How to Cut Living Expenses: 5 Easy Tips

Editor’s Note: This is a Guest Article from Maria Rainier Looking for ways to make money even when you’re just going through the motions of your everyday life? Consider putting more effort into saving money – you can do it every day, and yes, it’s just like making money. The old adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” has some substance to it, no matter how outdated it may seem. Sure, it’s interesting and often lucrative to make some wise investments, but when it comes to making money every day, cutting down on your expenses is one of the best things you can do. These five tips can help you find ways to keep more of your hard-earned money in the bank while still enjoying the occasional splurge.
1. Budget Your Meals

Take a look at your expenses for the most recent month. How much did you spend on eating out? If you’re like most people, you’re a little horrified by that large number staring back at you. It adds up fast, and it’s an easy expense to miss or ignore. To cut that expense, you’ll need to actively focus on budgeting your meals – decide how many meals you’ll eat out during the week and on the weekend, then stick to your guns. If you need to, write your “eating out” meals into your daybook or record them in your PDA so you won’t go overboard by accident. This does mean you’ll need to take care of more meals at home, but there are plenty of quick and frugal meals you can prepare – check out the “frugal” section of Annie’s Recipes, for example. You’ll find that it’s easy and satisfying to save money by making your own delicious meals.

2. Split Internet

Everyone needs Internet these days, and it’s usually not hard to find someone near you who needs it. Talk to your neighbors and see if anyone is willing to split Internet with you – simply add both of your MAC addresses to a single network and split the bill. In most cases, there will be little to no difference in Internet speed and you’ll be able to cut this monthly expense in half.

3. Save Energy

Heating and lighting are the major culprits behind a big electric bill, so turn down your thermostat and use 60-watt bulbs. It’s especially easy to keep your thermostat low overnight because you can always compensate with blankets. Additionally, check electronics and appliances to make sure you aren’t leaving anything plugged in that isn’t being used regularly. Even if an appliance isn’t turned on, it still draws electricity, wasting energy and money – so unplug your electronics as soon as you’ve powered them off.

4. Save Water

Here’s another simple way to save money: don’t turn on the water in your shower unless you’re getting your hair wet before washing it or you’re about to rinse off. You don’t need to keep the water running while you’re using soap or even shaving (you can keep a small bucket in the shower for rinsing your razor). You can also save water by waiting to wash clothes and dishes until you have the maximum load supported by your washing machine and dishwasher. This lets your appliances run at their highest level of efficiency, minimizing waste.

5. Shop Wisely

Never go shopping without a list, and never buy anything that isn’t on that list. Impulse purchases can be responsible for some pretty serious spending, and more often than not, you never use the products you bought. If you see something you think you need while you’re shopping for something else, wait a few days to find out whether or not you’ll remember it. If you’re still thinking about the product after giving it some time, you might consider buying it. However, most of the time, you won’t recall that impulse and you’ll save yourself some money.

About the Author: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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