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5 Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Spending Without Decreasing Your Quality of Life

When you're looking at lifestyle advice, chances are most articles revolve around finances. The tough economy and job market combined with inflation have made topics such as budgeting and saving money extremely important. While many of these discussions focus on cutting down on discretionary spending and limiting your nonessential purchases, there are other ways to save money that don't involve a drastic lifestyle change. Here are some practical ways to keep a little money in your bank account without cutting out all your "fun" expenses.

1. Make Saving Automatic

Many people find that saving money is easier when it happens automatically. If you want to pad your savings account a little more every month, there are several options. If you primarily pay for items with cash, create a change jar and place all the leftover change from your wallet there at the end of the day. If you pay with credit or debit cards, you can set up a program that will transfer the leftover change from your purchases for you. There are several apps that automatically save or invest your change once you link your financial accounts.
Another way to automate your savings is to create a recurring transfer between your checking and savings account. If you would prefer that money destined for your savings account never spends any time in your checking account, see if you can change your direct deposit options with your employer. It's usually possible to route a portion of your paycheck straight to your savings account.


2. Do the Math

Cutting out "frivolous" expenses such as lattes and cable TV works well for many people. If you aren't quite ready to get rid of your entertainment budget yet, take some time to calculate where you are spending your money to see if you are getting the most value. For example, if you buy a couple new music albums every month, you may find that subscribing to an unlimited music service is a better value. On the other hand, if you are paying for video streaming that you never use, it may be best to drop that service.



3. Take Advantage of Tax Saving Options

There are several ways you may be able to save on your taxes by taking advantage of pre-tax savings programs and legal write-offs. For example, setting up a health savings account (HSA) allows you to put aside pre-tax money for medical treatment. This can help you when it comes time to file taxes, and it also creates additional savings for medical expenses. Of course, it's always important to check with a tax professional when filing your taxes to make sure you are operating within the law.


4. Use Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs aren't just for hotels and airlines anymore. You can find customer loyalty programs at your local supermarket and coffee shop, as well as several restaurants and retail stores. Most programs are free to join so there's no downside even if you don't use them that often. If you're worried about getting constant advertising emails, set up a new email address to use when filling out promotional materials.


5. Research New Providers

Many people think their monthly utility bills are set in stone, but this is another part of the monthly budget where you can find some savings with a little bit of research. Take some time to look at the current promotions offered by your cell phone and internet providers, then call customer service and try to negotiate a better deal. You may not be successful, but most providers are willing to lower your rates if the alternative is losing you to a competitor.
Insurance is another area where a little research may save you some money. Use insurance comparison sites such as carinsurancecheap.net to compare your current rates with those offered by other providers. You may decide to change to another provider or try to negotiate a better rate with your current insurer.
If you want to save more money every month, there are several things you can do that don't require you to give up all your discretionary spending. Setting up automatic savings deposits, researching tax-advantage options, and joining loyalty programs are all good possibilities. You can also try negotiating a better deal with your internet providers, or use an insurance comparison tool to make sure you are getting the best rates.
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