Financial struggles are an inevitable part of life. Finding ways to save money each month can help you get through times when cash is tight. Thankfully, there are relatively easy ways to lower your monthly expenses that can add hundreds of dollars to your budget. If you want to lower your bills with minimal sacrifice, this guide will give you some ideas. You can save money every month in many ways. Here are 36 ways to reduce costs each month that will let you save thousands of dollars a year.
Proven Ways to Save Money Every Month
From modifying daily habits to reducing monthly bills, we’ve compiled 36 money-saving ideas to improve your finances. Regardless of your situation, this list will help you find some easy ways to save money.
1. Cut the Cord
Cutting the cord on cable is one of the best ways to save money every month. The average household spends over $200 per month on cable. With the availability of cable alternatives (IPTV Services), there’s no need to spend that much money. A streaming service can save you at least $125 per month. Streaming providers also have no contracts, allowing you to leave whenever you want.
2. Get Rebates on Your Grocery Shopping
Couponing is usually on any list of money-saving tips. However, if you don’t want to spend time clipping coupons, you can save money at the grocery store by using your phone. Ibotta is an app that lets you get cash back on purchases. After you shop, scan your receipt so the app can identify any items that have rebates. You can also pre-select items that have rebates before you shop. The app gives new users $20 for signing up. You can redeem your balance once you reach $20.
3. Review Your Cell Phone Needs
Similar to cable, switching to a no-contract phone plan lets you save money every month. Analyzing your needs could help you save up to $100 per line per month. If you’re commonly on Wi-Fi, you can switch to a smaller carrier without sacrificing reliability. Ting Wireless is a perfect solution that offers coverage on Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The average bill is only $23 per month. Frugal Rules readers can receive a $50 credit.
4. Automate Saving
A common problem when it comes to saving is that we often forget to do it. One of the best ways to save more money every month is to automate it. This lets you reach your savings goals without having to think about it. A money market with CIT Bank is a terrific solution. It requires a minimal $100 opening balance. You can automate savings on a weekly or monthly basis. The CIT Bank Money Market Account has the same FDIC-protection as a savings account does, is fee-free, and pays 0.45 percent on your cash.
5. Find Coupon Codes When Shopping Online
If you’re like me, you do a lot of your shopping online. However, nothing is more frustrating than spending time searching for coupon codes only to find out they don’t work. Capital One Shopping is an excellent resource to avoid that problem. The free browser extension works on your behalf to find discount codes or savings on items you purchase.
6. Start A Side Hustle
If you want to save money fast, your best bet may be a side hustle to earn extra money. There are countless side jobs you can start to make cash on the side. Delivery driver jobs are among the best because you can earn $20+ per hour. DoorDash is our favorite app to deliver for since you can deliver meals from restaurants, food from the grocery store, or dozens of other possibilities. You can set your own schedule and receive payouts weekly.
7. Get Cashback Rewards on Your Purchases
The Oxygen financial platform can help you save money every month with cashback rewards on qualifying purchases. They offer four different loyalty levels to better serve your financial needs and have named them after the elements Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Oxygen is a mobile app available on both iOS and Android and charges no monthly fees to help you save even more. When you sign up you’ll also get early direct deposit, money transfers, and other benefits.
8. Negotiate Lower Bills
When was the last time you asked for a lower price on a service or analyzed subscriptions to see what you can cut? If it has been a while, you could be leaving money on the table.
Taking the time to negotiate may score you a one-time discount or monthly savings. If you hate the idea of negotiating, Truebill is a free service that will do it for you. Trruebill keeps 33 percent of whatever savings they win for you.
9. Lower Debt Payments
Credit card debt (and other high-interest debt) restricts you from reaching financial goals. The interest alone can eat up a lot of your budget. Refinancing or consolidating debt can help you lower your interest payments and even pay it off quicker. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your debt. Check your rate at SoFi to see how much you can save. You can get a loan as small as $5,000 with rates as low as 5.99 percent.
10. Meal Plan
Food waste takes a big bite out of a budget. The average family wastes nearly $2,000 in food annually. That’s money going directly in the trash. Meal planning helps you avoid this waste and save up to $150 each month since you buy only what you need. If you’re new to meal planning, $5 Meal Plan is a good resource. This app helps you with meal ideas and maps out exactly what you need to buy. The service provides a 14-day free trial.
