It’s the things we truly can’t live without that cost a pretty penny. I’m talking about household expenses, such as utilities and food. Paying for these essentials adds up and takes a considerable chunk of change from our budgets.
According to Value Penguin, “Americans spend an additional $7,068 per year, on average, on products and services that make our dwellings livable” [source]
If only there were a way we could reduce household expenses. Good news, friends, you can! Below you will find more than a dozen little-known ways to cut back on what you pay to keep your house up and running. Implement the following tips so you can drastically reduce household expenses without making huge lifestyle changes.
1. Make a Budget and Stick to It
Before we jump into a list of ways to reduce household expenses, we need to understand the importance of budgeting. You need to know exactly how much you are spending on typical household expenses so you can budget for the future. Make a plan to keep your income more than expenses. Make a list of your household expenses and what each one costs. If you discover they add up to more than you are bringing home, then it is time to make some cuts. Don’t panic! As you’ll see, this is easier than you might expect as you learn, embrace, and adopt all of these little-known ways to reduce household expenses. Read on!
2. Save on Groceries with Ibotta
If you are like most Americans, a big part of your budget is groceries. This isn’t a budget area you can cut out totally – you gotta eat. But, you can grocery shop smarter. Ibotta gives you cash back on grocery store purchases by paying through the app, using the browser extension, or submitting a receipt.
With Ibotta, you can shop for your groceries at tons of retailers to earn free money and receive cashback offers for certain products (including essentials). Plus, Ibotta even works for grocery delivery services and pickup orders. If you’re going to have to buy groceries, then you might as well earn some money doing so.
3. Lower Your Home and Auto Insurance with Gabi
Paying for home and auto insurance is a part of adulting we all wish we could skip. What you may not know is that you can reduce household expenses by lowering your insurance costs. Many people don’t realize they can shop around for better insurance. For instance, experts recommend shopping for new car insurance once a year.
When is the last time you shopped around for insurance? Exactly. Shopping around for insurance is tedious. But what if I told you that you don’t have to?
Gabi is a free service that compares insurance rates to help you save money. Instead of wasting your time calling around, let Gabi do all your car and home insurance shopping for you.
4. Cook at Home
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average American spends $288 a month on eating out [source]. That adds up to $3,456 a year. If you stop going to restaurants and ordering takeout as much, you can easily reduce household expenses.
Plus, you can learn how to impress your friends and family with your cooking skills. Use Google to find copycat recipes for dishes at your favorite restaurants. You’ll be amazed by how much cheaper it is to cook the same meal at home. And don’t get me started on the high price you pay for alcoholic drinks in restaurants than what it costs when you enjoy adult beverages at home.
5. Drink More Water
Speaking of drinking, you can significantly reduce household expenses just by drinking water rather than soft drinks or other pricey beverages. Don’t mishear me. I’m not telling you to go buy a bunch of bottled water. That would be a huge waste of money.
According to Food and Water Watch, “Bottled water costs from $0.89 per gallon to $8.26 per gallon, compared to fractions of a penny for water from your tap [source]. That makes bottled water thousands of times more expensive than tap water.” And you do realize most bottled water comes from the tap, right?
So, the wise choice is to invest in a reusable water bottle and a water filter to make the tap water even better and healthier. You’ll save money and help save the earth! Check out these water filter products:
6. Lower Your Electric Bill with Electricity Rates
Beyond making sure you are turning off your lights when they aren’t in use, there are other ways you can lower your electric bill to reduce household expenses. Most people overlook this opportunity to reduce their expenses because historically there has only been one company that delivers power to your down. But times have changed and other electricity providers might be able to save you money month-in and month-out.
Visit ElectricityRates.com to compare providers and costs to see if you are overpaying for electricity. Should you switch to a provider offering a lower price, your new service will activate with no interruptions after a couple of billing cycles.
“Help me stop being poor!”
The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.
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- Hacks to lower your monthly bills
- Hacks to spend less on debt
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This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.
