How I Reduced Expenses & You Can Too

Good morning friend! Last September when I was considering adding a pool, it spurred me to scrutinize my expenses. I’m happy to share what I did to save money with you today!

Simple Ways to Save Money

Some of these saving money tips are simple, like cancelling subscriptions or going to Starbuck’s less. Some involve more time and energy – like calling internet service providers to see if you can lower your monthly rate.

Be Mindful of Spending

First and foremost, in order to save money, you need to not spend it. Duh! So, my main tip is to be more mindful of what you’re spending. Do you know what your monthly bills are? Do you always think you have more money than you actually do? Is there more month at the end of your money?

At certain points in my life, I’ve been super strict with my money and then there are times I lose focus. Early in my life, while I was still in college, I got into credit card debt. I was going to school and working, and my credit card had gotten up to over $3,000 – which was a lot of money to me at the time. Heck, it’s still a lot of money now!

I decided to get laser focused on paying it off. Every extra dollar I had went to paying that debt. I wouldn’t even buy a pack of gum because I’d rather put that money toward that debt.

When I finally got it paid off, I decided I never wanted to be in credit card debt again and to this day, I still don’t. I use a credit card for business expenses, but I always pay it off in full each month.

I also don’t like paying interest on things, so I worked really hard to pay off student loans and my car ASAP. How awesome is it to not have a car payment?!

I’ve had my car, a very nice 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee since Jordan was born (8 years). It only has 65,000 miles on it but recently needed an expensive repair job. Several people mentioned it might be time to buy a new car. Really? Even though the repair may be upwards of $5,000, a new car is what, $65,000? I’m not even sure, but I know it’s a heck of a lot more than $5,000. I’ll choose the repair that should keep my car going for another 65,000 miles. It’s a nice car!

How I Reduced Expenses & You Can Too

Along with being intentional about where your money is going, take a look at your fixed, monthly expenses. Could you reduce them? Maybe. Don’t just take it as a given that the price you’re paying is what you have to pay.

Here’s what I did to reduce my monthly bills:

Reduced Landscaping– It was September when I did reduced my landscaping to every other week. Something I used to take for granted was weekly grass cutting. I realized that my grass didn’t really need to be cut every week. Also, I pull weeds and cut my rose bushes myself. Elliott is very handy in the garden too. Maybe you decide to cut your own grass? I’m sure it’s a good workout!

Eliminate Cable or Other TV Services – I’ve done this before, and now I can’t even remember why I added it back in. I cut it out and now use Netflix, YouTube TV and Disney+. Honestly, I don’t watch that much TV, but those are the ones I use.

Reduce Internet Costs – This is one of those pains in the arses things. I started by trying to research on my own, which ended up feeling very complicated. Nothing is straight forward with these companies. I ended up calling my provider and was able to lower my internet speed to 800, which is still high and we have no lagging issues. The call took awhile and I think I got disconnected at one point, but overall, it was worth it.

Reduce Cell Phone Bill – I ended up going into a retail location for this one. I talked to a store associate that very helpfully walked me through the different plans and helped me lower my bill. This was surprisingly easy, didn’t take that long – maybe 20 minutes.

Turn Up/Down AC 1-2 Degrees – Yes! That can make a difference. I also don’t turn on the heat unless we’re really cold. I do turn on the fireplace though- really love that ambiance.

Shop Medical Insurance – Another major pain point here. I called and chose a new medical insurance plan. But, looking back, I don’t think I picked the right one. I’m getting so many medical bills since dealing with this new high blood pressure and I called again this week to discuss my plan. But now I have a pre-existing condition and my medical insurance doesn’t cover that. Such a racket! I get so irritated about this, but bottom line is – try to learn what you’re paying for, keep good track of bills, utilize the online dashboards and stay on top of your healthcare appointments.

Shop Auto Insurance – Call your insurance agent to find out if the coverage and price you’re paying is the best deal.

Pay in Full – If I can afford it, I pay insurance or other expenses for the entire term (usually 6 months or a year) in full if there’s a discount for doing so

Extend Hair Color and Haircuts – If you can wait few more weeks between color and cuts, you can save quite a bit of money.

Stop Getting Nails Done – Back in September, I was going au natural with my nails, so I was saving money by not going to the salon. I’m back to salon visits now though.

Reduce Pet Expenses – I was able to pause my dog’s auto-ship prescriptions because I realized that I somehow ended up with extras to use up before I needed more. Similarly, I took Luke to the much less expensive mobile clinic for his latest vaccines. With my cat, I use the Kitty Poo Club for her litter box, but since she’s an indoor/outdoor cat, I was able to go from ordering every month to every other month.

Delete Unwanted/Unused Subscriptions – You can go through your phone, email, and bank statements to see what you’re subscribed to that you never use. It’s crazy how those small expenses can add up.

