10 Ways To Drastically Cut Your Budget And Household Expenses

If you are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck or if you have high-interest rate debt that you are trying to pay off, then you may want to find ways to cut your budget and household expenses. Yes, even learn how to drastically cut expenses! Perhaps, you don’t have any debt and you don’t live paycheck to paycheck, but…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

If you are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck or if you have debt, then you should find ways to cut your budget and household expenses. Here are 10 ways on how to drastically cut expenses.If you are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck or if you have high-interest rate debt that you are trying to pay off, then you may want to find ways to cut your budget and household expenses. Yes, even learn how to drastically cut expenses!

Perhaps, you don’t have any debt and you don’t live paycheck to paycheck, but you just want to cut your budget and household expenses further to reach a financial goal of yours.

Whatever your reason is, finding expenses to cut from your budget may help you live a happier life, retire earlier, save more money for the things you value in life, pay off debt, and more.

By taking some of the actions listed below, you may be able to improve your financial situation quickly.

Plus, you may even realize that you don’t need certain things in your life you once believed you did. So many people pay for things they don’t actually need. This could be because other people have them, because you are trying to keep up with the Joneses, you think you actually need or deserve the item, and more.

Now, I realize that some of the cost cutting actions below may not work for you, but some of them will. It’s about how badly you want to reach your goals.

If you don’t have a budget, I highly recommend you start one as soon as possible. My guide, The Complete Budgeting Guide: How To Create A Budget That Works, can help you start one right now. If you’re finding it hard to stay positive about your situation, I recommend reading Why I Believe Being Positive Can Change Your Financial Situation And Your Life.

Related posts that will help you save money and cut household expenses:

10 ways to drastically cut your budget and household expenses.


1. Cut your cell phone bill.

Not everyone needs a cell phone, especially an expensive cell phone plan. Cutting your plan or getting rid of your cell phone may be the way to cut your budget in an easy and quick way.

You should evaluate what you actually use your cell phone for, and see if there are other ways around it. If you are just making phone calls to catch up with family, then you may want to try Skyping from your computer instead. If you are mainly using it for texting friends, then perhaps downloading a texting service onto your computer would be a more affordable option.

If you don’t want to completely cut your cell phone bill, then you may want to look for a more affordable cell phone plan. If you are looking for a cheap cell phone service, check out Republic Wireless. They have monthly cell phone plans as low as $10 per month. Read Saving Over $2,000 A Year With Republic Wireless Review for more information.


2. Sell your car.

If you want to learn how to cut expenses in the family budget, then selling your car can be a big one.

The average person spends anywhere from $7,000 to $11,000 a year on their car! Getting rid of your car can be an easy way to cut your budget and household expenses significantly.

If you can walk, cycle, or take public transportation to work, then you may be able to save thousands of dollars each year. You can save money on your car’s monthly payment, fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, property taxes, and vehicle registration.

Now, if you don’t think you can completely get rid of your car, then you may want to try finding something more affordable instead.


3. Stop eating out.

Eating out can get very expensive, especially if you have a large family. Eating out just 2-3 times a month may cost you $100 altogether. If you go out to eat more than that, then you may be spending a couple of hundred dollars a month.

Instead of going out to eat, you can try eating at home more, hosting and attending potlucks with family and friends, and more.


4. Find ways to save money on food.

Food is one of the largest household expenses in a family’s budget. Yet, the average person wastes around 40% of the food they buy.

Yes, 40%!

There are many ways to reduce the amount of food you waste and save money on the food you buy each month.

Some of the things you can do include:

  • Meal planning. This will help you buy only what you need, reduce food waste, shop on a budget, and more.
  • Compare prices between generic and store brand items.
  • Buy things in bulk when they are on sale, if they will not spoil before you get to use them.
  • Use coupons on items you frequently buy. Too many people buy things on sale or use coupons for items that they will never use. You aren’t saving money if you never use it!
  • Prep meals ahead of time for days when you’re too tired to cook.
  • Make extras of meals and eat leftovers for lunch the next day.


