6 Budget Cutting Ideas to Save Your Household Money
Sometimes times get tough. Whether you’ve lost a job or have had your income reduced, or are simply trying to save more money, knowing how to cut your budget is key to surviving in a difficult economy. There are some ways to help your household make ends meet, even if they seem far apart. Of course, there’s no such thing as saving without some sacrifice, but these tips won’t require you to give up too much.
1. Write a Budget
You can’t cut a budget if you don’t actually have one in the first place. Most people live based on a general feeling. They look at how much is in their account and guesstimate expenses until the end of the month. This is dangerous!
You need to write down a budget. The best way to do that is to spend as you normally do for a month, but keep every single receipt. Each day, log how much you spent in a spreadsheet. By the end of the month, you should be able to get a clear picture of how much money your household spends on each individual item. From there, you can make changes.
2. Ditch Expensive Habits
If you’ve properly identified your expenses, then it’s time to cut out some of your more expensive habits. These can be small things that you do frequently or pricier items that you do less often. For example, a morning coffee might only cost $2-3 but multiplied over the course of a month you could be looking at enough to pay a phone bill.
Eating out and entertainment activities like going to the movies tend to be quite expensive. Instead, look for ways to spice up your at-home leisure. Try a new recipe once a week instead of going out to eat. Have a family movie night instead of the theater. If you want to treat yourself, keep an eye out for Groupon offers or other special deals. You’ll enjoy it more when you spend less.
3. Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
These days most internet services are subscription-based, and each one adds up. Do you really need them all? Between music streaming, premium video services, news sites, cloud storage apps, and more, you could be paying more than you realize. Take a good look at your subscriptions and root out the ones you don’t use often.
Likewise, if you have a subscription for Netflix, cut your cable! If you have unlimited mobile internet, you might be able to get away without a land connection for a while by using your phone as a modem. Rid yourself of redundancy whenever possible.
4. Shop Smarter
Money is easily wasted at the supermarket or at the mall, or even online. Make a list and stick to it. Try to buy more affordable brands rather than the premium ones. Shop around! Don’t just assume that Amazon has the best price. You might be able to find a local store that has a better deal or another online retailer. If you have a store credit card, you might be able to get savings by using it. Just be sure to pay it off immediately so you don’t rack up interest.
Secondhand items are also a great way to save money. We’ve been conditioned by advertisers and society that buying new is the only way to go, but buying used is nothing to be ashamed of. An old refrigerator or microwave can still run for years, and resale shops make buying clothes far more affordable.
5. Refinance Debt
If debt has you down, then consider refinancing. Credit card debt can be easily rolled into a single payment, often at a lower interest rate. Mortgage rates are extremely low right now, meaning that you might be able to get a better deal if you bought a home even as little as 5 years ago.
6. Reconsider Transportation
Although cars are often the only way to get around, consider how you use them and if you can reduce their usage. Despite the low cost of gas, maintenance costs accumulate in the background and are rarely accounted for. If you have two people driving, can you readjust your schedules so that only one person drives?
Look for carpools in your area, or try public transportation one day a week if possible. Use a bike for short trips. These small adjustments can result in serious savings over time, plus they might even be good for your health.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas of how you can reduce costs in your budget. Above all, it requires discipline and consistency. But no matter who you are or how you live, there’s always room to cut back!