The new year is the perfect time for goal setting and dreaming big. For us, one thing that goes hand-in-hand with those two things is updating our monthly budget. My husband and I decided a while ago that talking openly and honestly about our finances is a must for our family. Sometimes this involves talking about how we can cut expenses or find creative ways to bring in more income.
I think it’s safe to say, we’d all love to have a little extra spending money in our pockets. And for some of us, we need more money each month just to make ends meet. No matter which category you fall into, there are some truly genius tips and tricks out there to cut back on your monthly expenses and increase your income.
Here are our top creative ways to cut expenses and increase your monthly income:
Ideas to cut expenses
Bundle or eliminate monthly bills:
- Cancel cable and opt for a few, cheaper streaming services. Hulu offers a lot of network programs the day after they air on cable. Disney+ will keep the kids happy for less than $6 a month. This combined with Hulu comes out to $12 a month as opposed to the average American cable bill which is $107 per month.
- Bundle your cable, internet, and phone bill. If you’re not ready to cancel your cable, consider combining it with your phone and internet into a single “Triple Play”. This type of offering can drop your combined costs to as low as $79.99. Another pro tip – if you purchase your own router and wireless modem you will eliminate some of the additional monthly fees you see on your cable bill.
- Cancel your gym membership. If you aren’t using it, let it go. If you do use it, but only occasionally, think of creative ways to get in a workout without shelling out a monthly fee – like jogging, hiking, or cycling.
- Bundle your home and car insurance. Many insurance companies offer significant discounts for bundling your car and homeowners insurance. Shop around for the best offer you can find with maximum coverage for your protection.
- I know you’ve heard of couponing, but have you actually tried it? On average, shoppers using coupons can save $30-$50 a week. Additionally, make sure that you are signed up for the rewards and discount cards at whatever store you grocery shop at.
- Buy in bulk – Costco, BJs, Sam’s Club – they all offer bulk groceries at great prices. If your shopping for a small family, ask a friend to split the cost and the products.
- Shop at discount stores like Aldi. Just because you are looking to cut your expenses, doesn’t mean the quality of your groceries has to suffer. Aldi offers organic and local produce at an incredibly discounted rate. They sell the Simply Nature brand which is both high quality and organic.
- Buy store brand groceries. Often times, the quality and taste are virtually the same as their name brand counterparts.
Spend Less on Food and Drinks
- Don’t stop for coffee. Make it at home. Depending on if you get your morning brew at the gas station, Dunkin, or Starbucks, you could be saving yourself anywhere from $1 to $5 a day.
- Pack your lunch. This option will always be cheaper than eating out or ordering in. Just consider how different the cost would be to prepare and pack a salad from home vs. buying a pricey salad from a local lunch spot.
- Limit dinners out. Review your budget and decide exactly how much you can spend each month on eating out or ordering in. You’ll find this helpful in budgeting for your dining out expenses.
Ditch your car (when you can)
Whenever you are able to opt to cycle, carpool, or walk instead of driving your car. The benefits here are huge. First, you’ll save on gas. You lower your likelihood of being involved in a costly automobile accident. You’ll lower the amount of pricey maintenance and wear and tear on your vehicle. And, remember that gym membership you cancelled? Well, use this as an opportunity to keep fit.
Ideas to bring in extra money
Teach Classes Online
With the growth of the internet, there are so many opportunities to teach online. If you happen to have a teaching license (from any US state) you can teach content at an online school like K12 or ESL at VIPKid.
Check out Teachable or Udemy for vocational courses. I’ve recently seen course offerings on needle point, cake decorating, and scrap booking. With limited technological know-how, you can offer your own course based on your hobby in no time.
If you have a marketable skill, like, writing, graphic design, or web development, you can offer it as a freelancer. If you work full-time or part-time, consider picking up some clients on nights and weekends. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can always try doing some work early mornings, during nap time, or after the kiddos are in bed. Check out sites like Fiverr, UpWork, and The Mom Project.
Sell Gently Used Items Online
There is a huge market for selling gently used items. My first stop is always Facebook Marketplace, but there are tons of apps for it, too. Check out Mercari and LetGo – they both come highly recommended. And, don’t rule out old standbys like Craigslist and Ebay.
Sell a physical product
For us, it’s our PreparaKit first aid kits. As a nurse, encouraging safety in families is something that is tremendously important to me.
However, you don’t need to start out with something this involved. With sites like Etsy, you can sell almost anything you make – jewelry, apparel, home decor, the possibilities are endless.