Save More Money This Year

By Mike Peterson
In January 19, 2015

Want to Save More Money this Year?  Try Cutting Some of These Common Expenses

A new year is a great time to set goals – especially financial goals like bulking up your savings account, paying down high-interest credit card debt, or finally building that all-important emergency fund to cover three months of living expenses.

Whatever your money goals are for this year, one great way to help meet them is to free up some extra cash.  And a great way to do that is to take a look at your household expenses – especially if it’s been a while.  You might be surprised at all of the ways you can cut your spending.

Need a few suggestions for getting started?  Here are some common household expenses that you may be able to pare down – or cut out completely:

  • Bank fees. It goes without saying that overdraft fees will take a serious chunk out of your wallet – but other fees can slowly drain your available funds, too.  Some fees, like ATM fees, can be avoided completely with a little planning.  Others may require more drastic measures.  For example, if your bank charges a monthly checking fee, it may be time to shop around for a better offer.
  • Bottled water. There’s just no reason to spend money on something you can get at home for free.  Need water on the go?  Buy a plastic travel bottle.  Not a fan of the taste of your tap water? Consider investing in a filter that snaps on to your faucet – it’ll still be cheaper than buying the bottled stuff.
  • Cable television. At anywhere from $50 to $100 per month, cable TV is pretty darn pricy.  Cut the cord and get your TV fix from a (much!) cheaper streaming service instead.
  • Credit monitoring services. Now, don’t get me wrong here:  I’m not saying that credit monitoring isn’t important – but I am saying that you can do it yourself without paying a penny.  How? Read your credit card statements every month.  Change your passwords at least every six months.  Avoid shopping on unsecured e-commerce sites (secure sites start with “https” and/or have a little padlock symbol somewhere on the page).  And, of course, make sure to review your credit report – you get one free credit report per year from, so make sure to use it!
  • Dining out. Restaurant food is convenient – especially on nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.  But that convenience comes at a high price.  If you want to save money, cut out restaurants and start preparing more meals at home. Take leftovers for lunch to avoid hitting up fast food joints.  Also: Cut out the fancy coffeehouse drinks.  If you must have coffee, brew it at home.
  • Is it cold where you live right now?  If you want to shave a few dollars off of your monthly utility bills, lower your heat by a few degrees.  The lower you go, the less you’ll pay.
  • Late payment penalties. I just hate to see people throw away good money on late fees.   And really, paying late fees really is just throwing money away.  There’s no good reason to pay a late fee – ever.  The simple solution, of course, is to pay your bills on time.  But if you tend to forget due dates, you can use technology to keep you on track:  Set reminders on your smartphone.  Enroll in an auto-pay program.  Do whatever you have to do to avoid late fees.
  • Phone service, times two. Do you have a cell phone and a landline telephone?  If so, it may be time to part ways with your landline and the bill that comes with it. (If you’ve already cut out old-school, landline telephone service, it might be a good idea to review your plan and do some comparison shopping to see if you’re getting the best rates!)
  • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions can be a real drain on your finances, and canceling them can free up some extra cash.  Don’t want to miss out on your favorites?  Do a little research online:  Many publications offer the same content online for free (although some have monthly reading limits or paywalls – it’s best to do some research).

These are all great ways to cut out some unnecessary spending, save money, and help you meet your financial goals for the year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Mike is the author of “Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich” and he has been published in a variety of local and national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Deseret Morning News, LDS Living Magazine, and Physicians Money Digest. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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