You can save $200 a month by using these tools
5 Ways to Save $200 a Month
by Ted Hunt
10 Ways to Prevent Non-Essential Spending
How to Tighten Your Belt in Tough Times
14 Ways We Save Money
Most American families face a financial crunch at some point, and in the current state of the economy, it's happening more than ever. Former two-income families are trying to make it on one paycheck after a parent is laid off from work. Many employees have taken part-time jobs instead of full-time work or accepted fewer hours per week just to keep a job. Don't despair. Here's how to cut $200 per month out of your spending without even saying "ouch."
Unplug Unused Electronics: $7 Per Month
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American home spends $1,900 per year on energy bills. An estimated $80 to $190 of this goes into electronic devices and appliances that aren't even being used. Unplug your cell phone charger when you take it off in the morning and unplug unused gaming and video consoles. Don't leave laptops plugged in unless they need a charge, and pull the plug on the toaster oven, coffee maker, lamps, and stereos when not in use.
Get a New Homeowners Insurance Quote: $17 Per Month
Take a look at how much you're paying for homeowner's insurance. Are you taking advantage of discounts you're eligible for, such as home security discounts? Could you save money by raising your deductible? Check homeowners insurance rates by state to see if you can get a better rate. Some homeowners can save up to $200 per year, which means about $17 per month back in your pocket for something more enjoyable than insurance premiums.
Get a New Car Insurance Quote: $17 Per Month
By comparing insurance agencies, raising your deductible, and taking advantage of savings like multi-vehicle discounts, your family could save as much as $200 per year or more. This translates into a monthly savings of about $17. Also ask about good student discounts, safe driver discounts, and discounts for combining your homeowners and auto policies. Experts recommend revisiting your insurance policies once each year to assure you're getting the best deal and have adequate coverage as your life changes.
Cut Entertainment Expenses: $55 Per Month
American families spend an average of $225 each month on entertainment. You don't have to cut out all the fun to see significant savings in the entertainment budget. By saying goodbye to your Netflix account, cutting out a visit to the local theater and passing on the latest video game releases, your family can see tremendous savings.
Cut Back on Eating Out: $104 Per Month
The average family of four spends $2,620 per year eating out. Reducing this by half saves over $100 every month. Also, meals at home may lead to better family interactions. At restaurants, it's easy to spend time watching other people, texting, and chatting with the waiter. Eating at home reduces distractions and allows your family to spend intimate time together while saving a big chunk of the family budget.
With these five easy budget cuts, your family will have an extra $200 to pay bills, save up for summer vacation, or put towards some super cool holiday gifts for next year. Saving money doesn't have to be painful. It just takes some creative problem solving and a little willpower to stick to the plan.
Take the Next Step
- Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you'll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources.
- For more information on budgets, visit The Dollar Stretcher Library
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- Is your family normal? See how other households spend their money
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- What's on sale in November
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Kids' activities for Thanksgiving gatherings
- 5 ways to reduce the cost of kids' clothing
- What's the best way to bring a puppy into your family?
- 13 things to teach your children that will make their financial lives easier
- How a single mom can create multiple income streams
- Instead of toys for Christmas
- What is the cost of raising a child?
- Spouse income calculator
- Should my spouse work, too?
- College savings calculator
- Home budget calculator