It’s always good when you can have a little extra money left over at the end of the month. If recent events have taught us anything, you never know when you’re going to need it to keep paying the bills. Now is a good time to re-evaluate ways you can reduce the amount of spending you do in a month. Here are some tips you can use to start reducing your monthly spending.

1. Reduce your use of heating

Unintended gaps or cracks in your home can be costly because of the air that leaks in and out. The air leaks can cost a third of a typical family’s heating and cooling budget, which is roughly $350. Consider turning off your heat early now that it’s spring.

You can also consider investing in a programmable thermostat, which can adjust the heating and cooling in your home during different time periods, such as when you’re not at home or when you’re asleep. Doing all of these things can reduce your heating and cooling bills, and allow you to save more.

2. Use other modes of transportation

It’s easier than ever before to get around without owning a car. Try to take advantage of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. If there’s public transportation in your area, consider using it more often to get around. You can also see if you can carpool with a co-worker to use your car less. The less you have to use your own car, the more you can save on parking, gas, and any sort of maintenance your car may end up needing.

If it gets to a point where you really don’t need your car at all, you can choose to sell it and put the money away in your savings account. Whenever you want to take long trips out of town, you can always choose to rent a car. If you do decide to keep your car, make sure that the tires are properly inflated so you’re getting optimal gas mileage.

3. Limit what you spend on entertainment

A lot of unnecessary spending can come from what we spend to entertain ourselves or relax. One example is gym memberships. While it’s important to get regular exercise to stay healthy and reduce stress, paying a monthly membership can add up over time. If you don’t go to the gym more than once a week, it may be best to cancel the membership. You can still get your regular exercise by taking a run around your neighborhood or doing bodyweight exercises.

Another thing you should consider is cutting your cable. There are a variety of streaming services that you can subscribe to that cost less than cable. When you watch less television, it can help to cut down on your electricity bill. In addition to getting rid of cable, think of all your other expenses such as newspaper subscriptions, movie outings, or anything else you spend on for entertainment.

One entertainment activity that can be a significant expense is planning a party. There are many details to organize such as invitations, activities, decorations, and food. Now that we’re in the midst of social distancing, you can plan cheaper parties and events with your loved ones. One way you can do this through a virtual party on Zoom. You can invite all your family and friends to a meeting and still have a fun time. You might find that you won’t miss much of your entertainment expenses once you cut them out. You’ll appreciate that you have more saved up in your bank account.

4. Reduce your food expenses

As convenient as it can be to order take-out, try to resist the temptation to do it every night. Instead, consider cooking large portions of a meal and freezing them to cook some other time. You can use your leftovers for lunch the next day. Consider buying non-perishable items in bulk. In some cases, for items you use regularly such as sugar or salt, it can be more cost-saving to get it in bulk than to purchase it weekly.

See if you can find coupons as well to reduce the cost of purchasing the items. Lastly, look into getting generic brands of the foods you like instead of name-brands. You might be surprised to learn that some of the generic brands use almost identical ingredients to the name-brands. Check the labels of both, and if most of the ingredients are similar, purchase the generic one to save more money.

5. Do small repairs yourself

When you need something in your home fixed, if it’s something small, try seeing if you can repair it yourself. Search for information or tutorials online that can offer helpful advice on the issue you need to be repaired. One example of an issue you may be able to fix is a dent in your car. Experts say paintless dent repair techniques can fix 80% to 90% of dents in your car. If you’re able to get something repaired yourself, it’ll save you the cost of having to hire a technician.

Saving a little extra money each month is important for being prepared for unexpected expenses. It can also help you with saving up enough for anything you want to do in the future, such as moving to a new location. Try all of these tips to help reduce your monthly expenses, and get closer to financial freedom.

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