10 Simple Hacks to Reduce Your Expenses

In these tough economic times, everyone wants to find ways to reduce spending and boost savings. These twin goals give your finances a little more stability, so you’re better prepared for whatever the rest of the year has in store.

But finding ways to spend less money isn’t always easy, especially if you’re stuck in your ways when it comes to money management. These hacks are here to help you snap out of it. Check out the list below to learn how subtle changes to your habits can reveal big savings.

Simple Hacks to Reduce Your Expenses

1. Pick a Budgeting Method

The 50-30-20 Rule is one of the most popular budgeting methods out there. This budget distributes your income over three basic spending categories: your needs, wants, and savings.

Your needs get 50 percent of the pie on account of how important they are. That means half of your net income goes towards the essentials, like rent, utilities, and groceries. The next 30 percent allows you to splurge on fun things like entertainment and travel, and the final 20 percent you reserve for savings.

Savings are crucial not only in helping you achieve big goals in life, like buying a home or retiring, but they’re also there to help out on a rainy day. Stocking a emergency fund with savings means you’ll be better prepared for any unexpected expenses that come your way. If you always plan to use your refund when you file your taxes online each year it's almost like getting extra savings!

2. Rate Shop

Sticking with your budget over months and years will help you build a sizable emergency fund, but what happens if your emergency arrives when you just start saving?

If an unexpected emergency expense crashes into your life before you have substantial savings, don’t panic. You may get cash online with a convenient installment loan.

Before you lock into an installment loan, shop around. Comparing lenders, rates, and terms will help you find the best installment loan for your needs.

3. Automate Bills

If you have a nasty habit of forgetting about important bills, stop banking on your memory. Start automating your bills instead.

This strategy works best on fixed bills that don’t fluctuate month to month, like rent, some utilities, and an installment loan. All you need to do is program the date, size, and frequency of these payments, and your bank will take care of the rest.

Once you set this rule in place, you’ll never miss a due date again, which means you’ll avoid paying late penalties. And, when it comes to debt like a mortgage or installment loan, you’ll hit each scheduled payment, control your interest, and end your term on time.

4. File Your Own Taxes

Thinking of hiring a tax advisor to deal with your taxes next year? Think twice before you schedule an appointment. That tax professional charges top dollar to do something you can do for free. 

5. Maintain Your Vehicle

Staying on top of your car maintenance isn’t the most fun you’ll have in life, but you might change your mind about these chores once you realize how much money you stand to save.

Investing in small repairs and upkeep can help you avoid major repairs and extend your car’s life. Even something as simple as keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure may improve your gas mileage by three percent.

6. Dodge the Draft

Your utility bills can be a huge money pit, but they don’t have to be. The amount owing on these bills are a direct reflection of your usage, which means you have the power to reduce what you owe by reducing what you use.

In the winter, search out drafts near your windows and doors. Even small holes in weatherstripping or insulation cause your furnace to work harder than it has to. This not only increases the energy it uses to heat your home, but it also puts pressure on this appliance. All that wear and tear may shorten its lifespan and necessitate an early replacement.

You may avoid a costly installation by sealing these drafts. Repairing damage to weatherstripping and adding insulation to your windows may save up to 20 percent of your energy bills, too.

7. Change Your Phone Plan

Cell phone carriers want you to believe you need the biggest package with unlimited talk, text, and data, but you can comfortably downgrade to a cheaper plan without feeling the pinch.

Do some research to find budget carriers willing to give you a deal and learn how to limit your data usage while you’re at it. Get into the habit of downloading podcasts and playlists at home before you leave for the day and wait to open data-sucking apps until you’re back on Wi-Fi.

8. Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions

One recurring subscription may be a negligible expense in the grand scheme of things, but it’s rare for someone to have just one account. Most people juggle a few video streaming services on top of cable, paid music apps, a gym membership, and more.

These unnecessary expenses are some of the easiest to pluck from your budget, so take a look at your list of accounts. Streamline them so that only one or two remain. You could save more than $200 simply by cutting the cord and choosing one video streaming service to replace it.

9. Kick the Habit

Do you smoke or drink every day? These habits could be costing you a fortune. According to the National Cancer Institute, a pack-a-day habit costs $2,292 a year. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post reports a regular drinking habit comes with a $7,800 annual tab.

10. Stop Wasting Food

Depending on where you live, food waste may be your budget’s biggest enemy. In America, where $240 billion of food goes to waste each year, the average family throws out $1,886 worth of food.

Luckily, you can keep more food in your fridge (and therefore money in your wallet) by changing the way you eat. Follow a meal plan. It helps avoid impulsively buying food that you can’t eat in time before it goes bad. A plan also helps you organize meals around leftovers, so you don’t lose track of Tupperware before it goes moldy.

Bottom Line

Reducing your spending to save more money can be a challenging task, but don’t let it overwhelm you. You can get a head start on this goal by trying any one of the above hacks, but for the biggest impact on your finances, try all of them at once. Together, they can help get a handle on your expenses and put money into your budget. And in times like these, who would say no to that?