Home » Count Your Beans » Proven Methods to Reduce Your Expenses

Cut your expenses and save more money.

Reducing monthly expenses provides additional dollars that you can use to boost other segments of your financial portfolio, such as retirement savings. Knowing you have extra money working for your future also eases stress levels.

Check out our list of tips and take advantage of our educational publications when possible.

KOFE Break!

Before we get started, take this quick quiz to see how much you know about reducing your expenses. It will help gauge the amount of time you’ll need to take on this section.

Which is better for gas mileage- windows down or A/C on?

A) Both! It's windows down AND A/C on.

B) Windows down

C) A/C on

D) It depends on what kind of driving you're doing

D) It depends on what kind of driving you're doing

How often should you make meal plans to save on groceries?

A) Once a month

B) Once a week

C) Shop daily only for the things you need

D) Don't plan, just shop without a list and see what inspires you

B) Once a week

Reduce housing costs

Whether you’re paying off a mortgage or renting, housing costs usually take up a huge portion of most people’s budgets. Use these tips and start saving:

  • Find a roommate to share in monthly costs.
  • Move in with your family or with a friend until you can comfortably afford housing on your own.
  • Sell your home and purchase something less expensive, assuming you can sell the property at a high enough price to pay off the total balance due on your mortgage.
  • Rent your home out and find a less expensive place to rent or buy yourself. The rent you receive should always cover your mortgage payments, taxes, association fees and insurance, at a minimum.
  • Find a less expensive place to live if you're renting if you can get out of your lease without any penalties.
  • If you're locked into a lease, then consider subleasing; get permission from your landlord first.
Reduce housing costs

Reduce telecommunication costs

Cell phones have become our most common tools for communication. Find ways to cut costs by:

  • Getting rid of your cell phone if possible or cancel your home phone if your cell is your primary contact.
  • Comparing cellular service deals. (Before you switch providers, check out the penalties.)
  • Keeping a calling plan that is appropriate for your usage patterns.
  • Taking advantage of all cell phone free features and hours.
  • Finding out if unused minutes can be rolled over.
  • Canceling Caller ID or Call Blocking.

Cut food and entertainment costs

This should be easy. Skip premium packages for cable, grocery shop with a list, so you don’t overspend, and stop eating out at restaurants. Try these additional tips:

  • Make meal plans one week at a time so you can take just one trip to the grocery store.
  • Buy in bulk when it's practical.
  • Use coupons and always take advantage of rebates and in-store sales.
  • On workdays, pack your lunch rather than eating out.
  • Skip after-work happy hours or limit them
  • Make dinner parties potluck.
  • Borrow books, DVDs, and videotapes from the library.
Cut food and entertainment costs

Save on transportation costs

Don’t buy a car or lease a car that you can’t afford. Too many people opt for pricey vehicles instead of economy cars. Between paying off a car loan, insurance and maintenance, cars are terribly expensive.

If possible, take advantage of public transportation in your area – or ride your bike and get some exercise for free. You can also learn more by exploring our: Cutting Car Costs.

KOFE Break! (new quiz)

Take this quiz to find out how much you know about the following savings options.

When is getting life insurance a good idea?

A) At the end of your life

B) When you have dependents

C) When you don’t have dependents

D) Never

B) When you have dependents

How can you improve your shopping habits and save money?

A) Hang out at the mall during your free time

B) Practice shopping as much as possible

C) Always bring a list of what you need

D) Only shop online

C) Always bring a list of what you need

Lower insurance costs

Always talk with your agent about discounts and compare insurance costs regularly. You never know when you’ll find a deal. Try these tips:

  • Raise your deductibles on the collision and comprehensive auto insurance or drop that coverage entirely if your car is old.
  • Don't pay for insurance you don’t need (appliance, car rental, etc.).
  • If you have a whole life or universal life policy, think about converting it to a term life policy.
  • Do an insurance checkup to see if you have enough insurance or need different coverage.
  • Don’t get life insurance if you have no dependents.
  • If you install a security system in your home, check to see if you get a discount on your homeowner's insurance.
  • Bundle your insurance policies.

Save on prescription drugs

Speak with your doctor about generic drug options and compare pharmacy prices. Some pharmacies have cheaper prices.

  • You may be able to reduce costs if you are over 55 and become an AARP member (American Association of Retired Persons). They have a mail order pharmacy.
  • If you wish to become an AARP member contact AARP by calling toll-free (888)-687-2277 or visit their website: http://www.aarp.org/.

Reduce your banking and credit costs

Take the time to talk with bank and credit union representatives about what they offer their customers. Don’t be shy. They want your business, but you shouldn’t rush into any decisions. Choose the institution that best suits your financial situation.

For additional help, take advantage of our huge library of publications such as our Banking 101 educations course.

Reduce your banking and credit costs

Improve your shopping habits

Don’t impulse shop. Only buy what you need whether it’s clothes or groceries – and always bring a list of those items. Also, don’t spend your leisure time at the local mall. That only increases your chances of spending money on things you don’t need.

To further improve your shopping habits and save money, check out our educational publication Shop Smart and Save.