11. Refinance Student Loan Payments
Similar to high-interest debt, student loan debt can restrict financial mobility. When you refinance student loans to an income-driven repayment plan, you could save hundreds of dollars each month. Before you pursue this option, make sure you won’t sacrifice any protections offered in your original loan. If not, do some research to see what kind of rate you can receive. Check your rate at SoFi to see how much you could save each month.
SoFi has launched a Rate Snooze offering for refinancing student loans. Frugal Rules readers who have federal student loans can lock in low rates but also keep their federal benefits – 0% interest until September 20,2021 – and pay nothing until October!
12. Find Cheaper Auto Insurance
Many insurers have lowered car insurance rates because people have not been driving as much during the pandemic. That aside, reports indicate 40 percent of drivers have not compared rates in at least three years. If that’s you, you could be leaving hundreds of dollars on the table. The best way to find cheaper auto insurance is to compare rates. Gabi is a helpful tool that lets you simultaneously compare up to 40 insurers. The average user saves $825 annually.
13. Consider Term Life Insurance
Life insurance is essential to protect your loved ones. However, many people often fall for whole life insurance. Whole life is considerably more expensive than term life. The latter is adequate for most. Savings depend on your situation, but term life is often five to 15 times cheaper than whole life insurance. You can even compare rates online instead of dealing with a salesperson. Sproutt is a terrific resource. It lets you compare insurers to find the best fit for your needs and get an affordable policy.
14. Try the 52-Week Challenge
If saving money every month is challenging for you, it may be best to start small. This can give you the confidence to amplify future savings efforts. This is where the 52-week challenge helps. You start by saving $1 in week one, then $2 in week two, and this continues until you save $52 in week 52. You will save $1,378 by the end of the year. If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, you can use the savings from this challenge to open a money market at CIT Bank once you reach $100.
15. Skip the Gym Membership
This may not be as big of an issue during the pandemic, but gym memberships are expensive. The average person with a gym membership wastes $40 per month because they don’t use it.
Instead of a pricey gym membership, use free workout apps to save money by exercising at home. If you want to lose weight, you can even make money shedding weight with a service like HealthyWage. Read our review of the weight loss app here to learn more.
16. Save Your Spare Change
Most lists of money-saving tips tell you to save your spare change. While this is an effortless way to save money, why not grow that change instead? You can do that with Acorns. This micro-investing app rounds up all your purchases and invests the money in a low-cost portfolio of your choosing once you reach a $5 balance. Think of it as using your spare change to grow your net worth.
17. Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage can potentially save you several hundred dollars a month. Mortgage rates are at historic lows. You could be in for big savings if it has been several years since you looked at rates. LendingTree is a helpful website that lets you compare up to five lenders. If you have a local mortgage broker, contact them to see how much you could save.
18. Track Your Spending
One of the best ways to save money each month is by tracking your spending. This allows you to identify where each dollar goes so you can find ways to improve your finances. While you can track your spending manually, automation simplifies the process. Tiller is a service that does this for you. It connects to your bank account and puts all of your transactions in a Google sheet for you to analyze. The service is free for 30 days, then costs $6 per month.
19. Monitor Your Electric Bill
Depending on where you live and how much energy you use, you can save hundreds annually by watching your usage. If your provider offers a level pay plan, keep that in mind to ensure you won’t have surprise swings in your bills. Another way to save money on your energy bills is to buy a programmable thermostat. Reports indicate you can save up to 30 percent on energy bills this way.
20. Cut Your Own Hair
The pandemic made getting haircuts more of a luxury than ever before. Make it a habit to cut your own hair to save hundreds each year. An affordable kit from Wahl is a perfect tool to cut your hair. Combining that with a pair of good scissors can save you a lot of money.
21. Cut Down on Youth Sports
Organized sports are a big cost for many families. Exercise and learning teamwork are important, but they can be done for less. A report from USA Today indicates 60 percent of families spend $100 – $499 per child on youth sports. Another 20 percent spend $1,000 per month. If you’re struggling to save money each month, this is an easy area to reduce spending.
