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With a shrinking middle class and the ever-increasing costs of day-to-day living, it should come as no surprise that most Americans are struggling financially. Here’s a snapshot of the average individual and household in America:

  • The average American has less than $1,000 in their bank account.1
  • The average American household has around $137,063 in debt.2
  • The average American household’s debt includes close to $27,000 in auto loans.3
  • The average American home is around 2,100 square feet, a 210% increase from the average home size in the 1950s.4
  • Reports show that more than 49% of us are “concerned, anxious or fearful about their current financial well-being.”5

When living paycheck-to-paycheck, “keeping up with the Joneses” may be the last thing on your mind. Instead, check out some of our ideas on how to save money and cut common costs to get yourself ahead of the game and in better shape financially than many other average households. Here are some common major costs and how to take small steps to save big:

Energy Bills

According to The Department of Energy, a typical family spends at least $2,200 a year on energy bills.6

How to save: You can save 10% to 12% on heating and up to 15% on cooling with a smart thermostat.7 If a smart thermostat isn’t in your budget, you can take steps like shutting off the lights when you leave a room or turning down the heat/AC during the day when nobody is home.

Water Usage

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses 300 gallons of water a day.8

How to save: Use less water. Turn off faucets when possible, and switch to water-efficient faucets and showerheads if possible.

Cell Phones

On average, and depending on the carrier and plan, a family of four pays $120 to $240 a month for cell phones and service.9

How to save: Keep a close eye on promotions and make sure you talk to your service provider to see how they can help you save money. As phone carriers fight to keep customers, plans are increasingly cost-competitive. Another option is prepaid plans. They offer a lower price for upfront or automatic payments.

Save on Your Commute

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17.3% of monthly expenses, or about $750 a month, are dedicated to commuting to work.10

How to save: Carpooling. Biking. Public transportation. Or ride-sharing services that you can access and use from your smartphone apps.