Do you have bad credit? Are you struggling to cut down your monthly expenses?

Saving money is similar to losing weight. If you want to lose a lot of weight fast, you may need to take extreme physical and dietary measures. Unfortunately, this is not healthy and it is not a long term way of keeping the weight off.

Saving money is exactly the same. If you allocate an extreme amount of money towards your savings, you will definitely save money and pay off any debt. Unfortunately, this approach is not sustainable and you will struggle to develop good long term money habits.

The key to developing great money habits is to make simple adjustments to your lifestyle. The process starts with evaluating and reducing any unnecessary monthly expenses. Categorise your expenses by groups such as transportation, debt, utilities, entertainment, and food. Once you are aware of your expenses, assess which ones you remove or eliminate.

Here are 20 simple ways to cut down monthly expenses and save money.

1. Use a budgeting planner

Use a budgeting planner to assess how much income you are generating and where your expenses are situated. Once you gather a clear picture of your financial situation, you can begin to make more informed financial decisions.

2. Meal Preparation

Set aside a couple of hours on a Sunday night to bulk cook your meals. Simple meals such as a lasagne can be cooked and stored in food containers for the week. Rather than spending 10$ on lunch, take any leftovers to work. If you do this every day you will save $50 extra a week.

3. Prepare a grocery list before you shop

Have you walked into your local supermarket only needing to buy 3 items, and left wondering how you have spent $100?  This is an all too common issue that happens for many households. Before you leave for the supermarket, create a list of exactly what you need to buy. That way you walk in with a direct understanding of grocery items. This will save you time and money!

4. Buy store brand products

You may only save a few dollars but it all adds up. There isn’t really a large difference in the taste with store-branded products. For example substitute store brand rice or even cleaning chemicals.

5. Cut down Uber Eats.

More and more people are replacing home-cooked meals or dining out for uber eats. Your weekly spendings can quickly creep up without you noticing.

6. Replace cable TV with streaming services such as Netflix

With a rise in streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and more recently Kayo; you can stream all types of TV shows, movies, and sports. Evaluate whether you are using your cable TV. You could save anywhere up to $100 per month by switching to a streaming service. At the same time, these services offer a range of new TV shows and movies that are unavailable on cable TV. Alternatively, stick to free to air channels which also offer a large range of channels.

7. Check your Mobile App Subscriptions

Do you have in-app subscriptions that you signed up for 6 months ago? If you are not using them, then go through and unsubscribe.

8. Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically change the heating and cooling temperature of your house. Utilise a thermostat when you are not home or sleeping at night. They can help you save a large sum of money off your electricity and gas bills.

9. Assess your phone bill

Are you really using all that data and minutes?  or is your phone plan purely for the new iPhone? Consider going on a BYO mobile plan if you already have a phone that works. This will save you paying off ridiculous repayments each month for the mobile.

10. Evaluate insurance plans

Whether its car insurance, life or health insurance – shop around. Compare the market and make sure that you are finding the most suitable and affordable insurance plan that fits your needs.

11. Switch it off

When leaving a room, don’t forget to turn the light off. If you are not using the TV, turn it off. Flick the switch off and cut your electricity bill down.

12. Catch a train or cycle to work.

Ditch the car. You will save money on fuel and you will get fit. It’s a win-win!

13. Cancel your unused gym membership

Millions of Australians could save a lot more money if they make one phone call. Research has shown that Australians are wasting 1.8 billion dollars on unused gym memberships per year. The average membership fee is around $1148 per year. If you are not using your membership, then it’s time to make that phone call.

14. Consolidate your debt

Do you have bad credit? Are you finding it hard to manage all your different credit card debt? A debt consolidation loan may help you take control of your finances. By merging your finances into one neat and tidy bundle you can only pay one monthly repayment for all your debt. This will help you keep on track with your finances.

15. Start a piggy bank

If you are still using cash to purchase items, keep a loose change piggy bank. Alternatively, consider using an online app such as Raiz. Whilst it is an investment application; it can also be used as a virtual money box.

16. Keep track of your finances with a banking app

More and more banks are introducing budgeting tools to help you keep track of your finances. CBA has great goal saver tips and financial trackers in their mobile applications.

17. Cut down or eliminate smoking or drinking

Whilst it may be harder to do than it sounds, a consumable habit such as smoking or drinking can be a constant strain on your finances. Save more money by cutting them down or eliminating them from your lifestyle.

18. Start talking

Budgeting is a battle. Keep talking about trying to save and you will enforce the mindset of saving. Chat to friends so that they are aware of your goals.

19. Get rid of your landline telephone

With an increase in mobile users, many households are removing their landlines completely. If you find that you are not using it, you could save money by discontinuing your service

20. Have fun for Free

Having fun does not need to be expensive. Have a picnic in the park. Go to the beach. Visit the library or spend some time camping. The possibilities are endless. Get out and enjoy life without having to empty the bank account.

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