Keep More of Your Money by Spending Less

Some Ways to Do It

Reducing Expenses: An Easy Way to Improve Your Personal Finances

Of course one way to improve personal finances is to make more money.  Too bad more people don't understand that reducing expenses is an easy way to improve your personal finances.  Small changes in your spending to lead to big increases in your bank account.  Check out these ways to reduce expenses:

* Stop eating out.  Let's say you pay $40 to eat out one evening.  On average, meals cooked at home can cost anywhere from $5 to $10 depending on what you serve and how many people are eating the meal. Even with those variables, with that same $40 you used to pay for eating out you can use to cook four to nine meals at home.

    * Make a list of groceries you need to buy and stick with it when you go to the store. Make sure you eat before you go to the store to avoid any impulse purchases on your part.  My husband cannot go to the supermarket and buy only what's on the list.  He has to pick up other things that he wants; he can't resist.  So if we're trying to reduce expenses then I can't send him to the store.  That's ok; he's good at other things.

    * Review your cell phone plan.  Do you use all of those minutes?  Do you need a data plan or unlimited texts?  If you have a plan that doesn't fit your usage, consider changing plans.  Or even better, consider switching to a pay-as-you-go plan for yourself or your kids.

    * Cut channels you don't watch from your cable plan.  If you don't watch something then you don't need to pay for it.  Even better, consider dropping cable altogether and watch your shows on computer through Netflix and/or Hulu Plus subscriptions.

    * If you have two cars in your family, consider dropping down to just one car.  You will cut your car maintenance, insurance and gas costs in half.  If you're really ambitious about reducing expenses, get rid of your cars all together and use public transportation or walk from one place to another.  You'll burn some extra calories and save a pile of money along the way.

    * Use only your network ATMs to withdraw cash.  All of those out-of-network surcharges can really add up especially if both the ATM and your bank is charging you every time you use an out-of-network machine. Another way to bypass ATM charges is to get cash back when you're using your debit card at the grocery store.

    * Change pharmacies to reduce costs on medications.  Some insurance plans offer a mail-order pharmacy plan which can reduce prescription costs anywhere from a third to half of what you would pay for meds at your local pharmacy.  If this isn't an option for you, consider using drugstore offers of a gift card when you transfer a new prescription to them.  Just make sure you remember which drugstore has your prescription when you need it.

      All of these suggestions are not huge changes requiring a lot of effort.  Just changing a few spending habits can make a difference in your personal finances and you'll end up keeping more of the money you earn every month.