Track Your Spending & Income – Tracking my money helped me SEE what was coming in and going out and that was very helpful for me. It’s almost like a game to see where you can cut expenses and if I didn’t want to have to log spending something, it helped me not buy. The money subscription I like is called “Spending” It’s free, unless you want it to be able to set recurring transactions. And that’s only $2 total, not $2 a month.

Review Receipts – Whenever you spend money, check your receipt to make sure you were charged the correct amount.

Don’t Miss a Return Date – If you’re planning on returning something, calendar the return date so you don’t miss it.

Quit Starbucks – I also quit going to Starbuck’s. I had started going everyday and man, that really adds up quick. Now, I’ll enjoy a Starbuck’s about once a week.

Eat at Home More – period

Use It Up

Another concept that has saved me a lot of money, is simply to use it before buying more.

Food – Before a grocery trip, you’ll notice my fridge looking quite bare. Take a look at the items in your fridge, freezer and pantry and try to use them before buying more food.

Beauty Products – This goes for skincare, hair care, body wash, and shower gel. I’m working on using the products I have until they run out before buying more. I haven’t had to buy any hair styling products in a long time, but I do use my skincare religiously and re-order when I’m out.

Makeup – The only makeup I’ve had to buy more of is mascara and Juicy Lip and that’s because I’ve gone through those. I know that makeup eventually expires, but I usually stick to the same makeup routine and I don’t need more eyeshadows or lipsticks.

Shop Around On Big Ticket Items

Home Renovations – I interviewed three pool companies before deciding on Trahan Pools. It was wild to realize the price differences between the three companies, all for the same scope of work! I was able to save thousands by taking the time to get multiple bids. Thank you to Elliott for encouraging me to do that! If it weren’t for him, I may have went with the first company I talked to!

Furniture – I looked around for months for patio furniture before deciding on couch and two chairs. It’s a big investment and I wanted to thoroughly research before making a decision. I considered lots of retailers, different styles and materials, and ultimately chose something that was expensive, but I’m hoping it’s a worthwhile investment.

Pay Yourself First

Suze Orman said something along the lines of, “if you have even a trickle of money coming in, you can save.” If you put $25 into a savings account every week, you’ll have $1,300 in a year. Save $100 a week and you’ll have $5,200 at the end of the year.

That really resonated with me as a waitress in my 20’s when I wasn’t making much money. Yet, I always saved a portion of my tips every week. That’s one of the ways I was able to pay my college tuition in cash without any help from my parents or loans. *I had to take out loans for law school, but I’ve paid them all off.

Now, every month, I take a portion of my income and invest it in my SEP IRA. I pay myself first, and that’s a non-negotiable. What helps keep me motivated to do this is thinking of my future. I don’t want to have to hustle when I’m old to pay the bills.

Our health and lifespans are not guaranteed. Financial freedom is true freedom and a life with way less stress. That’s how I want to live.

All of our financial situations are different and how we grew up influences our relationship with money.

I grew up in a very loving household, but we struggled financially and it was stressful. I know that fear and the desire for financial security drive a lot of my decisions. It’s a big reason why I wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.

Two books that I read in my 20s helped shape my financial future – Smart Women Finish Rich and The Courage To Be Rich. Now, there’s a book I haven’t read, but I watched the Netflix show and it was really good too.

And I have to mention Dave Ramsey. Listening to his show definitely encouraged me to be more smart with my money.

Let me know if this post resonates with you! I’d love to hear in the comments. You can also PIN this image and save this post for future reference.

Have a fantastic day friend!

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. I am crap with finances but the first thing I do every month is put money in our house fund, our christmas fund and our holiday fund. Then after that its a bit of a guessing game. I do love the fact you used the phrase “pain in the arse”. Arse is such a UK word I think and in particular I would say its more Scottish (although I am sure many people would disagree with me) so it just made me giggle a bit!

  2. Absolutely resonates with me! A lot of the financial tips and tricks you see out there are repetitive and quite simple, but that’s a good thing! The more I’m reminded of these things the more motivation it gives me to stick with it!

  3. Hi Megan,

    I’m a long time follower. Most of the saving hacks we follow religiously. It’s a life changer. Thank you for being open.

  4. EXCELLENT tips Megan!!! You have given me some really good reminders to get busy on seeing where ALL of my money goes. Thanks!

  5. I’m not sure what you’re talking about when you talk about pre-existing conditions but that rule is no longer applicable. I think it went away with Obamacare, but it might’ve been with President Biden you might want to check again.

      1. I came here to say this as well. If you were covered by ANY health insurance plan when you were diagnosed then it should not be a preexisting condition if you switch. I would check on that again!

