When you decide it’s time to make savings, you might think there’s nothing to cut and you’re stuck where you are.
But with detailed budgeting and some out-of-the-box thinking, there are always ways to reduce your monthly expenses.
Here are some of the things I’ve done to ‘trim the fat’ …
- Change Your Cable Package
Cable remains one of the biggest US household expenses. Yet even if you’re not ready to cut the cord and rely solely on the likes of Netflix, calling them to say you’re considering doing so may be enough to get a discount.
It’s also worth looking at more affordable packages. Are you really watching all those movies and sports? I personally found myself watching highlights of games online.
- Change Your Cellphone Plan
Many of us choose the best cell phone plan so we don’t have to think about it, but do you really need unlimited data and the extra costs that come with it? You’d be surprised how often you actually connect to Wi-Fi and how little you actually watch video with your data when out of the house.
Check out a more mid-range plan or do the old “I’m considering leaving” trick and see if they can give you a small discount on your current plan.
- Be Energy Efficient
Powering your home is a necessity but there are several things you can do today that can save you money in the long-run.
If you haven’t already moved over to energy efficient CFL and LED light bulbs, now’s the time as they can save you between $60 and $125 per bulb over their life-span.
Unplugging you electronics at night can save up to $100 annually, and you can save up to 3% on your heating bill just by turning down the thermostat by one degree!
- Borrow Strategically
A constant high level of credit card debt is never a good idea. Instead borrow only when you need to and know you can afford it. Payday loans from reputable sites like ElcLoans can give you breathing room when facing unexpected expenses. The amounts are also small and you’re not locked in to a long-term commitment, like other forms of credit.
- Stop Dining Out and Buying Lunch
Whether you like evening meals at restaurants, buy your lunch while at work or are a takeout addict, you’re burning money if you don’t spend some of your days a week consuming food you’ve prepared at home with raw ingredients – or at least bulk bought supermarket products.
There’s always a cost in terms of time and effort, but making food can also be fun, healthier and you’re going to feel much better when you have extra money at your disposal.
- Use Public Transport
A vehicle is a hard thing to let go of and many of us simply can’t do it for practical reasons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save on gas by using public transport, walking or cycling when possible.
If however you do live and work in a city without other obligations, relying solely on public transport is not such a stretch and imagine the amount you’d save by not having to make car payments or pay for insurance and gas.
- Workout at Home
If you’re a workout fanatic, going to the gym has its obvious benefits – not least the range of equipment. Yet gym memberships can be quite the monthly cost, and for those of us that are just trying to burn calories and stay in shape it might not be worth it.
Weights and other basic exercise equipment are not expensive and can easily be used at home. Furthermore, walking, jogging and cycling can be done outside in the glory of nature for free!
- Buy Generic Branded Food and Household Items
Some brands we can’t live without. We legitimately like the taste or quality. But does this apply to everything? Make a list of what you buy on a monthly basis and ask yourself whether a generic unbranded version would really make a difference to you.
One area it will make a difference is your bank balance.
- Use Coupons and Offers
Sunday newspaper coupons are still thriving and you can easily find printable and digital ones online as well. Every supermarket also reduces prices on select products every week.
If you give yourself some time, you can plan your shopping trip based around these offers and coupons to maximize savings.
- Brew Your Own Coffee
Giving up coffee – that would be impossible – but brewing your own and bringing it to the office in a flask instead of using the machine or going to Starbucks will bring you savings every day.
A $4 latte might not seem much at the time, but that’s $1,460 at the end of the year!
For not much more you can buy 30 Oz of ground coffee from the store.
- Sell Unwanted Items
That cocktail making set you got for Christmas but never used, those unworn clothes you forgot to return, your comic book collection that you never intend to read again, can all be sold online or the old fashioned way. All of us can find something we don’t want but somebody else might.
Unfortunately when most people realize it’s time to get rid of their oldest junk, it’s literally just old junk.
Of course, some old junk can still make you some money on eBay or at a yard sale, but keeping in a constant mindset of selling unwanted and unused items asap will be more beneficial.
Finished that book? Get rid of it. Upgraded your cell phone? Sell your old one before it’s obsolete. Completed those video games a few times? Trade them in.