6 Ways to Cut Back on Living Expenses

This is a guest article by Stevie Clapton.  If you are interested in contributing to Debt RoundUp, please follow our guidelines.


Photo Via: Philip Taylor PT

Although when asked, most people will tell you that they are aware of the importance of saving money, and living within their means, the sad fact of the matter is that many people live well above their means, going deeply into debt in order to fund a lifestyle that they cannot afford. However, with some due diligence, you can cut back greatly on your living expenses allowing you to pay down debts with your current income. A few tips that you can use to cut back on your monthly living expenses include;

Money Tracking Is Vital
You cannot effectively cut back on the amount of money that you are spending unless you are properly tracking where it is spent. You should be saving receipts of all purchases that you make, so you can see not only where you were spending the money, but the exact items that you are spending money on. Perhaps you are not overspending at the grocery store in general, but are overspending on chips and snacks, which is money that could be better spent on healthier food. By analyzing you’re spending in-depth, you can find areas in which you are overspending, and cut them out completely.

Bundle Your Services
If you are paying for many different services for your home, such as phone, cable, and Internet separately, you can save a great deal of money by bundling them altogether with a single company. Sometimes, you will be able to save $20 or more per month through doing so. This will also consolidate these bills with a single company, making them much easier to manage and pay.

Use Coupons
With the rise in popularity of the Internet, coupons seem to have gone out of style. However, coupons are still a completely viable way to save a great deal of money when you were shopping at the store. Groceries can eat up a large part of a budget, and an excellent way to cut back on your grocery spending is to use the coupons that arrive with the newspaper. Although novice coupon users are usually only able to save around 20% on their groceries, with a little bit of training and experience you can expect to save up to 40% on your groceries through smart use of coupons.

Turn Off the Heat and Bundle Up
One of the largest portions of anyone’s energy bill is going to be the heat. Heating a home costs a great deal of money, and can significantly increase your living expenses. On days when it is just a little chilly and not freezing outside, you can save a great deal of money by turning off your heat, and simply wearing another layer of clothing. Although it might be uncomfortable at first, you would be surprised how quickly you can become accustomed to this style of living, allowing you to save up to $100 per month that normally would have gone into heating your home.
Entertain Yourself Cheaply
How much of your budget do you actually spend on entertainment? Many people spend hundreds of dollars every month entertaining them, without ever looking for cheap ways to do so. Examine your entertainment expenses in depth, and look at ways in which you can cut down on your spending. If one form of entertainment, such as going to the movies, cost less than another form of entertainment, you could plan to start going to the movies more often.

Just Stay In
When you are worried about the amount that you are spending, the best way for you to save money is just to stay home. Instead of going out to the bar with friends, stay in and watch a movie. By staying in, you do not give yourself the option to spend additional money, and having the willpower to do so will allow you to save a great deal of money over time.

Author Bio: Stevie Clapton works at a company that provides rental related articles and connects people with renters insurance.

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  1. November 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm — Reply

    These are all great tips! I agree that the easier way to save money when you just stay home. We always save the most money when we are too busy to go out and do anything.

    • November 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm — Reply

      You are correct Holly. If you tend to not be busy, then you want to do things. This usually includes wasting money, not making it or saving it.

  2. November 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    Great tips! We use many of them, especially tracking our expenses and knowing where our money is going. I find that it really helps us stretch our budget and make it work smarter as opposed to harder.

    • November 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by John. It is always important to know where your money is going.

  3. Veronica @ Pelican on Money
    November 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    Excellent tips, I use all but couponing. I don’t know why, I guess I just feel too lazy to do it like Bridget at Money after Graduation. Something about taking the time to clip coupons that never really settled well with me. All the other tips are wonderful though. We often try to just go out and enjoy nature to entertain ourselves cheaply. I’m sure people in the Midwest reading this think I’m nuts that there is actually pleasure to be had by just being away from a bustling city – but this is something I’ve come to appreciate after spending so much time in busy places like Southern California.

    • November 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Veronica. I agree with you. Couponing is a difficult task and my wife and I just started it. We don’t really enjoy it, but we do enjoy the savings. I understand now how many can do it full time, it’s exhausting.

  4. November 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm — Reply

    All great tips here and all that Mrs.CBB use to cut back on our expenses. Probably the one that stands out the most over all of them for me is tracking our expenses. It wasn’t until the time we started to budget our money in our budget spreadsheet and every penny we spent that we truly knew where we needed to make changes. You can’t control what you don’t know, so know your numbers and set goals accordingly. Great post. Mr.CBB

    • November 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm — Reply

      Hey CBB. I completely agree with you. It is hard to have insight into something that is invisible. Tracking expenses is one of the most important tips anyone of us can give.

  5. November 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm — Reply

    If you are a good tenant, you can also try to ask your landlord for a discount, or negotiate your rent before you move in. It is a big part of the monthly budget and you lose nothing by asking.

    • November 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm — Reply

      Great point Pauline. It never hurts to ask for a discount. The only thing that can happen is you get a “no”.

  6. Justin@thefrugalpath
    November 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm — Reply

    Great ideas. I think the most important money saving action that you can take is to track your expenses. That way you can find fat to cut.
    Couponing is great too, but tracking your expenses can really help you find problem areas.

    • November 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm — Reply

      I completely agree Justin. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. November 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm — Reply

    Just staying in has definitely saved me a great deal of money! I need to get back into couponing.

    • November 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm — Reply

      I agree Michelle. Staying in is not only easy, but saves a lot of money over time.

  8. December 13, 2012 at 12:03 am — Reply

    We’ve got the turn off the heat and bundle up thing working for us. I rebel when the temp indoors reaches in to the 50s. Then we turn the heat on until the house reaches a balmy 60 (at which time we turn it off again).

    • December 13, 2012 at 9:56 am — Reply

      Oh yes, my heat is set to low, so it is usually cold in our house, something my wife and I enjoy.

  9. Julie Anna
    March 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm — Reply

    Great Article Stevie! We like to cut back on the heat and snuggle up as well…though it gets a bit tough sometimes up here in Michigan;) Great tip on tracking your expenses…it really is step one to making some necessary changes. Well done:)

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