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3 simple ways to save an extra $200 every month

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We could all use a little extra money at the end of the month to put towards paying off debt, goals like travel, or big purchases like a home or a car. But coming up with that extra cash can be difficult, especially if you don't have time for a side hustle.

Here are three simple tips to help you end up with an extra $200 per month.

1. Try a weekly 'no-spend day'

Americans spend $164.55 each day on items such as groceries, gas, and going out, on average, according to a report by GOBankingRates.com. One way to have more cash at the end of the month is to go cold turkey on spending for at least one day each week, or more frequently if you can manage it.

A "no-spend" day requires a little planning. You'll need to make sure you've purchased essentials like groceries or gas beforehand in order to hold off on spending for a certain block of time.

The results can be significant, though. Just one day of skipping a morning latte and bringing lunch could save you $15. Do that once a week, and you've got a savings of $60 over the course of the month. More if you're able to eliminate a couple of dinners out or impulse shopping trips on those days, too. That could bring you to more like $160 a month.

Beauty vlogger Serein Wu recently shared how her no-spend year helped her curb mindless spending. "I have noticed when I'm lonely or bored, it can be harder to resist," she told Grow. "But I am also now completely capable of walking into a mall and walking out empty-handed."

No-spend days are also a strategy recommended by blogger Kristin Larsen of BelieveInABudget.com. When you get the urge to splurge, come up with a strategy to help you stay on track, even if that means locking your credit card away in drawer, she suggests.

"Seeing the effect that no-spend days have on our budget helps me get a better idea of where our money is going," says Larsen. "If we can just rein it in a couple of times a month and save $100-$200 dollars, that's still a lot of money."

Potential savings: $60-$160

Seeing the effect that no-spend days have on our budget helps me get a better idea of where our money is going.
Kristin Larsen
BelieveInABudget.com

2. Spend less on gas

If you have your own vehicle and want to cut down on the cost of gas, consider carpooling with colleagues who live in your area, taking public transportation, or getting creative about how you travel to and from work.

On average, Americans spend $5.39 on gas each day, according to the GOBankingRates study. If you work about 20 business days each month, that could be nearly $110 spent on gas. Even if you get that down by half, you could save a bundle.

If you have a short commute, or live in a city where you don't need a car a lot of the time, it may also be cost-effective to ditch the car altogether and instead rent when necessary or use ride-sharing applications like Uber or Lyft. You'd also save on monthly car and insurance payments. Prices vary by location, but you can request a ride estimate for your city on Uber's price estimator.

Potential savings: $55

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How to lower your monthly bills

3. Negotiate monthly bills

Daniella Flores, a side hustle expert, says she was able to cut down on car insurance by $150 each month for her and her wife after shopping around for a better rate. "Just by calling other companies and asking around for a cheaper rate, we were able to switch over to a different company and now pay $98 for two people," she says.

You can apply this strategy to negotiate other monthly expenses, too. Sometimes, all you need to do is pick up the phone and ask your cellphone or cable provider for a cheaper rate. For example, earlier this year, one of our Grow reporters negotiated her family's packaged internet, phone, and cable bundle, saving $55 per month.

Make sure to review your phone bill for any unexpected increases or expired introductory offers and have a list of lower rates from other companies to see if your provider will match them or offer you an even lower price.

Potential savings: $55

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