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If you're like many people making ends meet in the city, you'd certainly appreciate a way to lower your bills and save a little extra cash each month. But monthly bills can often feel as if they're set in stone — you need heat and electricity, food, and a means of transportation. Fortunately, finding some of the best ways to save money on your monthly expenses is easier than ever.

Additionally, some of that money saved each month can go to extra payments for student loans or a mortgage, reducing extra interest charges, and setting aside even more for savings. No matter your motivations, read on to learn more about the creative tactics you can use to cut down on your monthly expenses.

Invest in a Smart Thermostat and Efficient Lighting

Utilities can add up to a hefty monthly payment — an average of $171.38 in the Portland area. While a smart thermostat may seem like an unnecessary luxury, it can actually help you reliably save money month to month. Such devices are able to track when you're active in your home and set automatic heating/cooling schedule so that your AC or heater doesn't waste energy. Some models will also provide tips and adjustments so that you can save even more over time. Combine these with efficient LED lighting (LED lights can fit inside traditional incandescent sockets), and you will be spending less money on utilities than ever.

Think About Your Meals, And Plan Accordingly

Take careful stock of your kitchen supplies. Think about how you eat at home, how often you make your own meals, and the sort of foods you like to eat. Your goals for this process are simple:

  • Identify Ways to Cook at Home: Making your own food is a great way to save money. If you dine out several times a week, try to reduce that to just a couple of times. If you want to eat with friends, invite them over for a home-cooked meal or even a potluck where everyone can bring a dish.
  • Find the Ingredients You Use Most: Buy these items in bulk at a Costco or other local bulk food outlet. Buying in bulk this way will help you save money into the future — as long as you're buying supplies that you and your family will actually eat.
  • Adopt a New Cooking Experience: Consider investing in some tools for the kitchen that will inspire you to cook at home more or make the experience easier. Items like a pressurized cooker, a slow cooker, or even a sous vide device are all used by professional chefs to create delicious and creative meals.

Rethink Your Transportation Options

No matter where you live, it's worth it to think about your transportation costs. Cars, in particular, can be a monthly drain with gas, insurance, and car loan payments (not to mention a potential theft target). Portland is incredibly friendly to bicycles and if you can reach all of your necessary destinations with a bike, you might want to consider giving up your car. If you travel a lot during the day, remember that TriMet public transportation is $5 per day or $100 each month.

Finding ways to cut costs on your monthly expenses will probably require a few adjustments and maybe even some upfront investments, but soon you'll be saving more than ever before. When it doubt use financial wellness tools to help you stay on track and keep an eye on your spending.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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