5. Get rid of cable.

One way to learn how to drastically cut household expenses is to get rid of your cable TV bill.

According to a market research company, the average monthly cable bill is approximately $120. By the year 2020, the average cable bill is expected to be around $200 a month.

This is a lot of money!

You can read more about cutting cable here and how it will help you save money. I recommend getting a digital antenna to watch local channels for free!

We got rid of cable over a year ago, and around 6 months ago we even got rid of Netflix. Now, we only watch a few hours of TV per week. The average person watches around 35 hours of TV each week, that is a HUGE difference! Without all of the TV, we are much happier.


6. Buy used.

Learning how to cut costs may mean buying more items used.

Purchasing used furniture, clothing, and more allows you to save money on the things you are already buying.

Sometimes, you can even get items for free by seeing what friends, family, and neighbors are trying to get rid of, or by perusing the free section on Craigslist. Trust me, people want to give away their stuff! It’s much easier than trying to find a place to donate things (some places actually have too many donations and have to say no), and then the person doesn’t have to haul it away.


7. Cancel all memberships and subscriptions.

Memberships and subscriptions, such as to magazines, monthly boxes, gyms, and more can easily add up to a lot of money. You should carefully analyze what you do and don’t need. In some cases, you probably don’t need any of them.


8. Have fun for free.

Recently, someone was telling me about how expensive it was to have fun. They were telling me about their debt and everything that goes along with it, and then they told me that their monthly “fun” budget was around $500.

Uhhh, what?! $500? A month?!

If you are trying to get rid of high-interest rate debt, I can’t think of any reason for why you should be paying $500 a month to have fun.

There are many ways to save money by having fun for cheap. Check out How To Have Frugal Fun for some of my ideas.


9. Find a roommate.

My husband and I have had roommates in the past, and while that’s not really possible now that we live in an RV, I do recommend that anyone with an extra room in their house think about trying it out.

While renting a room in your house will not make you rich, it may earn you a good amount of side income with little effort.

If you are interested in renting out a spare room on a short-term basis (such as for vacations), I highly recommend you check out Airbnb. I know people who are making thousands of dollars a month by renting out rooms on this site!

Related: A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money


10. Move to a smaller home.

This one may be a little more difficult, especially if you have a mortgage. However, it is possible.

If you want to save a lot of money, you may want to think about moving into a smaller and more affordable home. This can help you save money on your monthly mortgage payment, property taxes, utility bills, and more.

What other ways can a person drastically cut their budget and household expenses?


10 Ways To Cut Your Budget And Household ExpensesIf you are new to my blog, I am all about finding ways to make and save more money. Here are some of my favorite sites and products that may help you make money money, as well as cut your budget and household expenses:

  • Start a blog. Blogging is how I make a living and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I earn over $70,000 a month online through my blog and you can read more about this in my monthly online income reports. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $2.95 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
  • Sign up for a website like Ebates where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free $10 gift card bonus to Macys, Walmart, Target, or Kohls!
  • Answer surveys. Survey companies I recommend include Survey JunkieSwagbucksAmerican Consumer Opinion, ProOpinionPinecone Research, and Branded Surveys. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
  • Save money on food. I recently joined $5 Meal Plan in order to help me eat at home more and cut my food spending. It’s only $5 a month (the first two weeks are free too) and you get meal plans sent straight to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well!
  • I highly recommend Credible for student loan refinancing. You can lower the interest rate on your student loans significantly by using Credible which may help you shave thousands off your student loan bill over time.
  • Cut your TV bill. Cut your cable, satellite, etc. Even go as far to go without Netflix or Hulu as well. Buy a digital antenna (this is the one we have) and enjoy free TV for life.
  • Try InboxDollars. InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free just for signing up!
  • Find a part-time job. There are many part-time jobs that you may be able to find. You can find a job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), Monster, and so on.
  • Lower your cell phone bill. Instead of paying the $150 or more that you spend on your cell phone bill, there are companies out there like Republic Wireless that offer cell phone service starting at $10. YES, I SAID $10! If you use my Republic Wireless affiliate link, you can change your life and start saving thousands of dollars a year on your cell phone service. I created a full review on Republic Wireless as well if you are interested in hearing more. I’ve been using them for over a year and they are great.

