There are many avenues for consumers to secure additional funding when they are in need. Examples of moments when people require a loan can be anything from purchasing a mortgage to ending up in a financial bind and needing a cash injection. Luckily, options are available more often than not.

However, there are also times when consumers turn to loans without necessarily needing them, simply because they have too much of a financial burden on their plate. Taking out loans when the expenses are already too high could be an immediate solution. People need to have a plan to reduce expenses on their own, rather than always adding to the mix.

Take a Look at Monthly Requirements
Consumers have monthly expenses that they may have been paying so long they don’t even consider any longer. These are the items that should be taken into account when finding ways to reduce payments. By taking another look at monthly finances and really analyzing where money is going, consumers can make logical decisions about eliminating some of their expenses and lower their payments. There are many common factors that should be taken into consideration when it comes to removing monthly expenditures. Check out four here:

1. Reconsider Subscriptions and Memberships
A large allotment of many people’s monthly demand come in the form of subscriptions. These can come in many different forms, from magazines to cable to having a membership at a gym. But how often are these resources or outlets for entertainment actually being used? If consumers were to add up all the money they spend on subscriptions and memberships a month, they would likely be surprised.

According to The Simple Dollar, there are other avenues that can be utilized for entertainment or working out. For example, individuals can open a library card and check out their favorite magazines or journals, provided the library carries them. Additionally, with many people turning to Netflix and other streaming sources for shows and movies, the idea of a cable bill is becoming more of a hindrance than a sought after option. Chances are, many people who cannot get past cable also have a streaming account of some type, which means they are paying twice, or maybe three times for various sources of the same style of entertainment content.

2. Increase Energy Efficiency
In the past, some consumers were hesitant to purchase certain energy-efficient products, such as light bulbs, because they are more expensive than their standard counterparts. While this is true more often than not, having energy-efficient light bulbs or appliances in a home will reduce monthly bills, allowing for additional savings with each payment. Additionally, consumers could reduce the initial price of these items if they have tax credits or other incentives.

The Alliance to Save Energy noted that simple tasks such as making sure air ducts are properly sealed can improve efficiency by 20 percent, according to Bankrate. This is significant when factored in with all of the other efficiency-generated savings. While it may take a bit of time or cause consumers to spend more than they want on lights bulbs, they will understand the point when they start to see more money staying in their account each month.

3. Be More Selective About Groceries
Walking into a grocery store and simply wandering around while filling up a cart is easy. However, this doesn’t mean that consumers are getting everything they need, or necessarily preparing for specific meals. According to U.S. News & World Report, it would be advantageous for consumers to make a list with meals planned out before going to the store.

Going to the grocery store prepared will help people spend less money eating out. Additionally, if the store runs are more specific about their product selections and cater to a more focused lifestyle, then consumers will also save more money on gas because they will be making trips less frequently.

4. Constantly Update the Budget
While these items sound like small adjustments, they will collectively make quite an impact on monthly spending. However, redoing the budget one time will not be enough. People should take another look at their expenses every month to see improvement from the previous month. This might be a satisfying experience that justifies further action towards reducing spending, or it might be frustrating as individuals learn what areas they need to address that aren’t working.

Additionally, with extra money every month, consumers should save and pay down debt, whether mortgage, student loan, automobile or any other monthly expenditure they have. Securing additional funds simply to spend it on more items is not the way the way to go. This will leave them in the same position they are in now, or maybe even worse since they are feeling more confident.

Taking out a loan to address financial hurdles or desires is not something consumers should fear. There are loans of all types and they are designed to aid people in achieving their financial goals. Consumers should have confidence in their own expense habits and be in control before applying for a loan.