When you want to save money, most people turn their attention to subscriptions and unnecessary expenses, like eating out or going to the movies. But running a household consumes far more income than you'd expect.

The April 2019 USDA Food Plan states that a low-cost meal budget for a family of four ranges from $566 to a whopping $1295. Additional household expenses including cable, utilities, phone bills and car insurance can make it hard to save any money, let alone establish reliable savings.

If you're ready to cut some corners and leave more money in your bank account each month, here are three ways to reduce your monthly household costs.

1. Shop at Stores with Rewards Programs
Many supermarkets offer free rewards memberships that allow you to accumulate points and earn credit toward your grocery bill. Customer loyalty program companies can also give you greater savings on weekly sales, which may not even be applied to your total unless you're a rewards member.

2. Buy Essentials In-Bulk
Wholesale stores like Costco and BJ's are great for buying large quantities of your household staples. Paper towels, dish soap, laundry detergent and snacks for school lunches can be purchased in bigger amounts for less money.

Buying more at once saves you money and time as you require less trips to the supermarket.

3. Switch to Streaming Services

You can cut a large portion of your cable bill by removing TV services and only paying for internet. To watch TV shows and movies, sign up for a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, which you can still play on your television but costs much less than a standard cable package.

A Netflix monthly subscription costs $9 to $16, while Hulu is $6 to $12. Each one has its own unique offerings, including original series and family-friendly selections.

Even if you paid for a premium account to both services, you'd still spend less than $30 a month, compared to the average $85 monthly cable bill.

Save Where It Counts

Look to the areas you spend the greatest amount of money and start there. You can't live without toilet paper, but could you buy a more affordable brand? Plan your budget around sales and alternatives so you can maximize the value of your purchases while increasing your savings.

Reducing household expenses is also a great opportunity to refocus and evaluate your current budget. The decision to shop and use items more consciously is a great lesson in self-discipline that your children can benefit from as well.

Author's Bio: 

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.