Yep, life can be expensive, but there are ways to make it less costly. You just need to put in the time, research and planning to cut your bills down to size. Whether you want to pay off your debt, save more or just want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, we’ve got some ideas on how to lower your everyday expenses.

1. Pick one habit to cut

Do you really need to grab the coffee on the way to work? Couldn’t you just borrow the book from the library? Could you exercise without a gym membership?

Find something in your life that you pay for each day, month or year and drop it. Replace that habit with either a free way to do the same thing or a lower cost option that still accomplishes your goal.

2. Figure out how to use your utilities less

If you don’t already have it, install a programmable thermostat and set it so you are heating or cooling your house less when you are not at home. Set it to turn on the hour before you return, and you’ll never notice the difference except on your bill — and that’s a good thing.

3. Do you really need Sky?

Nope. You don’t. There are so many streaming options available to replace that high Sky bill; it’s easy to cut the cord now. Take a look at how much it costs for your Internet hook up and add up the bare minimum of streaming services you’ll need and start there.

Try not to add on a bunch of services or you might find yourself paying the same amount or — worse — even more.

4. Stop shaming yourself

This is a biggie. No matter what your current financial situation is: drowning in debt, paying off a little chunk, saving for a rainy day, just getting on your feet, etc., no good comes from looking back and continuing to feel bad about past decisions.

Make a plan and start tackling. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel everyday knowing you’ll get there. Focus on the future.

5. Menu planning is worth the effort

Menu planning isn’t just for families. Everyone should utilise menu planning in order to save on groceries. Check out our blog post on saving on groceries for tons of ideas that will keep your food bills low.

6. Could you sell the car?

If you live near public transportation or could bike to work, this is definitely worth considering. Even if you don’t have a car loan, there’s still petrol, oil changes and other maintenances, not to mention expenses if it breaks down.

This is a hard one, so perhaps if you could share a car with a partner or even a flatmate, it might be worth it.

7. Don’t pay fees

We’re talking about bank fees, late fees, credit card fees or anything else that’s avoidable. Check out different banks if you’re paying too many fees a month. Pay your bills on time. Try to pay off your credit cards, or if you can’t, make sure you’re paying on time so you don’t see your interest rate raise.

8. Do more laundry

What we mean here is find ways around using dry cleaning services if you can. Obviously there are some clothes that just can’t be done in your washing machine like suits, but most other clothes these days have a work around. Hand wash, delicate wash, air dry, etc., all can help you avoid paying too much for dry cleaning. Read your labels before you purchase or read them now!

9. Find the best mobile phone plan

Don’t just blindly pay your mobile phone bill every month. Read it over. Did the fees increase? Did your data plan go up or did you go over on your data so you had coverage charges? Are you paying any monthly fees that could be avoided if you changed plans or carriers? Price shop and compare so you can use what you need and still pay the lowest amount possible.

10. Don’t go out to lunch

Leftovers are your best friend when it comes to taking care of lunch at work. Use what you have at home, pack it up and bring it to work. You’d be amazed at how much you’ll save when you don’t have to buy lunch. We recently published a post on cheap lunch ideas so check it out.

11. Use what you need

We all have too much stuff. Go through your possessions and figure out what you actually use and what you can get rid of. First off, you might make some cash selling what you don’t use and you’ll have space to store what you have. Or even better, it might help you realise you need less space in your next home.

12. Maintain and fix so you don’t have to replace

Don’t just go out and get a new one, but rather try to keep your stuff nice and well maintained so you can really get your money’s worth. That applies to everything from your car and vacuum cleaner down to your clothes. Who really needs the trendiest clothes anyway? Or the newest car?

13. DIY… if you can

It’s always cheaper to fix something yourself if you know what you’re doing, and luckily there is a YouTube video for almost everything. Electricity and plumbing legally require a professional to fix, but if it’s just a clogged sink then you should be able to figure out how to get it working again..

14. Keep track of every cent

Make a budget. Come on, you know it’s time. It’ll make it easier to see where you can cut costs if you know how much is coming in each month and how much goes out. And don’t worry, we have tips for that too.

15. Figure out what you value

Here’s another mind-blowing tip. You need to sit down and decide what is important to you when it comes to making, spending and saving money. Travel most important to you? Having a big house? Or even something smaller like having a gym membership?

If you know what you want out of life and your money, then it’s easier to plan and see where you can make your money work for you. Do you need to cut spending so you can save more for your holidays? If that’s what you want, then do it. You’ll be a happier person for it.

You’re doing the work. You’re lowering your bills. You’re making headway on your debt. But life hits you with a whammy. Well, don’t worry, Swoosh is here to help. You can head online and apply for a personal loan with Swoosh that will quickly get you back in the black. Our easy payment plan will allow you to pay off this medium term loan in less than 24 months (or even as quick as 12!).