22. Join A Warehouse Club
A warehouse club may seem contradictory to those looking for money-saving ideas. However, Costco and Sam’s Club often offer significant savings for members. Savings on groceries aside, both retailers offer discounts on anything from travel to home services to prescriptions and more. Read our guide on Costco and Sam’s Club to learn which is best for you.
23. Buy Used
Waste doesn’t just impact food costs. It also impacts how much we spend on items such as clothing. If you have a growing family, consignment stores offer savings of at least 50 percent on what an item would cost new. You can even sell clothes you no longer need to defray costs.
24. Reduce Eating Out
Going out to eat is a fun activity, but it’s also costly. While the average family spends $225 per month dining out, it’s easy to spend more. When it comes to how to save money, cutting down on eating out is an easy option to try. Reducing the number of times you dine out by just one meal could save $50 a month for other needs in your budget.
25. Lower Your Car Payment
Similar to other debts, a car payment can be a big chunk of your budget. The average car payment is over $500 a month. If you have several years left on your payment, consider refinancing to lower your rate to save on interest.
26. Shop for Cheaper Internet Services
Having internet access at home is a necessity. However, it’s also costly. Rates can vary widely depending on where you live. Call your current provider to negotiate a lower price. If that doesn’t work, switch to a competitor that has a lower rate. Read our guide on internet alternatives if you’re trying to get internet without cable.
27. Stop Smoking
Reports indicate the average smoker spends nearly $2,300 per year on cigarettes. If you are a smoker, that’s roughly $190 per month you could save if you stopped smoking. The recurring savings is just one part of the equation. You will also save significant money on medical bills by improving your health.
28. Switch to a No-Fee Bank
Banks love to charge fees, even to their most loyal customers. USA Today reports the average person spends $10-15 a month on bank fees. This can be higher if you pay ATM fees. This may not seem like a lot of money, but reducing how much you pay in fees is important. Fee-free banks like Chime or CIT Bank are both good alternatives to slash this expense.
29. Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards
It’s easy to overspend on Amazon because convenience is their entire business model. You need to be careful to not have this spending impact your budget. Gift cards are an awesome way to offset your spending. You can earn these with Pinecone Research. This paid survey site lets you earn money by taking surveys and testing products. You won’t amass wealth this way, but it’s an easy way to monetize your free time.
30. Take Your Lunch to Work
Do you want to save more money each month? Taking your lunch to work is an effortless way to do that.Instead of spending $20 or more a week on takeout, bring leftovers or a sandwich and pocket the savings.
31. Start a Garden
If you love vegetables but want to save money at the grocery store, starting a DIY garden is a great option. Begin with several small garden beds in your backyard. You’ll start saving in no time.
32. Make Your Own Bottled Water
According to The Water Project, the average person spends $100 per year on bottled water. Although it may feel like a necessary expense, there are ways to save and still have purified water. Buying a water filter can eliminate the need to purchase bottled water. You can even buy a Nalgene water bottle to take with you when you travel since you’ll recoup the savings quickly.
33. Save Your Raise
Have you been fortunate enough to receive a raise at work recently? Instead of looking for ways to spend the money, save it. If you must spend it, use it towards things like eliminating debt so you can reduce how much you pay in interest.
34. Save on Gas
Spending on gas is necessary for most people. You can often find cheap gas by searching for lower prices on your phone. Use an app like GasBuddy or FullTank to find the best prices in your area. This can help you save up to five percent on your gas costs.
35. Find Lower Prescription Prices
Medicine can be expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to save on prescription medication.
GoodRx is a free app that lets you find lower drug prices. According to their site, the app is accepted at over 70,000 pharmacies nationwide and can often save you significant money on your medication needs.
36. Use the Library
One of the best ways to save money is by using the library. Depending on where you live, your library will carry movies, music, and books. If there’s a book or movie you want, check with your local library first before spending $20+ on it.
There are many ways to increase monthly savings. All you have to do is give some of these ideas a try. While they won’t all apply to you, you can combine multiple options and save several hundred dollars each month. Don’t let the fear of missing out on things hold you back from saving money. Most of the items on our list let you reduce expenses without making substantial sacrifices. What are some of your favorite ways to save money? Do you like to negotiate pricing?