Financial Literacy

3 Strategies for Slashing Monthly Expenses

Wanting to save money on your monthly expenses is nothing to be ashamed of.

In fact, the state of the economy will allow people to respect your frugal nature.

Think of it this way – the more money you save on necessities, the more money you’ll have to spend on what really counts for you.

Sure, you’ve considered coupons, riding your bike to work, or giving up indulgences you may be spending money on today, but with a somewhat unconventional approach, you could be saving a lot more.

Consider these three money-saving ideas for a few more greenbacks in your pocket at the end of the month:

Grow Your Own

Groceries are expensive, but you’ve gotta eat. And even though clipping coupons saves a little money on your total bill, things like vegetables and fruit rarely have coupons.

Is there a way you can grow some of these items yourself? If so, you stand to save thousands of dollars a year on groceries, even without coupons.

Go ahead, start a vegetable and herb garden in your backyard. If you don’t have space outside, you can grow them just as easily in pots on your patio. There are many varieties of miniature fruit trees that do well in such an environment, providing you with pounds of fresh produce in a space that doesn’t cramp anyone’s style too much.

Even if you choose one vegetable to grow at home, like tomatoes or onions, that’s one less item on your weekly grocery bill. Save $3 a week on just one vegetable, and you’ll be saving $156 per year.

Growing a variety of things at home could save you $10 or more per week, or $520 per year, on fresh produce.

Take it one step further. Learn how to preserve your own fruits and vegetables.

A food dehydrator is an investment that saves you money since you can make trail mixes or other delicious snacks from dried fruit and nuts. You could even give your creations away as gifts during the holidays. Homemade preserves, for example, are gifts that never go out of style, and the savings are something you can share with the recipient.

Tip: Do you frequently purchase flowers from a local vendor? Consider growing your own flowers at home and create your own bouquets for free. Better yet, plant them in your front yard for a little extra decoration that will draw admiration from neighbors and passers-by.

Make Your Own

Most modern households spend a considerable amount of their grocery budget on bread and drinks. Families with hungry children will spend lots of money on sandwich ingredients, and sodas frequently go with them.

These are just two of many items you can make yourself, saving you well over $10 per week. These days, making your own bread isn’t difficult. You can even purchase a bread maker to take much of the work out of the process if kneading dough for hours isn’t your idea of fun.

Whether you make bread by hand or machine, there are a variety of bread to keep your family from getting bored with any one type. Think of the money you can save, and clip a few coupons when buying ingredients for even more savings. Another added bonus is that homemade bread will be healthier and more nutritious for your family.

You can also purchase a soda machine to make soda at home in less than 60 seconds. Soda machines are usually about the size of an automatic can opener, and the initial cost is around $80, which includes a carbonation can, soda flavoring, and carrying bottles. If you’re already spending $5 a week on soda at your house, you’ll be saving around $260 a year by making your own.

Take Advantage of Freebies

Companies give out samples at supermarkets, groceries, and online to improve customer loyalty and help introduce new products.

Smart shoppers use this to their advantage, signing up for free offers from well-known brands that offer free samples of everything from laundry detergent and cleaning products to toothpaste, soda, and other edible foods.

Retailers often give away freebies of these types of products:

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Air fresheners
  • Coffee/tea samples
  • Laundry detergent
  • Magazines
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toothpaste
  • Snacks
  • Pens, pencils, markers, highlighters
  • Feminine products
  • Recipe books
  • Photo printing
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Dog foods/treats

Capitalize on these savings by signing up for free offers and receiving items you would normally buy. The free sample won’t be a full-size product but will provide convenient savings for a few uses.

A sample size of shampoo, for instance, would easily last almost a week for most people. A free sample of coffee makes at least two servings, which means you save $6 if you normally purchase coffee at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on the way to work.

Put a few of these samples together, and you might even create a special meal for a small family without spending a dime. It might feed your dog for a day, or wash laundry for a week – every little bit helps when it comes to minimizing your monthly expenses.

Searching for free offers for just 10 minutes a day could be enough to order free samples a few times each week that drastically minimize your expenses.

What’s more, you’re bound to receive a few valuable coupons with your freebie, saving you money on a full-sized product that might even combine with a store sale.

There are lots of unconventional ways to save money on your monthly expenses if you’re willing to discover them on your own. Experiment with a few cost-saving efforts.

Once you discover the amount of money you can save each month with simple ideas like this, slashing your expenses will become a habit that will bring a smile to your face at the end of the month.

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Let me know what you think in the comments below. And, feel free to share this with your teammates.

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