Almost everybody is looking to live within a budget these days, either to live in the manner they would like or to save for a specific life goal, such as a wedding or college. Certain aspects of a budget can be difficult to stick to, including the need for new items to replace old ones, but small changes can be made to a budget that can make a big difference to life as a whole.
Here are 7 ways that you can cut certain expenses from your budget –
1. Fast Food:
The average four person household will rack up over $800 a month on food bills, with over $200 of that money going to eating out at restaurants for lunch and dinner. The first step to take is to look at the ways you are entertaining yourself, which could include a large number of dinners and lunches bought at fast food chains and restaurants. Simply by choosing to buy food at the grocery store and cooking foods at home the expenses of a budget can be slashed by a large amount.
2. Movies & Entertainment:
The cost of a trip to the movies is becoming increasingly more expensive. Between gas for the car, food/snacks, drinks, and tickets, it can cost a family of four somewhere around $80-$100. Instead, opt for family game night or watching a DVD at home. You can rent (or even borrow for free from the library) movies or your favorite television shows on DVD. Check out cheap alternatives like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Not only will you save money, but you might enjoy it even more because of fewer distractions at home than with an audience in a movie theater.
3. Cable/Satellite TV:
How much time do you actually spend watching the latest shows on traditional TV and cable options? This is the question you must ask yourself when looking to slash expenses from your budget. Cable bills average around $100-$120 per month, but streaming services are generally added to the home entertainment options that make cable an unnecessary expense. Streaming the TV via the Internet can see a huge saving made each month in terms of home entertainment. Take a look at your bill and look at the programs/channels you actually watch. Cut out any unnecessary extras and movie channels to bring your costs down. If necessary, you may want to eliminate cable or satellite altogether. Check out these options besides cable and satellite TV!
4. Cell Phone Service:
Take a look at the cell phone service you are using for your personal telephone needs. Oftentimes, non-contract plans are cheaper than a two year deal, and often use the same towers and networks as major providers. Up to $50 per month can be saved by investigating the options available in non-contract phone services. If you’d rather stick with your service provider, there are still ways to save money every month on your bill. Check out some of these options and tips: https://www.advantageccs.org/articles/lower-your-cell-phone-bill
5. Utility Bills:
How comfortable do you like to keep your home in terms of the temperature? In colder months of the year, many people push the temperature higher to stay as warm as possible. However, a three percent saving is available on a utility bill for every degree the temperature is lowered in the cooler months. A similar saving is also available for cooling equipment in the warmer months. It’s a good idea to have a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. They are pretty easy to install and can help you save money every month on your energy bills.
You will want to take a look at the memberships and clubs you are affiliated with, which could reveal an annual payment is being made for not much in return. Gym memberships are one of the top ways money is wasted when the gym is no longer being used regularly. If you are only using the gym once or twice a week, it’s not worth it to continue paying high monthly membership fees. Instead, check out how much it would cost to take exercise classes at your local community center, YMCA, or purchase DVDs for at-home workouts.
If you pay full price for your medications or use your insurance co-pay, you can still save up to 75% by asking for the generic version of that medication. Generic drugs frequently come from the same plant as their more expensive brand-name counterparts. Many big pharmaceutical producers own those generic companies as well. Don’t just assume your doctor knows which drugs have a generic equivalent. You should always ask your pharmacist and make sure it makes sense to go generic. You could also check out prescription discount cards that will also help you save money. Like this discount card: http://www.drugs.com/discount-card/
When trying to get out of credit card debt, it is wise to pay more than the minimum due each month. If you don’t have the funds to pay more than the minimum, try cutting some of your other monthly costs to free up funds to apply towards your debt. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you cut your budget down and allow you to free up some additional money each month.
If you find yourself struggling to keep up with your debt payments, contact Advantage CCS. We are a National Non-Profit Credit Counseling Agency that is committed to helping our clients become debt free. Certified credit counselors are available via telephone, online, or in person.