Having a budget is usually one of the first suggestions when it comes to personal finance and managing your money effectively. But what if you’re looking at your budget categories and you have no ideas for ways to save money on your regular, recurring bills?
In this article, we’ll look at 40 practical ways to save money on some of the most important expenses that account for some of the biggest budget percentages.
Reducing your monthly bills will have a huge impact on your finances because you’ll be saving money each and every month, and even small savings can add up quickly.
Regardless of whether your goal is to cut back to make ends meet, to save money that can be used to pay off debt, to save money that you can invest for the future, or any other financial goal, there are plenty of possibilities.
→ Related reading: How to Create a Budget That Works
Housing expenses are a big part of the budget for most people. Regardless of whether you rent or buy, housing can be expensive. Reducing your housing expenses can have a huge impact on your overall finances, since it’s probably one of your biggest expenses each month. Here are a few options.
1. Get a Roommate
If you currently rent, consider adding a roommate. If you live by yourself, you could cut your rent in half by getting a roommate. If you already have a roommate or live with a significant other, you may be able to save money by getting another roommate if you have space.
2. Become a Landlord
If you own your home, consider renting out a room. Even if you don’t have a multi-unit home, simply renting a bedroom is a viable option. The rent that you’ll get for just that one room can make a big difference in your budget each month.
3. Refinance Your Mortgage
Depending on your current mortgage rate, you may be able to save money each month by refinancing. You can check with your local bank for their current rates, or get quotes online at a site like Credible.
If you decide to refinance, be sure to check the fees associated with the refinance and not just the interest rate or monthly payment. Some refinances will involve a lot of fees that will add to your loan balance. If you may be selling the house anytime in the near future you’ll want to be wary of excessive fees.
4. Get Rid of PMI
If you put less than 20% down when you purchased your house, you’re probably paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) each month. Most lenders require PMI when homeowners borrow more than 80% of the appraised value of the home.
PMI can add a significant amount of money to your monthly mortgage payment, and getting rid of it can give you noticeable relief. In order to get rid of PMI, you will need to either pay down the balance of your mortgage until it gets below 80%, or if the value of your home has increased you could get it appraised to give you more equity in the home. If the appraisal is high enough to give you more than 20% equity, you can eliminate PMI. Check with your mortgage lender for your options.
5. Move to a Cheaper Place
The last option is to move to a home that will cost less each month. If you’re renting, you can move whenever your lease is up. If you own, you can sell your home and downsize or move to a cheaper area. Of course, be sure that you consider the costs of moving. With the high costs of buying and selling, moving is usually a better option for renters than it is for owners.
Utilities like electricity, gas, and water can add up to a big expense each month. I won’t get into too many details here, because I have articles on some of these specific topics (see links below), but in this section, you’ll find a few tips for easy changes.
- 33 Realistic Ways to Save Money on Electricity
- 30+ Easy Ways to Save Big Money on Your Water Bill
- 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill
6. Switch Providers
Depending on which state you live in, you may have the option to choose your provider. This is one of the easiest ways to save money because it’s a competitive market and different companies are always offering competitive rates to try to entice new users. Sometimes they’ll even offer cash or gift cards as a bonus.
You can use a website like Choose Energy to easily and quickly compare rates. The process of signing up with a different provider is usually pretty simple and quick. Even if you already switched providers in the past, you may want to check again. Rates and promotions change frequently.
7. Adjust the Temperature
Simply lowering your thermostat a few degrees in the winter and increasing it a few degrees in the summer can make a noticeable difference in your heating and cooling costs. You can also take it a step further with a programmable thermostat, so you can have the temperature comfortable when you are home, and save money when you’re not home.