There are endless money saving tips floating around in internet-land, but if you want to drastically cut expenses, well… you need to do some drastic things!
It’s definitely possible to reduce your expenses in a big way so that you can save a ton of money and live on less.
Are you ready to dive in to some ideas on cutting expenses to the bone? Good!
How to Drastically Cut Expenses
Housing is probably your largest monthly expense, so it’s the perfect place to try to cut your costs in a big way. You can do this by making money to help cover your housing costs, or by lowering them significantly.
Get a Housemate
Share housing costs with someone else by getting a housemate. This works best if you’re extra-choosy about who your housemate is. Make sure it’s someone you get along with well and whose habits don’t bother you (like someone super loud or messy).
My sister-in-law lived with us for almost five years and helped cover housing costs, which ended up being a great solution for everyone. She couldn’t find a place to rent any cheaper than with us and she felt safe living with family. We got to spend more time with her and got help paying for household costs.
You can also rent out rooms in your house. You could do this through Airbnb for short-term rentals or make it a longer term, monthly thing.
The option you choose would depend a lot on your location. If you live in a bigger city, there may be business people who want to rent monthly but are only there during the week to be closer to work. If you live a place where people like to vacation, short-term rentals might work out great!
Move in with Family
To drastically cut expenses, you can see about moving in with family. I know of a lot of people who have done this while they were paying off debt. You may be able to work out a deal with your family to pay some rent (but far less than your own place currently costs) or at least help cover utilities.
Most people wouldn’t find this to be an ideal situation, but remember, if you’re looking for ways to drastically cut expenses, coming close to eliminating housing expenses will go a long way!
Tiny House/Van/RV Life
Ok, so you want to live cheap, but don’t want to share your space. I get it. I definitely prefer to have my own, private space.
Another option is to live in a tiny house, van, or RV. This can be a super affordable way to live, depending on how you handle it. If you can pay cash for the vehicle you’ll live in, all you have to figure out is where you can affordably park it!
This is becoming much more popular and there are documentaries, books, blog posts, and all kinds of other resources out there that will help you figure out all of the details.
Owning a car is expensive! Beyond the price of the car, you also have to pay for basic maintenance, repairs, and insurance. Let’s figure out some other options to help you drastically cut expenses in this category.
Keep in mind, these options are not always going to be the most convenient. That’s not the point. If you can make it work, it’ll save you a lot of money, which is what we’re trying to do here.
If you live in a decent sized city, you most likely have access to public transportation. Use it! If you live in a big city, it’s probably not convenient to use a car anyway. Get rid of it!
If you occasionally need to rent a car or take an Uber, it’ll still cost you less than your current car ownership costs.
Bike or Walk
If you live fairly close to most of the places you need to go, walk or bike there. You can get a trailer for your bike to help you haul groceries or you can walk with a wagon. There are ways to make this work!
I know that the previous two solutions are not viable options for a lot of people, but downsizing to just one car could be workable. Like I said before, it might not always be convenient, so keep an open mind.
If you can figure out work schedules with your spouse or one of you can bike on nice days, making do with one car can save a bundle.
Austin and I have only ever had one car. There were times where this meant he was walking to work through the snow because I needed the car. There were times when I woke up at 5am to pick him up from work and days that I walked home from work.
Walking, biking, and public transportation can be great fill-in solutions that allow your family to be able to deal with only having one car.
Next up, let’s consider your regular bills. Group them into three categories:
- Eliminate. Are there things you’re paying for that you can get rid of completely? Gym memberships, cable tv, a child’s cell phone, etc.
- Negotiate. Call on your other bills to see if you can negotiate a lower price. You may be able to change cell phone plans or internet plans to a lower cost option.
- Get Quotes. If you can’t negotiate to a lower priced plan, call around the get quotes from other companies. Do this regularly for things like car, home, and rental insurance.
Bills are generally considered to be fixed expenses, but you can find ways to lower them or eliminate them altogether.
Subscriptions are the way of the world these days. Beyond magazine subscriptions (which you definitely don’t need), there are monthly subscription boxes, streaming tv, movie, and music subscriptions, memberships with Amazon, Sam’s Club, and the zoo.
If you want to drastically cut expenses, every one of these should be on the potential chopping block.
I especially want to highlight Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services. Most people ditched cable a long time ago to save money and switched to one or more of these services. You can reduce expenses even more if you want to by getting rid of these as well.
I’m not saying you have to get rid of all subscriptions and membership. We certainly are not at my house. I just want you to question the expenses that might seem unquestionable. When you question everything, you’ll find more ways to save on household expenses.
Get on a Budget
OK, this should not be considered a drastic measure, but so many people don’t do it!
If you want to drastically cut expenses, you need to get on a budget! You need to know exactly how much money you’re making and where all of that money is going — every dollar of it.
How else are you going to reduce your everyday expenses as much as possible? I highly recommend that you create a monthly budget and track your spending. You can get started with my free spending tracker printable!
Pay Off Debt
One of the best ways to drastically cut your monthly expenses is to pay off debt.
You’ve got a monthly payment for each one of your debts. If you pay them off, the amount of money you need to live each month can go down a whole lot!
While we were paying off our debt, I kept thinking about the amount of money we were paying in payments each month. Once we paid off our debt, that was all money we got to keep!
Of course I had to work decluttering into the conversation! I’m sure if you’re trying to reduce expenses, you’re already being careful about the new stuff you buy. But what about the stuff you already own?
Decluttering can reduce your expenses for two reasons:
- You might be paying for repairs and maintenance on the things you own.
- You might be re-buying things you already own because you can’t find them!
If you declutter your home, not only can you make some money off of the things you decide to get rid of, but you’ll be able to better use what you keep, which can save you money.
Most of these ideas on how to drastically cut expenses are not super common, but that’s ok! People doing weird things to save money often end up in a great position financially.
If your priority is to pay off debt, save for retirement, live on one income, or have more money for the activities you really care about, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your household expenses.