Alex O'Brien

Money & Banking

20 small ways to reduce your monthly spend

20 small ways to reduce your monthly spend

Even though we’re trying our best to budget, sometimes it can seem as though the exact same amount of money is going out as what’s coming back in.

The good news is that saving needn’t necessarily be so hard. We’ve outlined 20 small, but very effective ways to reduce your average monthly spend.

Follow these expert tips and we’re sure you’re going to notice plenty of extra spare change in your pocket when it gets to the end of the month.

  1. Install energy efficient lightbulbs – Electricity rates certainly aren’t getting any cheaper, and it really pays to try and save wherever you can with items like these.
  2. Unplug unused electrical devices – When devices are plugged in they continue to drain power, so when you’re not using your devices pull the plug out and save.
  3. Opt for inexpensive entertainment – If you’re spending a king’s ransom keeping yourself entertained, consider cheaper options like visiting your local library.
  4. Cancel unused subscriptions – We all love the thud of a newspaper on our front step of a morning, but if you’re not actually reading it, it’s an unnecessary expense.
  5. Cook more meals at home – There’s nothing wrong with eating out occasionally, but when this becomes a major habit it can have a big impact on your back pocket.
  6. Start a garden – Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of supermarkets and green grocers. Starting a garden is a great hobby and an even better way to get fresh produce.
  7. Buy generic items – We’ve all got our favourite brands, but that label does come with a premium. And in many cases the generic option is really just as good.
  8. Shop around for cheaper phone plans – So many people are paying more than they have to because they are getting overcharged or just haven’t looked around.
  9. Go easy on the booze – Everybody likes a drink every now and then, but this can be an expensive habit. Just going dry and your wallet (and liver) will thank you.
  10. Buy non-perishables in bulk – Often you can secure pretty reasonable prices for non-perishable items when buying in bulk. Simply freeze and eat when you’re ready.
  11. Shop around insurance policies – It might be time to consider your level of coverage. Talk to your provider and others to see if you’re currently over-insured.
  12. Make your own gifts – In the end of the day it’s the thought that counts, so if you’ve got a loved one with a special occasion consider making your own gift.
  13. Never shop on an empty stomach – Research has shown that showing up to a supermarket hungry makes shoppers more likely to make impulse buys.
  14. Consider buying second hand clothes – Buying new outfits all the time can add up eventually, so if you need a woolly sweater consider going to an op-shop.
  15. Wait 30 days before making a major purchase – You might feel as though you want to buy something, but wait 30 days to see if that urge is still there.
  16. Entertain guests at home instead of going out – Going out all the time can be quite expensive, but inviting your friends over to your place ends up much cheaper.
  17. Refillable water bottles – Bottled water is one expense that is never really justified, especially when you consider how much cheaper it is to buy a refillable bottle.
  18. Stop smoking – This is a bad health habit also, but it’s quite expensive as well. Cutting out smoking is a great way to make you healthier and save money.
  19. Turn off lights when you’re not in the room – So often we leave lights in the house on out of habit, but if no one’s in the room you’re just wasting money.
  20. Skip the café coffee – Buying coffee can be quite expensive if you’re doing it every day, but if you’re willing to skip it for homemade options you can save.
Do you agree with the savings secrets on our list? Are there any additional ones you’d suggest, and if so what are they? Share your tips in the comments.

Related links:

10 foods you must stop buying at the supermarket

10 clever ways reduce bills in cooler months

10 ways to keep energy bills down in winter