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11 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Slash Your Expenses


11 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Slash Your Expenses

11 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Slash Your Expenses Photo by Andrey_Popov /

If you need or want to reduce your everyday expenses, there are simple solutions that won’t require you to make major lifestyle changes.

Cutting costs doesn’t need to be painful or complicated. There are many practically effortless ways to keep more money in your bank account.

What follows are some surprisingly simple ways to do just that.

1. Turn down your water heater

While some water heaters are preset to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, 120 degrees is adequate for most households, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Making this adjustment could save you $36 to $61 per year in standby heat losses, meaning heat lost from the water heater into the surrounding area. Lower temperatures also are safer since water heated to 140 degrees poses a risk of scalding.

Another option is to wrap your water heat in an insulating jacket or blanket. As we detail in “17 Simple Home Repairs That Will Save You Cash,” this can reduce your water heating costs by 7% to 16%.

2. Drop underused subscriptions

When was the last time you scoured your bank account and credit card statements in search of charges for subscriptions or memberships you no longer use, need or want? If that sounds like too much work, a service like Trim can do it for you and also cancel any unwanted subscriptions.

Either way, this step stands to save you money over and over again, as subscriptions and memberships are generally recurring expenses and may continue until you cancel them.

3. Unplug electronics

You may not realize it, but electronic devices that remain plugged in when idle continue to use electricity. This occurs in most devices that use electricity, such as DVD players, televisions, computers and kitchen appliances, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

If you remember to unplug your electronic devices when they’re not in use, you can reduce your energy costs.

Alternatively, plug multiple devices into one power strip so that you can turn them all off with the press of a button. This can save you up to $100 a year, as we report in “10 Hidden Homeowner Costs — and How You Can Slash Them.”

4. Change your driving habits

Speeding, quick acceleration and hard braking burn more gas. According to the DOE, these driving habits can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in heavy traffic.

5. Use cold water in your washing machine

One of the easiest ways to save money is to adjust the settings on your washing machine.

Heating the water consumes 90% of the energy used to run a washing machine, according to Energy Star. Just changing your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use by 50%.

To maximize your energy savings, try air-drying clothes whenever possible instead of using the dryer.

6. Switch to generic medicines

Brand loyalty often is misplaced when it comes to medicines. Generic medicines are generally cheaper than their brand-name counterparts.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“All generic drugs approved by FDA have the same high quality, strength, purity, and stability as brand-name drugs. In addition, FDA inspects facilities to make certain the generic manufacturing, packaging, and testing sites pass the same quality standards as those of brand-name drugs.”

Note that you might be able to get certain generic medications for free, as we detail in “5 Grocery Store Chains That Offer Free Prescription Drugs.”

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