Have you set your financial goals for 2022? And have you created a detailed plan of how you’re going to achieve those goals within the specified deadline? While most of us may have completely different financial goals for 2022, the focus is almost always on how to reduce expenses and save money. When it comes to reducing expenses, the mistake most people make is in only thinking about where they can cut back on. Some decide to eat out fewer times. Others consider canceling their cable or other subscriptions. Still others may explore cheaper ways to travel. These are definitely a good start! Here are several others ways that you can lower expenses every year.

Here are some ideas on how to reduce expenses in 2022.

#1- Create A Budget and Track Your Income & Expenses

The importance of creating a budget cannot be overestimated. This is regardless of whether you’re looking for ways to better manage your finances in general or for specific ways on how to reduce living expenses. A budget gives you a Tracking your income and expenses regularly is the first step towards reducing expenses. It helps you make more informed decisions on where you can cut back on unnecessary spending and free up cash that can be put towards more important things.

It may seem like it’s not worth saving a few hundred dollars every month. But every dollar you save will boost your savings. When you add it up at the end of the year, you’ll be glad you did. For example, if you save just $100 a month in 2022, you would have saved a total of $1,200 at the end of 2022. Those are substantial savings!

If you’ve never created a budget or set a financial plan before, you’ll find this article very useful – Creating A Budget For 2022.

#2 – Automate Bill Payments 

Do you have student loans or a mortgage to pay off? How do you keep track of the due dates and repayment amounts every month? Do you miss payment deadlines and end up paying fees and interest on the late payments?

Not only is keeping track of payments stressful and time-consuming, it is also costing you in more ways than one. Every time you miss a deadline, the fees and interest eat into your savings and increase your overall debt load. These missed payments also end up damaging your credit score, making it more difficult for you to get low cost loans in the future.

A better way to handle your debts and reduce expenses in 2022 is to set up automated bill payments. When you set up automated payments, the amount due is transferred directly from a designated account to the lender on the specified date. You don’t need to keep track of due dates and repayment amounts. In addition, most lenders offer a rate discount on auto payments, which lowers the cost of the loan.

Setting up automatic payments on all your debts is the easiest way to reduce monthly expenses in 2022.

#3- Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is the most expensive of all types of debt. If you miss a credit card payment, you’ll pay a high interest rate on the outstanding. This interest keeps accruing until it is fully cleared. If you’re dealing with several types of debt, always pay off your credit card debt first so you’re not throwing money away on high interest.

Remember, paying off your credit card balance will not reduce your expenses directly. That requires you to stop spending on unnecessary purchases. However, it does help lower your expenses indirectly. Paying off credit card debt reduces the money you’re throwing away on high interest and increases your savings.

You can use either the snowball or avalanche method to pay off credit card debt. The snowball method involves paying off your smallest debts first. This helps to reduce the number of debts you have to deal with. The avalanche method involves paying off the highest interest debt first and then paying off the second-highest debt. The avalanche method is far better as it helps you save the most money in interest fees.

#4- Refinance Some or All of Your Loans

Refinancing your loans is definitely something you should consider when exploring how to reduce expenses and save money. This involves exchanging your current loans for a new loan. The new loan will have completely different terms and conditions and a new interest rate. So how does that help you reduce expenses in 2022?

Interest rates on loans are typically linked to your credit score. The higher your score, the lower the rate you’re likely to pay when you take a student loan or mortgage. If your score has improved since you first took the loan, you may qualify for a lower interest rate than what you’re currently paying. Even a marginal drop in the rate can mean substantial savings in accrued interest over the life of the loan. The lower interest rate will lower your monthly payments.

Leveraging your improved credit score to refinance in 2022 is a win-win. It not only reduces the total cost of the loan but also reduces your monthly expenses.

#5 – Use A Prepaid Card

While credit cards can be incredibly useful and convenient, there’s no denying that they make it easy to overspend on impulse purchases. Love something you see in a store window but don’t have the cash to buy it? Just whip out your credit card and swipe it. The problem with having a credit card in your wallet is that you end up giving in to temptation all too easily.

If you find yourself regularly overspending and missing payments on your credit card, consider ditching it and using a prepaid card instead. With a prepaid card, you load your own money onto the card. The money you’ve loaded to the card becomes your spending limit. You cannot spend more than that even if you want to. Every time you use it, the money gets deducted from the balance. When the balance on the card is zero, you have to load more cash onto it to top up the balance.

When you use a prepaid card you’re limited to using only money that you already have. This means you can’t go over the limit or overspend. This is one of the most effective ways to curb unnecessary spending and reduce expenses.

Not sure where to start with creating a plan to reduce expense in 2022?  This articles will help you get started:

What Financial Goals Should You Set For 2022?

How To Set Savings Goals For 2022