1. Reduce electricity use

One of the best ways to save money on bills is to consciously cut down on your electricity consumption. Small changes like switching off all appliances entirely instead of leaving them on standby reduces their electricity use by 75%. An easy measure to take is to plug TVs, computers, and stereos into a power strip that you turn off easily when you’re not using them.

Turning the temperature down by a degree or two on your hot water heater, replacing power-hungry light bulbs with LED bulbs, and keeping your A/C filters clean will also bring you lower bills. In the summer, line drying your clothes instead of running the dryer can save a lot on electricity.

2. Use your car less

Walking or biking to work, if it’s close enough, will result in both lower bills and lower blood pressure. If public transportation is convenient, try taking it at least a few days a week to lower monthly bills for gas. If you do need to drive, try to carpool so that you can share gas costs, and always keep your tires properly inflated to improve your mileage.

3. Make your own coffee

Invest in a nice, leak-proof insulated coffee mug and take your own coffee with you to work each morning. Making your own lunch the night before also saves you money on over-priced sandwiches, and will probably taste better too.

4. Get cash back for monthly bills

Be choosey with the credit card you use to pay monthly bills, as some credit cards allow you to earn extra cash back in this spending category. The *Scotia* Momentum® Visa Infinite* card provides 4% cash back on recurring bills that you charge to the card, while the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card has a slightly lower 3% cash back rate on bills†. Both cards have an annual fee, but there are also good options with no annual fee, like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, which gives 2% cash back on any two spending categories of your choice, including recurring bills.

†Terms and conditions apply.

5. Rethink your gym membership

Gyms make money because most of us buy a membership and then rarely use it. Consider cancelling your membership or letting it run out—particularly if it’s very pricey. Unless you manage to get to the gym several times a week, you’ll probably do better by getting out to walk or jog the streets for free and just paying per gym class when you do have time to attend.

6. Go generic instead of brand name

One of the best ways to keep grocery bills low is to choose generic brand foods and toiletries rather than the better-known brands that you’re accustomed to buying. Generic brands are typically indistinguishable from their brand-name cousins, but they cost significantly less. And it might seem old-fashioned, but buying in bulk using discount coupons is a great way to lower your monthly household expenses, too. You might only save a small amount each time, but those small amounts add up.

7. Renegotiate your insurance

If it’s been a while since you last reviewed your insurance policies, you could get much lower monthly bills by renegotiating them. If your car is older now and therefore worth less, you might want to downgrade the level of car insurance you have. Bundling together your auto and homeowners insurance can also bring a nice discount on monthly rates. Alternatively, shopping around for new insurance deals could net you an introductory discount when you sign up somewhere as a new customer.

8. Slash your debt

If you have significant credit card debt, let go of some of your non-essential expenses for a few months in an effort to clear some or all of said debt out. Start by paying off the debt on cards with high monthly interest rates, and then move on to the cards with lower interest rates.  Another option is to move all your debt from multiple cards onto a single card that offers 0% interest.

9. Track your spending

Write down every purchase you make in a monthly budget planner, or track your purchases in a budgeting app. Once you know where the money goes you’ll be able to make sensible and practical decisions about whether each purchase is acceptable. Keeping a monthly budget planner also trains you to stop and think before buying something, because you’ll have to account for it later.

10. Change your habits, not your lifestyle

Many of these tips can be put into practice without having to make any major changes to the way you live your life. Just start by trying one or two, and then gradually implement one more each month.

About the Author

Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor

Freelance Contributor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, Forbes.com and the Toronto Star.

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