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. You can also try calling your cell phone company. I know many offer loyalty programs where you get a decent plan, including data, for half the price just to stay a customer. Verizon’s was a game changer for me.

    I’m working on the eating out less, admittedly pizza and burgers are my weakness so I’m trying to learn to make my own tasty versions. Eating in definitely helps with the food waste too!

    1. Yes, calling about a loyalty program is a great idea!

  2. These are all ideas we’ve used. We don’t have data plans on our cell phones because it would more than double our bill. Plus, were hardly ever somewhere without wifi if we need to look something up. My sister in law just moved in with us for a few months and it’s been working out pretty well. We make a little extra money and she’s really not here that much so not much has changed 😀

  3. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor

    I agree that selling your car could be huge. I also understand how difficult it would be for some to go carless. We have had great luck with $500-1000 cars in the past. Driving a beater while saving up to purchase something better in cash is so much better than paying tons of interest on a rapidly depreciating vehicle.

    1. Yes! We once had a $500 car that was actually quite reliable. We then sold it for $500 🙂

  4. These are all good ones! Not eating out very often is a huge money-saver for us. I try to avoid it when I can, and to be honest, I think we all like eating at home more anyway.

    1. We need to work on eating at home more often. Traveling full-time makes it hard, though, as we LOVE eating at new places!

  5. These are some very useful tips. We’ve tried many of them over the years and the savings year after year really add up. I also have my wife cut my hair these days (she’s gotten pretty good 🙂 ) which saves a few hundred / year. And believe it or not, a few months ago we bought solar panels for the home which will save us big time in electricity costs. It can pay to be creative with how you cut back!

    The Green Swan

    1. Awesome! How much were your solar panels?

      1. I actually wrote a fairly detailed blog series about it starting with this post: thegreenswan.org/solar-is-sexy if you don’t mind the plug. But they cost about $18K before the tax credits, but the combination of state and federal tax credits cut that down significantly and made the ultimate decision to invest a no-brainer.

        1. Sounds great! We plan on adding solar panels to our RV one day 🙂

  6. LOVE all of these tips! I don’t have cable, so I think that’s a huge help for me.

  7. We are looking into Airbnb after reading about people who pay their mortgage payment with a few house guests every other weekend. Another option for an affordable cell provider is Google Fi (about $20/month). Great ideas!

  8. Amanda

    Awesome tips! Thanks!

    I follow most, but need to work on the cell phone bill.

    Selling the car is intriguing for sure! Although I can’t do it at this point, it may be a possibility in a year or so.

  9. Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog

    I don’t own a car and it does save me some money. The only caveat is that places with good public transportation systems tend to have a higher cost of living. And places with a low cost of living tend not to be as metro accessible.

    1. How long have you been carless?

  10. Sarah

    These are some good ones! Shopping at secondhand shops are huge for me. Yes, you can’t always find everything you want in a secondhand store, but the deals and quality can be great. The more familiar you become with stores like Goodwill and Savers, the better deals you will find. For example, Savers has “color of the day” tags where you can get items at 50% off or even a $1. My favorite find is a black blouse, WITH the tag still on it, that retailed for $79.99. It had a yellow tag on it, it was yellow tag day, so I got an $80 blouse for $1, with the tags still attached. Talk about a bargain.

  11. Meal planning is a great way to save money. My wife and I plan our dinner monthly, based on sale items. Why buy protein at full price, when stores typically have sales at least once a month. Our freezer gets a good workout :-).

  12. Lindsey

    These are some great tips! We meal plan and cut work lunches out of our budget. We used to spend $330 a month on eating out for work! Another way to drastically cut your budget is to stop going to the movies and wait for it to come out on redbox instead. I get free codes all the time to use, so instead of going to a theatre and paying $10-20 for a movie, we wait and get whatever movie we wanted for free! I easily get one code a month if not more.