      2. They’ll use your condition against you. My niece can’t switch jobs, because she will never get health insurance (cancer diagnosis). She is stuck where she is at forever and they know it. While they say they can’t discriminate against pre-existing conditions-they can, and do. Refuse any diagnostic testing (such as genetic testing) as it is a way to screen you out of insurance in the future, or make it impossible for you to afford it. The “law” can be vague as you know.

  6. This is a really great post. Excellent, practical tips. So many blog focus constant consumerism; refreshing to see a focus on being mindful of spending. I also really enjoyed your recent post on purging. Thanks for the great reads!

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer. I hope to be better at rounding out my content in these types of ways going forward. It’s more representative of my whole life and I hope it’s helpful!

  7. Loved the book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and the show! My husband handles all of our finances and investments but I knew it was something I needed to have a better understanding of. His book is an easy read (and kind of entertaining), and I understand so much more now. Definitely recommend!

  8. My favorite type of post!!! When we were in the process of getting pool bids we brainstormed ways of cutting back and we have never missed anything that didn’t make the cut. Our pool is so much more fun than the other stuff we were spending money on. You won’t regret this decision either! Great memories are going to be made!

    1. We are the same Mary! My daughter has been swimming in the pool everyday since we got it! I love being out there with her and now I’ve added in several plants that I’m constantly checking on and it’s so satisfying being outside and enjoying nature. I appreciate your comment!

  9. Such a great post! Everything has gotten so expensive. Gas where I live is close to $5.40 a gallon at the moment. If you’re a big reader (and have a Kindle), definitely check out the Libby app – you connect it to your local library card. It’s saved me $1000’s by now. Another crazy thing I learned (by going to the Verizon store) is we could save something like $10 or $15 a month by not having paper statements sent to our house. I definitely need to cancel some of my subscriptions – thanks for the reminder.

  10. I used to have a family home binder with all the printable pages of finances, emergency plan & contacts, shopping list by stores, holiday meal plans etc. Now that I’m an empty nester, I’m trying to break up with having paper & binders. Just sharing to be helpful for someone. I use my planner for- I write in my receipts’ amounts on the daily pages and/or bills paid. This way, I can see my weekly or monthly spending & less paper to have around. The holidays’ meal plans, I’ve put in an email to myself. Thanks for your post- I appreciate women talking about finances. I wish I had money talks more frequently while growing up.

    1. Keeping track of expenses is very helpful- you actually SEE where the money is going. I like that app I mentioned in the post – it’s simple and easy to use. Thank you for being here!

  11. Great post! There is always a way to save. Here are some ideas. A maid service is a big treat to me esp with back and sciatica issues. I shopped around and found an affordable option and have them come only once a month for the big clean. My son and I do weekly spruce up. I also save by booking a 3 month package. I earn points for online shopping and doing surveys (mypoints etc). Points = gift cards. A Visa gift card goes towards hair appointments!

    1. I do use a house cleaner too and consider it money well spent! I also enjoy supporting her small business- she works so hard.

  12. Great tips! Save for college too. Use a 529. In CT we get a nice tax deduction…one girl graduating this year with no debt. Yes and Obamacare eliminated pre existing,..the law is on your side…write a letter to that effect (using your law background). Lastly love the I will teach you to be rich podcast as well as the Financial Feminist.

  13. Great recommendations!! I was going to suggest you listen to Dave Ramsey and/or read his books, but you beat me to it at the very end!!

  14. I’m new to your blog and so glad to see this posted! Such a refreshing change from so many that only show more stuff to buy! You have a great list here, I’m pretty frugal but see a few I need to try! I also have a couple suggestions to add. If you’re looking for a salon mani alternative, check out dazzle dry. It goes on like a regular polish but lasts almost as long as gel or powder dip. It requires several coats but dries fast. I can do it in 20 min, it’s a good excuse to catch up on a favorite tv show or podcast! Second, I’ve recently implemented my mom’s old “scare ‘em up supper” to save grocery $. Pretty much one night a week you either eat leftovers or cook something you can make with pantry ingredients (eat whatever you can scare up!). Last, put AC/ heat on a timer to use less during the day when nobody is home. I was surprised how much this saved! Thanks again for this post!

    1. Thank you so much for those tips Megan and we have the same name;). I like the salon alternative, I may have to try that. I am also trying to use up our pantry items more. Great tips!

      1. Ha yes and I’m surprised to see you spell it the same way! My mom intentionally picked the simplest way to spell it but I think we are in the minority! Seems like most have extra letters. Forgot to mention, if you try dazzle dry I prefer the mini bottles (they’re easier to hold but also the smaller brush makes it easier to apply if you have small nails). They’re available in the mini kits as well as most polishes, but customer service can also sometimes add them to your cart if you don’t see them. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

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