With the rising cost of living and inflation, it’s no secret that maintaining a household is expensive. Add kids into the mix, and more families are stretching pennies to stay afloat each month. With that said, it’s important to find ways to cut down on expenses.
The great news is that you don’t have to look too far for ways to reduce your household expenses. There are some simple things that you can do that can save you money each month.
So if you’re ready for some breathing room in your budget, here are some ways to drastically reduce your household expenses.
How To Cut Down On Expenses For Your Home
For most families, the top household expense is housing and transportation. According to a study done by Lending Tree, the typical American family spendings just over $5,000 in expenses.
Of that, over a quarter is spent covering mortgage or rent and automobile loans & maintenance. Following these tops expenses include food, entertainment, and utilities.
So how do you save in those areas? Here’s how…
1. Don’t buy things you don’t need
Let’s start with the obvious way to cut expenses. Simply don’t buy things that you don’t need! This includes impulsive buys made in the store or online and subscription services/memberships that go unused.
A great way to avoid this is by creating a shopping list before going to the store to buy items. Also, take an inventory of your current subscriptions and/or memberships and cancel the ones that you aren’t using. You’ll see an immediate reduction in expenses.
But don’t stop there. You also want to create a budget that outlines exactly what your money will be spent on. Having a plan for how you will spend your money is the first step in getting your expenses under control.
If you have trouble with overspending, read our article on how to stop overspending.
2. Negotiate your bills
Knowing how to negotiate is a skill that everyone should have. We often leave money on the table when we don’t negotiate. So negotiating your bills is a must if you want to cut expenses.
Oftentimes, service providers are willing to work with longtime customers. This means that if you’ve been with your service providers for a while and have been making payments on time, it’s ok to ask for a loyalty discount.
You should also shop around for lower prices. You can use this as leverage to negotiate a lower price with your current providers. Or, you can simply switch to get the lower rate.
Some bills to negotiate include:
- Phone bill
- Credit card interest rate
Take a moment to review your bills to see which ones you may be able to get a lower rate for.
3. Switch to generic brands
Did you know that you can save as much as 40% by simply switching to a generic brand?
Advertising plays a huge part in making us believe that brand names are superior when in actuality, the quality is quite comparable. So why pay the difference?
Brand loyalty can be costly, especially when it comes to household items. So if you want a quick way to reduce your expenses, consider giving up your name-brand items.
Having worked in manufacturing and merchandising, I can attest to the fact that many name-brand items are manufactured alongside your favorite brands. Same product, different label. In fact, many major brands make equivalent products under different brand names.
Here are some items to consider switching to generic:
- Cleaning products
- Personal care items
- Bottled water
- Dry goods
In many cases, we do this with prescription drugs—saving as much as 70%—so why not do it with household goods?
4. Meal plan & meal prep
Another quick way to cut down expenses is to meal plan and prep.
The benefit of meal planning is that you know exactly what you’ll be cooking/eating in advance. This means that you only need to buy groceries according to your meal plan.
As a result, less money is wasted on things that you won’t eat. It’s a win for your wallet and food waste!
The next step is meal prepping. This is simply preparing meals in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it later.
I’m sure you’re wondering how this helps cut costs, though.
It helps eliminate unplanned stops at restaurants where you end up spending more money. These are costs that can be avoided if you already have food prepared and available to eat.
These are just two ways that you can cut expenses when it comes to food. I suggest also reading our post on how to save money on groceries for more ways to save.
5. Buy in bulk
Wherever possible, buy in bulk to save money in the long term. Even though you’re spending more initially, it will work out much cheaper than buying items individually or in smaller portions throughout the year.
The best things to buy in bulk are:
- Dried & frozen foods
- Toilet tissue
- Paper products
- Cleaning supplies
Buying in bulk will not only save you money, but it will also save time. You won’t have to constantly shop for items when they go out. Instead, you’ll have the readily available.
The cool thing about buying in bulk is that if you have excess, you can always sell it in a garage sale.
6. Take advantage of club memberships
Speaking of buying in bulk… This will likely require you to have a club membership where you can actually buy items in bulk. This would include stores like Sam’s Club or Costco.
You will have to pay for these memberships annually. However, in comparison to what you’ll save throughout the year, the cost is quite nominal.
The other advantage of having a club membership is that you can also take advantage of reduced fuel costs. This means that you can also drastically reduce the cost of fuel.
7. Regulate your utility usage
Another way to cut down on household expenses is to make slight changes to how you manage your utilities. Being mindful of how much electricity, water, and gas that you use can help reduce your spending in these areas.
One way to do this is by incorporating a Nest thermostat or equivalent to regulate your home’s heating & cooling. That way you’re not running your A/C or heat when no one is home or if it doesn’t need to be running.
Having motion sensor light switches can save you money as well. This allows for lights to automatically turn off when there’s no one in the room— a tremendous help if you have children.
You may also consider switching to energy-efficient appliances to continue to see savings in your utilities.
8. Find free, local events
Entertainment for a family can be quite costly. That’s why taking advantage of free, local events can be a budget saver.
There are a few ways to find free events happening around you. Check out your local newspaper or community newsletter. Or, you can simply go online to look up events happening in your area.
With that said, don’t forget about local parks and libraries that you can access at any time! These are great options for entertainment, learning, and exercise.
9. Shop sales & thrift
Another easy way to save on household expenses is to shop sales and thrift.
Now this doesn’t mean that you shop for the sake of shopping. Instead, when you’re looking for specific items, try to find them on sale or at a thrift store instead.
Need a new appliance? Look for a sale instead of paying full price.
You may also consider shopping off-season as well. This is when items—particularly clothes—are at their lowest prices.
10. Repair items instead of replacing them
We’d never go purchase a completely new car if the wiper blade needed to be replaced. So why do you do it with other, everyday items?
Instead of throwing out the pair of jeans with a small rip or the shoes with the worn-down heel tap, just get them repaired. Find a local seamstress and shoe cobbler that can repair those everyday clothing items.
Additionally, find a local handy-person who is your go-to for home repairs that you can’t do yourself.
11. Invest in reusable items
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person produces nearly 5 lbs of waste every day. This not only has a negative impact on our environment but also on your pockets!
Instead of using paper towels and plastic cups and storage containers, use cloth napkins, reusable plates, and glass storage containers. Though this may mean washing dishes, it’ll certainly save money by not having to constantly replenish items.
12. Do regular maintenance on items
Preventative maintenance helps you avoid spending unnecessary cash on replacing items or having major repairs.
Here are a few things that you can do regularly to keep your vehicle and appliances in great condition:
- Change the oil in your car
- Rotate your tires & fill them with air
- Clean out the lint from your dryer
- Change your air filters in your car and home
Do regular maintenance on your appliances and vehicles so that they remain in great, working condition.
Ready to cut down on expenses?
These are just a few of the ways that you can cut down on your household expenses. The next step is for you to go through your budget or create one if you haven’t already.
Identify expenses that you can eliminate altogether—like unused subscriptions. Don’t forget the more obvious tips, like paying off debt and simply not buying things that you don’t need.
Doing all of these things will help you drastically cut down your household expenses to save money.
Want more tips? Check out our post on frugal hacks that you can use to save money!