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Make a budget

If you don’t have one already, make a budget and plan your spending around your lifestyle.

Take account of all your regular expenses and fixed costs — whether that involves writing them all down and pulling out a calculator, tracking them in a spreadsheet or using a budgeting app — and look for ways to cut back.

If you enjoy traveling, think about spending less money on home decor and canceling subscriptions you don’t really use. Or, if you prioritize your quiet nights watching Netflix, perhaps reduce your spending on fancy dinners at restaurants.

Consider using the “cash stuffing” method, where you take your paycheck in cash and separate your needs into different spending categories based on your budget. For example, if you allocate $200 for groceries and you hit $220 at checkout, you’ll be forced to put some items back if you want to bring home food.

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Get rid of your second car

When it comes to cutting back on unnecessary expenses, think about whether your family really needs that second car — because the overall costs of owning even one vehicle are quite high.

Whether it’s the insurance, the gas, the cleaning and maintenance or even the parking fees, owning a vehicle comes with plenty of costs. The Morris family told Insider they usually spend between $300 to $500 a month on gas for their bus and Chevrolet Silverado.

Try carpooling, taking public transit or riding a bike if you don’t need to travel too far.

If you really can’t give up your second vehicle, make sure you’re shopping around and securing the best rate on auto insurance possible.

Slash your energy costs

Next, look for ways to lower your energy bill in your home. The Morris family outfitted their own home-on-wheels with solar panels to save them on electricity fees.

You can turn down the thermostat now that the weather’s perking up for summer. Don’t forget to also unplug your devices, like your laptop, when they’re not being used.

Your utility company might even allow you to switch to a time-of-use plan, which typically offers different rates for “on-peak” and “off-peak” hours. Try to avoid using appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine during on-peak hours, which are more expensive.

And if you’re considering upgrades to make your home more energy efficient — such as installing a heat pump — check whether you’re eligible for any credits or rebates come tax time as well.

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About the Author

Serah Louis

Serah Louis

Reporter

Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.