It’s often when we stop spending money on the little things that we start really saving big! Check out these simple expenses that you can cut to start really saving money and meet your financial goals!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Varo. The opinions and text are all mine.
I’ve always loved this advice from Benjamin Franklin: “Beware of the little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” So good, right?!
When we want to stop spending money, we often look for big ways to save and forget that many times, it’s cutting the little expenses here and there that actually end up making a big difference!
I know for us, cutting little expenses was definitely one of the big things that helped us pay off our mortgage in 5 years.
It’s also been instrumental in allowing us to live debt free while my husband pursued his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and now his Ph.D.
We all know that it would just be stupid to blow $40,000 that we don’t have on an expensive vacation. And it doesn’t take a financial adviser to understand that dropping $150 to eat out every single night of the week probably isn’t the wisest way to get ahead.
But sometimes it’s hard to step back and evaluate what some of the smaller expenses are that we could cut.
So whether you’re looking for ways to stop spending money because you want to get out of debt or you’re trying to figure out how to cut expenses so you can meet a savings goal, these ideas of how to cut mostly “small” expenses should help!
Simple Ways to Stop Spending Money and Save Big
1. Bottled Water
Guess what? Studies have proven that bottled water is no different than tap water. So not only are you wasting your money buying it, all those plastic bottles are bad for the environment too!
Instead, get a refillable water bottle and fill it up with your own filtered water. We love this under the sink water filter but you can also use a Brita Water Pitcher.
And if you want a water filter that will last for years and that you can also move with you wherever you live, check these Berkey filters.
2. Appetizers, Drinks and Desserts
Obviously, cooking at home is the best way to save money. But who doesn’t enjoy occasionally eating out?
When you do hit a restaurant, keep it budget-friendly by skipping the appetizer, drinks and desserts.
The occasional times we do eat out we find that ordering just an entree is plenty enough to fill us up anyway. And by skipping those costlier things, we’re eating healthier too!
3. Coffee to Go
I love the convenience of buying coffee drinks as much as the next person. But that convenience quickly gets expensive!
Buying a regular coffee just three times a week easily sets you back over $300 a year. And if you are like me and prefer lattes and frappes, you’re going to be spending more like $780!
Instead, take a few minutes and brew your own coffee at home. Even if you end up spending a bit more to get really good quality coffee or a coffee machine to make lattes, in the long run, you’re still saving big time!
If you use K-cups, check out these money-saving reusable K-cup filters.
RELATED: Learn how to make your own easy Homemade Caramel Frappe, Homemade Mocha Frappuccino and Vanilla Iced Latte.
4. Bank Fees
I recently read a study that discovered Americans spend an average of $329 a year on bank fees! I had no idea it would be that high!
But when I thought about it, it made sense because so many banks really do like to charge a ton of fees.
There are fees for using an ATM. Fees for dropping below the required minimum balance. Transfer fees. Foreign transaction fees. And sometimes even a monthly fee just to have the account. Really, it’s crazy!
Switching to a fee-free bank like Varo is just a smart, easy way to save. Unlike big banks that charge you for almost every single transaction, Varo is totally fee-free.
They offer free withdrawals at 55,000+ Allpoint® ATMs, have no minimum required balance, no transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees and no monthly account fees. And if you lose your debit card? No big deal. They’ll even replace it for free!
By banking at Varo and avoiding all those fees, you’ll be ahead of the game!
5. Christmas Gifts
Don’t worry. I’m not advocating that you totally stop giving Christmas gifts. That would just be sad!
But what about cutting back on the number of gifts you give?
Think about it. Do your kids really need four gifts each? How many of the gifts that your family received in the last couple of years actually got used and played with? If you are like many families, the answer is probably only a few.
Focus instead on giving one or two meaningful gifts that the recipient will actually value and use.
And even better? Work at shifting the emphasis from gift giving to making memories with fun family activities instead.
RELATED: Best Cheap Gifts for Everyone (kids, men, women, teachers, cooks and more!)
6. Second Car
Several years ago, I was sure that I couldn’t live as a one-car family. But when our second car died, my husband convinced me to try it for a bit because of all the money it would save.
And while it can be inconvenient at times, it’s really not been as terrible as I thought it would be. Plus, we’ve saved thousands!
Not only do we have the money the vehicle would have cost, but we’re also not paying the insurance cost, inspection costs, repairs, etc.
7. Cable TV
Did you know that the average cable bill is $100 a month? That’s a lot of money. Think of what you could do with an extra $1,200 a year!
We don’t have TV, so you might think I’m not the best person to share tips on how to cut costs here.
But, I have several friends that have ditched cable altogether and instead save money by using Roku or an antenna. And they have said it’s totally worth it!
Another option is to get Amazon Prime for $99/year (that link will give you a free month trial!).
Amazon Prime comes with free Prime Video, plus for only a little more each month (I think it’s around $15), you can add subscription services like HBO, Showtime, STARZ and more to your membership.
The great thing about both Amazon Prime and the subscription services is that you can cancel them at any time!
8. Subscriptions and Memberships
Monthly memberships and subscriptions are one of those sneaky things that can eat away at your budget almost without you even realizing it!
You get so used to paying them that it just becomes the norm, even if you aren’t actually using the product or service anymore.
Are there magazines that you aren’t reading? Gym membership not being used? Subscription boxes you really don’t need? Movie streaming services that you could nix?
With all the budget cellphone plans available anymore, there’s simply no good reason to not use one of them. We switched to Ting six years ago and have saved thousands as a result!
Even if you use your cellphone a lot, there’s no reason to spend $50 a month. Do a bit of research and find an inexpensive cell phone plan that will work for you.
10. Household Repairs
If something breaks, don’t underestimate your ability to fix it!
We’ve discovered that with the help of YouTube, a little determination and a bit of elbow grease, we’ve been able to repair far more than we ever thought we could. And of course, it’s saved us a lot of money in the process.
A few of the things that we repaired/replaced ourselves with the help of YouTube:
- our dryer that stopped heating
- our water heater that totally needed replacing
- our washer that stopped agitating
- a vehicle that had a water leak at the sunroof
- two broken cell phone screens (used this handy kit!).
Looking for another easy way to save?
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Other money saving posts you’ll enjoy:
Great post and I’d like to recommend the use of prepaid phones. I’ve had my plan with Tracfone for a couple of decades. I’ve found that even buying $29 month minutes, data usage and text meggages isore than enough for 2 months or more. I purchased my latest phone in November 2019 for about $65 from QVC and it came with 1 year of service, 1500 minutes, data and text messages and you had 1 year to activate it. I only add minutes, data, and text when I need it, monthly bill to pay. The phone itself is high-end. My daughter and niece say it’s better than their phone. Check your monthly usage and go from there on how many minutes you need per month.
Great tip, Ruby! Thanks for sharing. Definitely a great option to look into for saving on cell phone costs.
This is a great post. So many of the ideas out there for “saving money” are really time-consuming or require that we buy certain things from certain retailers in order to get money back. I feel like this is a “good old-fashioned” money-saving checklist: just stop buying useless things you don’t need and that create no value. I love it.
Thanks, Sophie! That was my hope. Glad you found it useful!
Thank you. These are very helpful ideas
You are welcome, Rene! So glad you found them helpful. 🙂