If you’re just looking to be more conscientious of your spending, a good place to start is by looking at your daily or recurring expenses.
As many of us may already know, those seemingly small expenditures can add up quickly. Sometimes, they may even take up more of our budget than any large one-time expenses.
So let's go over a few tips on how you could start chipping away at those recurring expenses. Any potential savings you may find could mean more dollars for your other financial goals.
This probably isn’t the groundbreaking tip you were expecting. But seriously, if you don’t already track your expenses, this can be the first step in reducing your spending.
There are multiple ways to track your expenses, and finding the strategy that works best for you will help ensure it becomes a habit, rather than a one-time excercise.
For example, you might consider using an expense-tracking app that’s connected to your credit card and bank accounts.
Some people may prefer to do it the old-fashioned way – by hand – going through all the charges on their monthly credit card or bank statements and sorting them into different categories to see exactly where their money went.
Whatever your preferred method may be, you might be surprised at what you find – those various subscription services can add up quickly.
Now that you’ve seen where your money goes each month, we can start looking at areas where you can cut back.
Subscriptions and memberships are a natural place to start. If you've set up automatic payments for those subscriptions, you might not even be aware of all the money you’re shelling out on services.
Examples of subscriptions include streaming services, audiobook services, publications (like digital journals/ newspapers), and so on.
While some of these may have become a part of your daily life, doing an audit of all your active subscriptions might be eye-opening. You may end up keeping them but you may also find that you don’t use some subscriptions as much as you thought you would. If that’s the case, cancelling could free up some extra cash.
Think your bills are too high for certain utilities or services? Consider calling up your service providers and see if they can lower your rates.
Generally speaking, you could usually negotiate your rates on things like cable, cell phone and auto insurance coverage.
Before you hop on the phone, start by checking out online comparison websites to size up the prices you’re currently paying in your area. That way you have some data to give your provider when negotiating.
You may not always be able to negotiate a better rate, but it's worth a shot – especially if you've been a loyal customer.
For those who aren’t as tied to their dining-out or takeout rituals, replacing some restaurant meals with cooking at home can really go a long way with helping to curtail spending.
Let's look at the numbers.
According to MoneyUnder30, the average commercially prepared meal costs $13/person (and probably much more than that if you add appetizers or drinks, or you live in a bigger city). Now multiply that number by the members of your family, add taxes and gratuity and that bill starts climbing even higher.
The cost of groceries for a meal prepared at home can cost on average $4 a person. While a $9 difference may not seem like a big deal, think about it this way: Given the numbers above, if you swap out 10 meals for 10 at home, you’ll pocket $90 a month. (Again, it might be even more, depending on your takeout costs.) This is one of those cases where the costs can really add up over time!
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this website were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.