list, and not an additional 20 or 30 items simply because you "think" you might need them, or because they look yummy.

You will spend less money if you challenge yourself to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible.

When it comes to groceries the current hot topic is coupons.

Coupons have been around forever, but in the last few years many stay at home moms are using coupons to the extreme, as they say. In an effort to reduce their daily living expenses they are spending many hours each day clipping and organizing coupons.

While some people argue that coupons are a waste of time, others swear that they are saving money on their groceries by using coupons.

If you haven't already considered using coupons to save money, take a look at this list of places online that offer many different types of coupons.

Vehicle

Now that we have covered ways to reduce your living expenses within your home, let's talk about ways to save money on car expenses.

Do you need to drive to work every day or do you have the option of taking the bus or the train to work?  Could you bike to work? This is especially helpful if you are also paying for parking, as you could reduce two expenses at once.

Also, is your job the type of job that could be done from home? If yes, think about asking your boss if you could work from home several days a week. If your boss is hesitant about this, talk to them about how they will benefit from you doing this, not how you will benefit by saving money.

You can also reduce the amount that you spend on gas every week by organizing your errands and appointments into one trip, instead of making several trips out each day.

And, if you find yourself constantly driving your children to multiple events throughout the week, see if you can organize a car pool with other parents that live in your area and take turns driving the kids to events, and even to school.

While some people are naturally good at keeping their daily living expenses low by following some of the above ideas, others are not. We are all creatures of habit, and if you are use to doing things a certain way, and you didn't need to worry about money, you may have never consider doing the above things. However, if you suddenly find yourself short on cash, implementing some or all of the above suggestions could definitely help you get through some rough financial times.


Comments

    • Jon Rhodes

      Jon Rhodes 04/24/2012 4:12 a.m. #

      Good advice. Also you can find new hobbies that cost little or nothing. For example, instead of going to a gym and paying membership fees, why not get some fresh air and go for a run instead? Also instead of going out for meals you could instead buy some nice ingredients and learn to cook some exotic meals at home. Even if you buy some expensive ingredients, it will still cost far less than eating out.

    • WorkSaveLive

      WorkSaveLive 04/24/2012 6:06 a.m. #

      If you worked on all of these things I bet the average person could cut $500 per month from their budget.

      That's $6k/year!

      Great tips Sicorra!

    • Modest Money

      Modest Money 04/24/2012 10:13 a.m. #

      Lots of good tips here Sicorra. Instead of taking drastic measures, a lot of little changes can really add up. I found that I've always been great at wasting money. It wasn't until I was without a job and back living on my own that I realized the true extent. Now though I've turned into a saving machine. I still waste money in some areas, but in other areas I am the definition of frugal. The thing it, I wouldn't have opened up my eyes to this unless I had hit rock bottom. I suspect lots of other people are that way and as a result they struggle to save for things and have money left at the end of the month.

    • Sean @ One Smart Dollar

      Sean @ One Smart Dollar 04/24/2012 10:43 a.m. #

      Great advice. My wife hates it when I turn the heat down at night in the winter. Thats why we have blankets though, right? :-)

    • Frugal Portland

      Frugal Portland 04/24/2012 11:45 a.m. #

      These are good suggestions -- there are always ways to cut!

    • Michelle

      Michelle 04/24/2012 1:55 p.m. #

      These are all great tips! We have been able to save tons by doing these.

    • From Shopping to Saving

      From Shopping to Saving 04/24/2012 3:50 p.m. #

      All great tips! I have to remember to use our heater less... I know you will make fun of us - we live in San Diego and anything under 65 degrees, our heater will turn on. The temperature in our room will go over 80 sometimes and yet we would rather sit in shorts and a t-shirt rather than bundling up.

    • Anthony Thompson

      Anthony Thompson 04/24/2012 7:53 p.m. #

      Splendid! Simply splendid! Earning more money is the more attractive of the two options. However, it often takes hard work and so much patience before the income begins to grow. Therefore, reducing living expenses is the best option that can be exercised now. I'm particularly partial to bringing lunches to work and reducing our grocery bill.

      These are great points that I recommend everyone follow. Thank you for educating us on how we can succeed in reducing our living expenses, and my heart goes out to you particularly for mentioning my interview with you as a way of illustrating a part of your point.

    • Michelle

      Michelle 04/24/2012 9:19 p.m. #

      I really need to work on combining trips to save on gas money. It seems we always need to go somewhere! Also, I think it's my fault because I feel cooped up if I don't get to go anywhere all day. Gotta work on that...great tips!

    • Shilpan

      Shilpan 04/25/2012 12:12 a.m. #

      I have saved over 4K per year by cutting on my lunches and cell phone plan alone. It's amazing how much you can save by reviewing every expense through the lenses, and either reducing or eliminating it.

    • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

      Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter 04/25/2012 6:35 a.m. #

      These are really great tips. I think you have covered a lot of the basics. For us, growing a garden and participating in a CSA has been a huge benefit. Not only are we being more green and supporting local businesses but we are also saving a lot of money. It is much cheaper to buy direct.

      We also use our windows a lot. When it is hot, we open them for a breeze and this cuts down how often we have to run the AC.

    • Paul @ Make Money Make Cents

      Paul @ Make Money Make Cents 04/27/2012 4:56 p.m. #

      Great tips! I always want to save money on cable, but I can only talk the talk and not walk the walk. I'd miss sports too much. I am too afraid I would end up spending my savings at a sports bar!

    • Geoff

      Geoff 04/30/2012 6:46 a.m. #

      I think it's usually easier to reduce outgoings than it is to increase income. Here in the UK we have our price comparison websites where consumers can look around for the cheapest utilities suppliers. It's amazing how much can be saved on gas and electricity just be selecting a different company to buy from.

    • femmefrugality

      femmefrugality 04/30/2012 9:13 p.m. #

      Lunch was my killer! I'd buy it every day on break. It was only a few bucks....but when I look back on all that money lost, oh man.
      We only have cell phones, no landline. We have the smallest package we possibly can, but I still find it to be an exorbitant amount of minutes. We never use them up.

Comments are closed.