Reviewing bills with calculator

When it comes to personal finance, everyone knows you should tackle your debts, avoid unnecessary expenses, and budget wisely. But certain expenses just can't be avoided. Things like rent, utility bills, and essential weekly costs like food are bound to cost you money. However, with some smart planning, you'll be surprised at how much you can save. Here are five personal finance life hacks to reduce your living costs.

1. Downgrade Your Home

For most people, their residence will be their most crushing cost. Whether you're buying a home or renting an apartment, you're going to have to spend a considerable sum monthly. One of the best ways to save money is to downgrade. If you're renting an expensive downtown studio apartment, look for something in a less trendy area. Maybe you can move in with a partner or friends. You could even look into renting a room at a shared condo or house to save on your rent and bills.

Even if you're in the process of buying a house, you can remortgage and move somewhere cheaper. Sometimes just changing your location can result in a more affordable place with just as much (or even more) space.

2. Cut Back On Utility Bills

No matter where you're living, you'll also have to plan for utility bills. Things like electric, water, and internet bills will add up over time, so find ways to cut back. First of all, it's worth looking online to see if you can get a better deal. These companies are competing all the time—you might find better internet for cheaper, or a more affordable energy deal. Of course, you can also cut back on what you're using. Take shorter showers to save some water. Buy eco-friendly appliances to save on energy. These steps may result in more savings per month and a more frugal lifestyle.

3. Cut Down On Vehicle Costs

Another one of the largest daily expenses for most people is their vehicle. Buying a car alone is one of the biggest purchases you'll make. Car insurance will also cost you year after year. Add on gas and maintenance costs, and the expenses can quickly become overwhelming. Much like with your home, it might be worth downgrading your vehicle. If you have an expensive, fuel-guzzling car, trade it in for something cheap and fuel-efficient. You'll save money on your vehicle and your regular fuel costs. It also helps to avoid using your car when you can. If a trip is short enough to walk, there's no reason to increase your car's mileage. Some people even prefer to cycle to work.

4. Save On Food Costs

You have to eat to survive, so it's hard to cut back on the cost of food and groceries completely. However, you can make tons of savings each week. When it comes to groceries, try to buy more frozen food and avoid big brand names. You can still get tasty, healthy food. You'll just have to pay a lot less. It might also be worth getting store membership cards that give you discounts and reward points- this can help save a lot over time.

To really save money, stop going out to eat and buying expensive lunches. Even buying a coffee in the morning can result in around $50 after a couple of weeks. Instead of eating out or ordering in, try eating cheap, homemade meals for a few months and see how much it boosts your bank balance.

5. Reconsider Your Phone Deal

Phone bills are another frequent cost that can cripple your finances. Some people can live without a phone, but for many, it's an essential tool both for work and personal relationships.

Make sure to compare phone deals online and make sure you're getting the cheapest deal. Consider what you need—if you only use WiFi, look for a deal with lower data costs. If you do everything online, get a deal with unlimited data but low texts and minutes. Sometimes it can work out to buy an affordable unlocked phone then get a cheap SIM deal. That way, you won't have to spend high monthly costs to eventually pay off an expensive phone.

6. Cut The Cable

While still used by many, traditional cable is way more costly than picking and choosing streaming services. Plus, you're paying cable to be bombarded with advertisements geared towards getting you to spend more money. Even if you aren't ready to cut the cable cord just yet, you can use the new popularity of streaming services to your advantage. You can call your provider to see if they can lower your bill under the threat of canceling your service. Most providers would happily give you a better deal than lose you as a customer.


By making a few minor adaptations, you can save on your living costs significantly. You might even find you're spending hundreds more than you need to each month. Make sure you search for cheap deals on all your bills online and start cutting back on utilities. Find more affordable ways around your regular expenses, and consider downsizing if you're paying too much.

Content courtesy of BALANCE


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