Are you trying to save more money?
Maybe you’re trying to pay off debt. Perhaps you’d like to save on other expenses so you can put more toward savings goals or retirement.
Money truly does provide the freedom that nothing else really can. Money can’t buy you happiness but it can give you the freedom to not be tied to decisions out of fear of how you are going to afford them.
Drastically cutting expenses may be a good step for you to take to get ahead with your money.
Awareness of your money situation really is the first step. Knowing where all your money goes in a given month makes you so much more knowledgeable about where you can trim.
You’re conditioned to spend. There are so many advertisements out there competing for your attention and more times than not we buy into it. Usually unconsciously.
My first recommendation if you aren’t doing it already is simply tracking your expenses. For a month or two, track every single cent that flies out of your accounts.
Also, make sure you have a budget that works for you. You truly can have budget burnout if you are trying so hard to pay off debt or put money into savings. That’s truly admirable and if you’re at a place you can sustain, keep going.
But making your budget realistic, even if there are a few extras in there might make you more successful in the long run. Tip: Try a Zero-Based Budget.
Maybe you’ve started to cut the coffee and bring your lunch to work. While these will add up over time if you are ready to get serious about your savings, check out the list below on how to drastically cut expenses.
1. Sell your home/move
If you live in a high cost of living area or have a larger mortgage than you’d like, then change it. Drastic, yes. Doable, yes. If selling our home for a cheaper one will save you hundreds each month, and that’s a tradeoff you’re willing to make in order to save, then do it.
Or, maybe instead of purchasing another home, you rent instead. With home values not appreciating as much as they once did, it’s not always in your best financial interest to own.
Don’t buy into the myth that you have to buy a home to be financially sound. You don’t. Do what is best for you and your family. And owning a home isn’t for everyone.
2. Get a roommate
If you live in a house that is larger than you need, consider renting out a room.
You could easily get a few hundred dollars or more to have a friend or acquaintance move in with you. Especially if you have a temporary arrangement, this could be a way to put some extra money away for savings over a specified period of time.
3. Sell your car
Either sell your vehicle with the intention of not owning one if that works for your lifestyle. Or, sell to eliminate a payment and buy a much less expensive one.
You may be surprised at what a reliable vehicle a few thousand dollars can buy you.
4. Cancel your cell phone
I know what you’re thinking: hell no!
But these are more drastic ways of saving. So ask yourself how bad you want it.
Consider less expensive options such as a prepaid Verizon plan.
Service is usually identical if not better than the service you have today. You just have to dig in and find the deals.
5. Stop going to restaurants
This one may surprise you. For one money track how often you go out or spend money on food you did not make or cook yourself. you may surprise yourself.
Simply stop eating out. Period.
More specifically, stop eating any food that is not made by you. That includes sit-down restaurants, taking food to go, food delivered, fast food restaurants, and convenience foods at the grocery store deli.
Eating out, whether sitting down or taking food to go can add up!
Plus, it’s usually much more caloric than making a meal at home. You’ll save money and calories in a win-win situation!
If you can’t get yourself to stop eating out, at least save money when doing so.
6. Get serious about your grocery needs
The grocery store is where you can make up some ground in your savings if you are more intentional about what you are spending on.
Check your pantry and freezer before you shop.
- Buy what’s on sale
- Don’t buy anything that is not on your list
- Plan meals around what is on sale
- Aim to make fewer trips to the store
If you find yourself picking something up and putting it in your cart that’s not on your list, remind yourself of the plan, and put it back. You can do without it. Your kids can do without it.
7. Cancel all subscriptions or memberships
Small fees add up over time, and you simply may not be paying attention to them. You owe it to yourself to pay attention to anything you’re paying for and not using regularly. Try not to get emotional as I’m sure you had the best intentions when you purchased the membership, to begin with.
Any gym or health memberships you don’t get your money’s worth for? Any entertainment subscriptions you could get for free or from a local library?
They gone. Cancel them immediately.
8. Find free entertainment
Speaking of libraries. They can be a wealth of free fun if you are willing to check them out. Not only can you check out free books and other media, but many offer additional benefits.
Personally, I get a calendar mailed to me each month from my local library offering community events for free. Everything from mommy and me storytime for the little ones to adult education classes. And I live in a town of 6,000 people, so this isn’t a big library.
Plus, some libraries have reciprocity with others. Meaning if you have a library card from your local library, you can also use other libraries in the area for free as well.
9. Make your own laundry detergent
Sound crazy? Check out this article where someone is easily making their own detergent for only $.06 per load!
That is a huge saving over a bottle of name brand or even generic detergent in the store. If you are someone with a large family or constantly doing laundry, give it a try!
10. Cut the cord or re-negotiate your bills
Call and try to get your bills for things like the internet and cable/dish reduced. You have nothing to lose.
We all know the drill: you lock yourself into a great rate going with a new provider. Then a year or two later your bill skyrockets. You call, threaten to cancel service and you can get your bill reduced.
Another option is to try the DirecTV app.
Do it! It’s a huge savings.
If you want to get drastic though, consider cutting cable altogether.
Do you truly need a cable? I know the thought may seem crazy now. But try it. Keep the TV off for a week and discover how much time you have to be productive and spend time with your family when you don’t have it on.
11. Refinance your student loans
With interest rates dropping as of this writing, now is a great time to consider refinancing your student loans. Or any loan for that matter.
One suggestion of a company I have heard good things about is Earnest.
Reducing the amount of money you spend on interest and fees can go far toward your debt or savings. So it’s worth your time to check it out.
12. Unplug stuff when not in use
According to Direct Energy, unplugging appliances when not in use could save you a few hundred dollars per year.
While it may not be feasible for all appliances, look for ones you don’t use regularly. Or ones where the plug is easily accessible.
13. Check how hot you have your water heater set
This article by Apollo Home shares how you could save 15% on your water heating expenses by lowering the temperature. Every dollar counts when you’re tracking financial goals. I personally love a hot shower, so this one is hard for me. But if you’re trying to pay down your debt and get to that freedom you’re seeking, this is a step to consider.
Try turning the heat down and see how that affects your heating bill. If you’re seeing a drop in prices, se if you can go even lower!
14. Lower your heat a degree or two
Do the same with your air conditioning.
Every little bit you can save adds up. Plus, it may just be a habit that your heat or air conditioning is up to high. Simply becoming aware of some of these expenses you don’t often think about could save you money.
Wear sweaters or a jacket if you are cold. Strip down to less clothing if you are hot.
15. Limit driving and plan trips to multi-task
Miles and gas can add up without you even realizing it. Every time you step foot out of your house and into your vehicle it costs money.
Gas, your time, and whatever you end up spending wherever you are going. So limit trips and multi-tasking can help you save in multiple ways. nOt only on money but in your time which is valuable and you can’ get back.
16. Bonus tip: Sell things you don’t need to make extra money!
I’m going to guess you have things around your house that you don’t need and don’t use. Things that were possibly given to you or you purchased over time that are worth something. Things that others would be willing to pay for. Things that are not sentimental to you but someone else could find useful.
Take a stab at selling these things.
If you have clothing to sell try eBay or Poshmark. If you have other items to sell try Facebook Marketplace. What’s the harm in trying? Your lightly used item may be exactly what someone else is looking for.
Sometimes to achieve your financial goals you need to get drastic with cutting expenses. If you think you’ve cut everything you can and still aren’t making your goals, head back to this list and try something else.
It will take small changes in your habits over time to establish new routines. If saving money or paying down debt is your goal, then consider trying some of the things on this list to get even further ahead.
When was the last time you got drastic in cutting expenses? What did you cut or trim?