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7. Use Reusable Sandwich and Gallon-Sized Bags
One bonus of cooking at home means you can save money packing lunches because of leftovers. However, all the little sandwich bags and gallon-sized bags meant for storing your leftover food cost money. If you are buying the kind of bags you throw away after a single use, that is money that goes straight in the trash. Instead, invest in reusable sandwich and gallon-sized bags, which can be cleaned and reused over and over again. You will save money and keep plastic out of landfills.
8. Amazon Subscribe & Save to Get 15% Off Toiletries
When making a budget, it is easy to overlook toiletries. Since we use these things every day, we forget about them. But shopping for toiletries can drain your accounts – especially because you are constantly having to replenish your stock of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc.
Since you know you are going to need to buy this stuff again, enroll in Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program to set up regular deliveries and save 15% off the price. Amazon’s S&S lets you choose the delivery schedule (i.e., every other week, once a month, every three months), but you still receive 15% off no matter how far apart you schedule your deliveries.
9. Say Goodbye to Unnecessary Subscriptions
With so many streaming services available, many American households subscribe to more than one. One streaming service offers the show Friends; another streaming service offers Hallmark movies. While you may think you need both, you need to subscribe to the one streaming service you get the most use out of. Likewise, cancel subscriptions that you have forgotten about or go unused (i.e., magazines and grocery services).
Trim Does Even More to Lower Expenses
Trim has made it their mission to help people like you and me save money by getting rid of unnecessary subscriptions. With Trim, you don’t have to hassle or negotiate. They’ll do it all for you.
A Trim negotiation expert will call your service providers for things like internet, cable, and medical bills. What’s more? The service is free to start.
If Trim cannot lower any of your monthly bills, you do not pay a dime. But if Trim does save you money (the average Trim member using all services saves $1498/year), you keep 66% of your savings the first year and 100% of your savings every year after.
Please note that Trim takes their payment immediately. For example, if Trim saves you $10/month, they will request their 33% fee ($40) right away. But you keep 100% of the savings after that.
10. Earn 2% Cash Back with the Right Credit Card
Another way to reduce household expenses is to make your credit card work for you. With the right credit card, you can get at least 2% cashback on all your purchases. That’s 2% you can use to pay for household essentials. Use Credit Land to quickly and easily find the best rewards credit cards. If your credit card isn’t earning you cashback, it’s time for a new card.
11. Buy Refurbished Technology from Gazelle
Don’t let FOMO (the fear of missing out) about the latest iPhone ruin your budget. Just because the latest version of a phone has been released, it doesn’t mean all the phones before it have been rendered useless. Instead, save a ton of money when you buy refurbished technology from Gazelle.
Gazelle is a leading eCommerce company that purchases used technology (smartphones, tablets, etc.) and resells them – only after they have inspected and certified them.
12. Stop Overfeeding Your Pets
Your four-legged family member needs to eat, but food costs add up. According to CNBC, “Dog food would be a recurring expense. It’s estimated that dog owners spend between $250 and $700 per year on food and treats” [source].
What’s worse is that many pet owners are spending more money than they need to because they are overfeeding their pets. Instead, invest in the PetSafe Pre-Portioned Automatic Food Dispenser for Cats and Dogs. Your fur baby will get just the right amount, and you won’t spend more than you should on food.
Bonus Tip: Stop Spending Money When You’re Bored
Fill your time with productive, inexpensive activities such as reading or playing board games and card games. Visit your local library to see what is available to borrow. Today’s libraries offer far more than books. You can borrow movies, video games, and take-home craft kits.
Save More Money! Read these next…
- 43 Hacks to Live on One Income and Never be Poor
- 7 Tips to Make Your House Look Expensive on the Cheap
- 9 Frugal Habits of the Super Rich (you should copy)
Need help saving at your favorite store?
- 5+ Amazon Hacks Every Prime Member Should Know
- 7 Walmart Hacks That are Borderline Genius
- 10 Things to Always Buy at the Dollar Store (plus what to avoid)
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Michelle Salater is a freelance finance writer with a passion for personal finance education. When she’s not in front of her computer, she’s reading biographies and exploring remote areas of the world. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC.