4 Tips To Reduce Your Monthly Expenses

 

1.  Write down all your expenses

You may be saying this isn’t a tip.  Actually this is the foundation of getting your life in order.  Many of us get into a habit of just blindly paying bills just because well it’s a bill… but do you even know what you’re paying for?  When writing down all your expenses you should categorize them into two classifications –  “Necessity” and “Luxury”.

Necessity is anything you cannot do with out; this does not mean Starbucks trips.   This is your rent, mortgage, electric bill, etc.  Luxury expenses are things such as going out to the movies, buying the latest designer outfit, or yes those Starbucks trips.

Once you write down everything you spend your money on monthly, see which items you can completely eliminate first and then see which ones you can reduce in the luxury category.  Perhaps instead going to Starbucks every morning, you make your own coffee at home.  If you absolutely need to have that Starbucks fix, then reduce the number of days you make that trip.  You’ll be surprised how quickly the savings will add up

2.  Meal Prep – Take your lunch to work

Yes I know.  This can be a pain in the… but how much money do you spend eating out while at work?  The average person will spend close to $100 a week on just eating out at work; that’s $400 a month.   Instead of eating out at work, meal prep on the weekend.  It’s a simple process but many of us don’t do it because let’s face it, it’s easier to just eat out.

The easiest way to do this is:

  • Get in the habit of planning out your meals for the week and prepare them on the day before the start of your work week.
  • Put them in a microwaveable container
  • Freeze  it so it stays fresh
  • Grab the meal before heading to work.

3.  Look for cheap entertainment options

It’s Friday.  You know what that means; it’s time to go out and spend all your hard earned money!  Sound familiar?  I’m all for going out after a stressful week; however, when Monday morning comes around and you check your bank account, was it really worth it?  I’m not saying you cannot have fun but there are cheaper ways to be social.  Instead of going out to a restaurant for food and drinks, host something at your place ( like a game night ) where everyone brings a dish and/or drinks.

4.  Automate Your Home

Okay, what does this have to do with saving money?  Next to your rent or mortgage, studies show that we spend a quarter of our take home pay on electricity.  How?  Have you ever forgotten to turn off the lights or A/C when you left the house?  If you have, you’re already throwing money away.  Automating your home is the set it and forget it and let’s face it in this day an age everyone has an Alexa, Google Home, Siri, or some other assistant in their life so why not take advantage of them.

Here are a few devices you can incorporate in your home in order to start seeing the savings each month.

Get yourself a smart thermostat.  By far the best and most cost effective units on the market is the Nest and the Ecobee.  It takes roughly 30 minutes to setup  but it is time well spent.  You can customize it to your heart’s desire and best of all you only need to do it once.  You set it and forget it.  It will learn your habits and even turn itself off when it doesn’t sense motion in the house for a period of time and yes they work with your favorite assistant.  “Alexa set thermostat to ….”

Also depending on what state you’re in, you might be able to get a rebate for the electric company if you purchase these devices.  For additional details on the Nest, click here.  For additional details on the Ecobee, check out this link.

Swap out your lights for LEDs.  When it comes to lights, a light is no longer just a light.  With the advancement in technology, you can find a ton of savings in swapping out your old school lights to LED lights.  Better yet, you should swap them out for smart bulbs.  Why smart bulbs?  Like with the thermostats, you can install a smart bulbs that can be on a timer and can be controlled by your assistants.  “Ok Google turn on Kitchen Lights…”

There are a  ton of use cases for smart bulbs out there; so your creativity is the key.  For example, if you run out of the house and forget to turn off the lights you can turn it off from your phone.  Or… if you are going away on vacation but you need it to look like someone is home, you can set a schedule to have them turn on and off while you’re away.  Also since they are LEDs they burn less electricity than conventional bulbs; therefore, you’re already saving money.  The smart feature is just an added bonus.

The leader in the market for smart bulbs is made by Philips.  I find them a little pricey for an upfront cost but you will definitely save money on your electric bill going forward.  If the Phillips bulbs are too pricey for you, the Sengled is another brand that many rave about at a slightly lower cost.

You can check out more details on the Philips Hue Bulbs here or if you are interested in the Sengled bulbs, you can check those out here.