When money is tight, finding ways to lower your living expenses can take a lot of pressure off you. Whether you’re facing a temporary financial setback or trying to build a more sustainable budget, cutting your costs can make a big difference. Here’s a guide to practical ways to reduce your living expenses without sacrificing too much comfort or fun.

1. Reevaluate your housing costs

Downsize or refinance: If you’re like most people, housing is your biggest monthly expense. If you can, think about downsizing to a smaller home or apartment to reduce your rent or mortgage payments. Alternatively, if you own your home, look into refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates to reduce your monthly payments.

Get a roommate: Sharing your living space can significantly cut your housing costs. A roommate can pay half of the rent and utilities, making it easier to manage your monthly expenses.

Negotiate rent: If you’re renting, talk to your landlord about reducing your rent. Landlords may be willing to negotiate, especially if you’re a long-term tenant with a good payment history.

2. Cut utility bills

Adjust your thermostat: Lowering your thermostat setting by just a few degrees in the winter and raising it a few in the summer can lead to big savings on your heating and cooling bills.

Go energy efficient: if you can, invest in energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances when it’s time to replace them. Simple things like turning off lights when you leave a room and unplugging electronics when you’re not using them can also help lower your electricity bill.

Water usage: Reduce water waste by fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and using water-saving showerheads. These small changes can add up to significant savings over time.

3. Slash food costs

Meal planning: Planning your meals for the week can help you avoid impulse purchases and eating out. Make a shopping list based on your meal plan and stick to it.

Buy in bulk: Purchasing non-perishable items in bulk can save money long term. Stores like Costco or Sam’s Club offer bulk items at a lower per-unit cost.

Cook at home: Eating out and ordering takeout can add up quickly. Cooking at home is generally much cheaper and healthier. Experiment with simple, budget-friendly recipes to keep things interesting.

4. Reduce transportation expenses

Public transportation: If you can, switch to public transportation instead of driving. This can save you money on gas, parking, and maintenance costs.

Carpool or rideshare: Carpool with coworkers or friends to reduce your transportation costs. Apps like Uber and Lyft also offer carpool options.

Maintain your car: Regular maintenance can prevent costly repairs down the line. Keeping your tires properly inflated and getting regular oil changes can improve your car’s fuel efficiency and longevity.

5. Curb communication costs

Cut the cable: Consider canceling your cable subscription and going for more affordable streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+. A lot of networks also have free or low-cost streaming options.

Review your phone plan: Look at your cell phone usage and see if you can switch to a cheaper plan. Many providers offer discounts for auto-pay or for bundling other services.

6. Decrease debt payments

Refinance loans: Look into refinancing high-interest loans to lower your monthly payments. Consolidating multiple debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate can also simplify your finances.

Negotiate with creditors: Contact your creditors to discuss lowering your interest rates or restructuring your payments. Many of them will be willing to work with you to keep your account in good standing.

7. Be a smart shopper

Use coupons and cashback: Take advantage of coupons, cashback apps, and store loyalty programs. These can provide discounts on groceries, clothing, and other everyday items.

Buy secondhand: Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces like eBay or Facebook Marketplace offer great deals on gently used items, from clothing to furniture.

Wait for sales: Plan your purchases around sales events and clearances. Buying off-season items can also save you a lot.

8. Cut unnecessary subscriptions

Review your subscriptions: Take a look at all your subscription services, from streaming platforms to magazines, and cancel the ones you don’t use very much. Even those small monthly fees can add up.

Use free alternatives: Look for free alternatives to paid services. A lot of software tools, entertainment options, and educational resources are available for free online.

9. Lower your home maintenance and utility costs

DIY home repairs: Learn to do minor home repairs and maintenance yourself. A lot of them are very easy, and there are plenty of online tutorials that can guide you through simple tasks. It can be satisfying, and will save you money instead of hiring a professional to do it.

Insulate your home: Proper insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs. Check for drafts and seal gaps around windows and doors to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

10. Entertainment on a budget

Free activities: Explore free or low-cost activities like hiking, visiting public parks, or attending community events. A lot of cities have free concerts, festivals, and free days at museums.

Library resources: Your local library is a massive source of free entertainment. You can borrow books, movies, music, and even ebooks without spending a dime.

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1Not all members will qualify for advances. Depending on eligibility, advances range from $50 – $250. Subject to Brigit’s approval and policies. Express Delivery is optional and a fee may apply. Most users receive their Express Delivery within 20 minutes. Brigit monthly subscription required. Instant Cash is not available in all states.