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Cutting Expenses

You may still find yourself short on money to pay your bills even after tracking your expenses and cutting back. This is even more likely to happen if your hours at work get cut or you’re temporarily out of work.

Here are some tips and suggestions that can help you try to match what’s going out with what’s coming in. They focus on ways to decrease spending or uses of income and other financial resources. Not all of these may apply to you.

What to do

  • Review the strategies for cutting expenses below and think about if they're realistic for you
  • Use the strategies you can commit to and plan for getting more information or resources
  • Share options you've identified with others in your household and start implementing the strategies as soon as possible
Cutting Expenses
  Expense Strategy

Car expenses

  • I will renew my license and registration on time to avoid late fees
  • I will get regular oil changes and keep my tires inflated to reduce car repair expenses

Eating out

  • I will bring lunch to work instead of buying it
  • I will avoid buying fountain drinks
  • I will find out if local restaurants have cost-saving specials like "kids eat free" and will check what's included

Financial services fees

  • I will research if my accounts charge maintenance fees, ATM or overdraft fees, or fees to cash checks
  • I will look into switching to lower-fee or no-fee accounts
  • I will switch to a different credit card with no, or a lower, annual fee

Furniture and clothing

  • I will buy clothing and furniture second-hand or wait for sales

Groceries and supplies

  • I will use coupons
  • I will join with other family or friends to buy groceries and supplies in bulk

Home energy expenses

  • I will find out if I'm eligible for energy assistance, weatherization programs or discounted utility rates
  • I will set my thermostat lower during the winter and higher during the summer
  • I will unplug appliances when not using them


  • I will increase the deductible on my car insurance to lower my premium payment
  • I will ask about a good student discount for the young driver in my family
  • I will check rates at other companies and look for discounts for moving home and car insurance coverage to one company

Late fees

  • I will pay bills on time to avoid penalties or late fees
  • I will request a new due date for some of my bills to make them better align with my income


  • I will cancel my gym membership if I don't use it regularly
  • I will cancel discount store memberships if I don't use them


  • I will check to see if I qualify for a "lifeline" phone rate
  • I will consider prepaid or fixed-rate plans

TV and internet

  • I will check with my providers about lower-cost plans
  • I will discontinue my cable or streaming services
Cutting Expenses Workbook
Download this fillable PDF to help you have money for what you need most.


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