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It can often seem like your monthly income flows right back out. If you feel like your money is gone before you even have a chance to choose where it goes, you may need to get a handle on your finances. Regular monthly expenses can fill  your budget easily, leaving less money to spend now and save for the future. To start using your money how you want, here are some ways to make a big dent in your spending.

1. Refinance Your Home

If your monthly mortgage payment is costing more than you can afford, refinancing might help. This is where you get a new loan on your home with new terms. This new loan can change the length of your loan, help you acquire a better, lower interest rate and change the cost of your monthly payment. You can use a refinance calculator to compare current monthly mortgage payments to a new, refinanced monthly payment would be and see how much you could save. Keep in mind that a strong credit score will be needed to make a refinance a money saver for you. You can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

2. Consolidate Debt

If being in debt is draining your wallet and your energy, you may be looking for a way to lower the amount you owe each month. If you have many different debts, you may want to consolidate. This can effectively lower your interest rate, simplify monthly payments and get you back in the black faster. You can consolidate debts to one monthly payment with a balance transfer, personal loan or line of credit, home equity loan, debt management plan or retirement loan. Not all these options are the right move for everyone but in certain circumstances they can help you get control over your debt.

3. Go Green

We all know that energy costs can hit hard, especially as we rely more and more on electronic devices. It can be a good idea to consider some environmentally friendly actions that will help your wallet along with the Earth. The especially lucrative savings come from compact fluorescent lights, programmable thermostats, timers and power strips. For even more, consider air sealing your home and unplugging devices when not in use.

4. Revisit Insurance Premiums

Insurance is a necessary cost to protect you against the unexpected, but when we overpay for these services, we leave ourselves vulnerable in another way – to financial troubles. It’s important to make sure that your choices are the best for your lifestyle and circumstances. You may want to shop around for health, homeowner, auto and life insurance options. It can be a good idea to review your insurance options from time to time to make sure you are still getting the coverage you need at the best price.

5. Cook for Yourself

Eating out and ordering in can seem like a real timesaver, but the expense is far from negligible. You can cut food bills by cooking and packing your own meals at home. To save even more, try making meals in bulk and freezing some for future meals. You can also get store-brand or generic products for significantly less money than name brand items. To go a step further, consider starting a garden and growing your own fruits and vegetables if you have the space.

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