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How to Cut Back on Your Monthly Expenses
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How to Cut Back on Your Monthly Expenses

In a difficult economy, reducing your monthly expenses is often necessary. Fixed expenses, such as rent or car payments, provide little opportunity for savings. Variable expenses such as utilities and grocery bills, though, can be successfully reduced to save you some money each month.


Keep a log of all the money you spend during the course of one month. Write down every expenditure, particularly cash outlays that might vary from month to month. At the end of the month, review the expenditures and group them by category, such as fixed monthly bills, variable monthly bills, groceries and miscellaneous expenditures.

Study each item to identify potential sources of savings. Utility bills, while a monthly expense, might offer savings opportunities. Cut down on your water bill by taking shorter showers, watering lawns less often and not running the dishwasher unless it's full. Simple steps can also reduce your electric bill -- turn off lights, unplug appliances that are rarely used and use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances.

Look at each of your monthly credit card and bank statements. If you pay frequent surcharges for using ATM machines outside your bank's network, plan ahead enough so you get cash only when needed and only from your own bank's branches.

Cut food expenses by eating out less, taking your own food to work and shopping smarter.