15 Unique Ways To Cut Your Monthly Spending Bill

Stephanie Allen

Creating a budget is a big part of adulting. Maybe everybody doesn’t like working on their budgets, but ensuring you have enough money to cover your monthly expenses is important. 

Some expenditures, like housing, utilities, and transportation, are inescapable but aren’t impossible to reduce. Other expenses have more wiggle room. There are creative ways to reduce your monthly spending and keep more money in your pocket. 

1. Limit Credit Card Use

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Using credit cards to pay for big and small purchases is almost too easy. Rewards programs like cash back make them all the more appealing. However, using them regularly and only making the minimum payments will get you into debt faster than you realize.

To minimize credit card debt, only use them for urgent and emergency expenses. Your water heater which suddenly stopped working and needs repair is urgent. That newly released smartphone or gaming system, not so much. 

2. Use Cash and Debit Cards

Free Debit Cards with Money on Them

Continuing the theme of not using credit cards for every purchase, two credit card alternatives are using cash or a debit card. These methods are great ways to save money and stay within your budget.

With credit cards, you spend money you don’t even have. Cash or debit cards are limited to whatever you have on your personal or bank account. Using cash or debit cards also helps you keep track of your spending. 

3. Shop at Grocery Outlets

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When it comes to saving money on your food bill, shopping at a grocery outlet can result in significant savings. You may not be familiar with grocery outlets, but they’re worth a try if you’re willing to buy food and household goods in less-than-perfect packaging.  

These are items regular grocery stores won’t put on the shelves. The packaging, especially for food items, is perfectly safe, but the box may have a dented corner, or a label may be upside down on a can. They’re usually sold at a fraction of their regular retail cost and can easily reduce your grocery bill. 

4. Use Discount Search Apps

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Shopping online is more convenient than shopping in a store, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on coupons or other potential savings. Some apps automatically search for deals and coupon codes for your shopping sites. 

When purchasing, apps like Honey and Retail Me Not scan the internet for promotional and other discount codes to help save you money. It may only be a few dollars here and there, but those dollars add up. 

5. Shop at Off-Price Stores 

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Love high-quality clothing, shoes, and household goods, but balk at paying their full retail price? Off-price retailers offer the best of both worlds: brand-new quality products at deeply discounted prices. 

There are seller-specific stores like Banana Republic Factory and Nordstrom Rack, as well as big box stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Burlington, and Marshalls. These stores are quite popular, so you may have to contend with crowds, but the bargains are worth it. 

6. Freecycle

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Freecycle is a nonprofit group that allows members to give away gently used items they no longer use or to receive items they want or need for no charge. Membership in the Freecycle network is at no charge, and its contact-free pickup policies ensure members’ safety. 

For anyone concerned with protecting the environment, freecycling is incredibly sustainable. It keeps useful items from ending up in the trash and landfills, which is a win-win for everyone involved. 

7. Food Assistance Programs

Food assistance programs
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Depending on your monthly income and family size, you may be eligible for food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These benefits can be helpful if you’re having trouble buying food.

Suppose you’re ineligible for SNAP because your income is too high. In that case, many nonprofit organizations and churches have community food banks that provide groceries to individuals and families in need, including working households. 

8. Go Thrifting 

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It wasn’t too long ago that thrifting was seen as an activity only for the poorest people. Today, even the wealthiest individuals who can afford the best of everything go thrifting. It’s become a chic, trendy thing to do. 

You may not be interested in keeping up with the in-crowd, but there are many reasons to shop at thrift stores. You can find new and gently used clothes, shoes, and household items for pennies on the dollar. Vintage goods can also be found at thrift stores.

9. Cook or Learn How To

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Fast food is quick to get and easy to access since it can be found practically everywhere. It is also relatively cheap compared to meals at more upscale establishments. The same goes for casual dining spots.

An occasional meal out is fine, but dining out multiple times a week quickly adds to a lot of money at the end of the month. Cooking for yourself is much cheaper, and a single restaurant meal can pay for a few home-cooked meals. If you don’t know how to cook, watch a YouTube video and learn how. 

10. Shop With a Written or Digital List

Beautiful young parents and their cute little daughter are smiling while choosing school stationery in the supermarket. Mom is making notes in the list
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This may sound like a common sense task, but how often have you shopped at a store with a list in mind and wound up buying more than you planned? Yes, it happens quite a bit, more than we’d like to admit. 

Preparing a written or digital list before your grocery shopping trip helps narrow your purchases to what you need. Organizing your grocery lists by store aisle or by recipe ingredients makes a huge difference. 

11. Sell or Exchange

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Shoppers looking to buy gently used trendy or designer clothing should consider using an online or physical resale clothing store. Stores like Buffalo Exchange, The RealReal, and Plato’s Closet offer cash or store credit for clothes that are sold to them. 

Vendors like Poshmark sell gently used and new clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories for cash. It’s a great way to stay fashionable, save (and earn) money, and practice sustainability. 

12. Lower Your Insurance Premiums 

How to lower your interest rates

When buying auto, homeowner, and rental insurance, it’s intuitive to purchase policies with the lowest deductible to minimize out-of-pocket costs. This also means paying higher premiums which cost more over the long term.

An easy way to lower your premium is to increase your deductible. If your current deductible is $250, raising it to $500 or even $1,000 can make a noticeable difference in your monthly payments. Bundling your policies may also result in cheaper insurance costs. 

13. Pay Subscriptions Annually

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Some monthly subscription services, like DoorDash and Uber Eats food delivery and Hulu video streaming, offer customers discounts when they pay annually instead of monthly. 

Paying annually instead of monthly can result in 20% or more worth of savings, which is nothing to sneeze at. If paying annually is something you can comfortably afford, it’s worth considering.

14. Use Paper and Print Coupons 

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It’s an old-school practice, especially when so much shopping is done online, but if you're going to be shopping in the stores, don’t forget to take those paper and printed coupons with you. 

If you don’t have a manufacturer's coupon, check their websites for printable coupons. As a bonus, if you shop at a store that offers double coupons, take advantage of that. Don’t forget the coupons printed with your receipts, too!

15. Subscription Deals 

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If you like reading newspapers and magazines but don’t want to pay much money each month, there’s a simple way around that. Take advantage of new subscriber rates, and when the promotional period ends, contact their customer service department.

If you tell them you’ll cancel your subscription because it costs too much, they’ll frequently offer you the same promotional rate for an extended period of time or an even better rate. Even if they say no, it’s worth a try. 

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