My top 5 expenses and how I reduce them!

Everyone has expenses. Some small and some large. Today I am going to share what my top 5 expenses are and steps I have taken to reduce them as much as I can. This idea came when I was looking at Quicken and asking myself: What do I spend the most on and why? Can it be reduced?

The answer is almost always yes but I am sure some of you are looking for ideas that you may not have thought of. I am also looking for ideas that I have not thought of as well. That is the more difficult part. Nonetheless I will share my strategies and ideas and hope I find more along the way!

My top 5 expenses are:

  1. Housing
  2. Food
  3. Insurance
  4. Utilities
  5. Entertainment
I am sure that most of you will find that at least 3 of these items are in your top 5 as well. Housing is usually everyone's top expense. Food and Insurance are also commonly big budget items.

Here are my methods for cutting these expenses:
  1. Housing - I currently rent out 2 spare rooms in my house to cover my mortgage. Other options include refinancing the mortgage to a lower rate, keeping up with routine maintenance, shopping around (for renters) when leases come due, and getting roommates in a bigger place.
  2. Food - Food is expensive. I use the grocery game to save on my weekly food stockpiling using coupons. I look up recipes that use cheaper items for tasty meals. I cook in bulk and freeze a big portion of it for later. I try to eat more veggies and less meat.
  3. Insurance - Insurance can be cheap or expensive. The best bet is to read up on what types of insurance you need and shop around thoroughly. Contact 5 companies for each type and comparison shop. One trick is to find the lowest auto insurance rate and get the rest of your insurance from the same company with a multi-line discount. Auto is almost always the most expensive insurance!
  4. Utilities - I have gotten these very low. I use CFL bulbs in all lights. I turn lights on only when I am in the room. I use more fans and less air conditioning. I use a programmable thermostat. I made a habit of only having faucets on when I need water that second. I turned my water heater down 5 degrees. It adds up!
  5. Entertainment - This budget item can be small if you don't go out or huge if you go out all the time. I like going out so I combat this as much as I can. I use sites such as groupon, half off depot, living social, scoutmob, etc. I also use reward points for gift cards and local coupons. The entertainment book is another option for local establishments. This can add up fast too!
Aside from raising your income cutting your major expenses as much as possible is a great way t get ahead financially. I am constantly evaluating looking for ways to keep my expenses low and savings high. I am on a mission to be financially free as soon as possible!