I recently started a new money-saving challenge this month, which consists of me spending money only on necessities, including rent, gas, insurance and other basic bills each month.
I'm doing decently well so far, and I have managed to cut down my spending on clothing, makeup, and coffee by hundreds of dollars. I used to buy coffee daily, which amounted to around $4 a day, or $120 a month!
There were occasions when I went to Starbucks twice in one day, which is absolutely absurd to me now that I am only going once a week.
Cutting on monthly expenses is actually a lot easier than you think, especially when you lay everything out on the table. Everything being what you are spending your money on.
Are you looking to set up a monthly budget? Get access to my free monthly budget printable and other valuable resources here.
1. Sign up for the $5 Meal Plan.
$5 Meal Plan gives you a weekly shopping list and meal plan catering to your needs and budget. Most meals only cost $2 per person, saving you money and time each month. Find out all the details below.
2. Download the app, Mint.
This app on my phone is almost 100% of the reason why I decided to start a budget in the first place. I kept getting notified that I was going over my coffee or clothing budget and it was quite depressing.
I had set goals in my planner and notes, but getting notified by email every time I went over really kicked me in the butt.
Mint lets you set budgets for any category you can think of, and by linking your bank and credit accounts, (your information is safe, don't worry) it can keep tabs on how much you are spending in each category.
3. Cut the Starbucks Coffee, and make your own at home.
Like I have mentioned above, I had a crazy Starbucks obsession. (Who hasn't?). J.D. and I bought our own grinder and coffee presser and even buy shade grown coffee. We make enough coffee for us both and some extra.
We've even cut down on our plastic usage. Did you know that most coffee does NOT come from an ethical source? Read here to learn more.
Getting a Keurig is a smart investment, especially if you get a cheaper coffee maker like the one listed here. You can get one here.
Keurig cups are bad for the environment, so make sure to get a reusable container to put your own coffee grounds in.
If you MUST buy your coffee at Starbucks, take your own reusable cup, and you will save some money each time you purchase a drink.
Stores will also give you coffee for ridiculously cheap if you need a refill.
Related: Use Ibotta to save money on groceries, clothing, and tons more. It's so incredibly easy to use. Get $10 for signing up here.
4. Install a programmable thermostat
This is crucial if you are living in an area such as I am at the moment, where it's blazing hot in the summer.
I often try to remember to put the thermostat on a normal level, but I usually forget. (I love my apartment nice and cold). Adding a programmable thermostat is such a game changer.
5. Sign up for Ebates.
Ebates gives cash back on online shopping at your favorite stores. Save on clothing, travel-related expenses, and pretty much anything online!
6. Cut the alcohol spending.
I used to go out to bars weekly, which is absolutely crazy to think about now. I would spend around $50-$100 a week going out to clubs and bars.
Alcohol does no good besides adding empty calories and sugar into your belly.
You are also more inclined to spend your money without much responsibility or control and can end up impulse shopping online.
Related: Healthiest Foods For A Tight Budget
7. Get rid of expensive beauty items and DIY at home.
I use tea tree oil for my face, which helps my scarring and redness.
It only costs $5 and also has a ton of other benefits. I also know of people who use coconut oil for everything from their face to shaving their legs. This is the coconut oil I personally use on my skin, food, shaving my legs and more.
8. If you want to buckle down and save every penny possible, sell your car.
This will slash car payments, insurance bills, and car maintenance costs.
If I were to do this, I would save approximately $200 a month, but I factor convenience over cost this time.
Even better, you can get a bike on Craigslist for cheap and get in some daily exercise as well.
9. Start spending with cash only.
It might be an inconvenience, but that's the point. You will save a lot more money this way. When you physically see the cash going away into someone else's hands, it makes you think more.
Seeing $100 go away in cash is a heck of a lot different than seeing $100 on your credit card go away.
Related: 50 Ways To Save $500+ Each Month
10. Use Groupon when you do need to pay for things.
Groupon is great for saving money on restaurants, haircuts, trips, and more. I use Groupon to buy things such as haircuts and paddleboard rentals.
Saving money and cutting down on monthly expenses do not have to be a chore.
It can be fun, exciting, and also make you feel great at the end of the day because you know that you are making a change that is going to benefit you in the long run.
Ditch the spending on useless items that you don't even need, and save money for an emergency fund or other savings (like paying off your car or student loans.
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What are some ways you cut monthly expenses?
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