    1. Yes! I actually really dislike going to the movies. I would much rather watch them at home.

      1. Lindsey

        The BF has problems with going to the theatre because he can’t stand the sound of people chewing, so you could imagine someone munching on popcorn to quickly become a bad experience. Since we’ve started getting so many free redbox codes I haven’t needed to pay for a redbox in easily four months.

  13. We’re not in a position to go completely car-less but my daughter and I are looking at selling her car and sharing mine. Both cars are paid for but getting rid of one car could save a couple of thousand per year (registration, insurance, maintenance, etc) and that’s money that could go toward other things.

    Cable, or as we call it here ‘Pay TV’ is crazy expensive and totally useless (lots and lots of repeats) unless you’re an avid sports fan and even then I wonder if it’s any value. We either stream shows via their catch up site or borrow dvds from the library.

    We’re usually good at always eating in but our chaotic April saw us eating out a lot – and I can see the impact on the budget!

    1. Sharing a car is a great idea!

  14. I love all these suggestions, although I’m not sure I can stomach 2, 9, and 10. They’re good ideas and would save me quite a bit of money, but I’m not ready to sell my car, downsize my house, or bring a roommate into the house.

    Baby steps – I’ll start with cell phones and cable bills.

  15. Monica@wellideclare

    This is a good list! My husband and I do a lot of these things. We were a one car family for about two years when three of my children were very little. We made money on the sale of our second vehicle and saved on insurance. And let’s face it, with three kids under the age of two….I wasn’t going anywhere anyway! 😉

  16. All great suggestions. We switched from AT&T to Ting and are saving $100 a month. Next on the chopping block is cable.

  17. All of these suggestions are light and practical, but they actually end up making a big difference. Luxuries like cable television and having unlimited data on your cell phone now seem like necessities to a lot of people; this article, however, kind of makes that seem silly and not worth the expense. Great advice. Thanks for posting!

  18. Altea Kia

    Wow, It seems a perfect frugal living tips, Glad to have a such tips. I have a very good idea for money saving on food, find a discount code on your grocery shopping its really saves a lot. There are plenty of coupons brand who offer almost 20% off discount code on you shopping like Voucher shops. So go and grab your discount voucher and enjoy your shopping by saving huge amount.

  19. Marguerite

    While I am not willing to go carless – it’ is paid up – 7 years old with only 30,000+ or so miles on it – I intend to keep it for another 7 years at least – I go without cable, my cell charge is $100 a year – prepaid – I rarely eat out because I can eat healthier – and so much cheaper at home (and I am a good cook) – I am looking at moving to a smaller place – I now have a 2 bedroom but use the second bedroom as my “basement” storage room – I need to let go of so much stuff to reach that but I can see how freeing it would be – and a much smaller housing expense

  20. Today, I’m watchful about spending money. I know millions of dollars await to be made online and the money I use for miscellaneous purposes, I could use for extending the reach of my online businesses. The household spending budget in overall is “in check.” 🙂

  21. Haley

    Some investing does have guarantees. CD’s are FDIC insured up to $250,000. You can invest at most banks and several investing firms. You basically have no way of losing money on a CD. Just a tip for those who need it.

  22. Nancy

    Over the last year I have purged items that I never use/don’t need/no longer love. I also think twice before making purchases. Decluttering and having a clear environment saves $$ because I know what I have. Also, I have broken the daily habit of getting coffee to go. My wallet feels fatter that way. 😀😀. We still have cable, Netflix & Amazon but that’s it for the streaming services. No, my way is not perfect but I have gotten better than I used to be.

  23. Lori

    Love these ideas. My hubbie and I are trying to cut costs again. We want to retire in 10 years and we are realizing we have to cut the ties to some things. I’m getting rid of the cable and sigining up just for wifi and maybe Hulu. This will save me over $100 a month! I’ll keep scouring! We have no debt except the mortgage and even this is getting burdensome! Thanks for all the tips!