It can be frustrating living paycheck to paycheck and not getting ahead.
Even when you take a look at your spending you can see you’re not living large — just the normal day-to-day living expenses we all pay.
While some living expenses depend on where you live — New York City is far more expensive than Iowa City, Iowa — there are ways to reduce your living costs without losing out on lifestyle.
Here are 10 ways to cut from your cost of living expenses and give a boost to your finances.
1. Consider downsizing your home. Particularly if the house is too large for your family, why not put it up for sale and move into a smaller place. You’ll also save money on utilities with a smaller house.
2. Move to a less-expensive area. If a job or family isn’t keeping you in a certain locale, consider moving to cut expenses. In general, many sections of the Midwest and South are cheaper to live in than this country’s Northeast and West Coast.
3. Try carpooling. You’ll save on gas, garage fees and wear and tear on your car as you share driving responsibilities. The car pool doesn’t have to be made up of co-workers either. Many cities have carpool and share-a-ride programs to join.
4. Comparison shop for food. Treat food shopping like you would any other shopping trip and hunt for bargains and the cheapest prices. Use coupons and buy in bulk if you have the room to store the food.
5. Downsize your phone service. Unless you have a need for it, drop the land line and go completely cellular. Another option is to bundle the land line service with another service like cable TV and Internet. A deal like that in Pennsylvania dropped a land line monthly bill from about $40 to around $10 each month and gained a bonus of nationwide long distance!
6. Make eating out a treat. Sure it’s fun to go out to eat dinner, but restaurant bills can be a real drain on the monthly finances. Even cutting down one visit to a restaurant a week will help save money — if a dinner for two runs about $80, by month’s end there’s a potential $320 saved.
7. Pay in cash. Leave the credit and debit cards at home and use cash instead. The quickest way to avoid buying something is not to have the ability to pay for it. Using cash also helps you stick to a budget because once the cash is gone, you’re done spending.
8. Buy in the off-season. Shop for expensive items when they’re cheaper — in the off-season. So, don’t buy an air conditioner during the hottest days of summer, if you can help it.
9. Refinance your house and consolidate debt. Take advantage of interest rates hovering at historic lows to pay off high interest debt.
10. Hang on to that car. If the car is paid off, runs and suits your needs, why saddle yourself with a new car and loan? Hold off buying a new car for a couple of years and save the money you would have spent on a car loan. The numbers show people are hanging on to their vehicles longer — the average age of American cars still on the road is almost 11 years.
Do you have any other ideas to reduce your cost of living? Please leave a comment or share them on our Facebook wall.