Ready to be a budget warrior? Slashing your way to ultimate budget savings? Or does the thought of budgeting make you shake in your boots?
I get that budgeting isn’t the most popular thing, but if I can stand on my nerdy little soap box for a second I would say that I love to budget! If I haven’t scared you off yet with my unusual declaration of budgeting love, then you must be here for some good old fashion budget advice.
Budgeting is awesome because if done right then you can end up with leftover money at the end of the month! It all comes down to the numbers coming into your bank account and the numbers leaving it. Tracking the numbers can be fun if you’re a bit nerdy like myself.
Ok, ok, I’ll get off my little soapbox and get to things you should consider cutting from your budget. These are things you should consider cutting regardless of if you are trying to pay down debt or save a little more for retirement because these things are money sinks.
Yep, your bank account is like the Titanic and these items to cut are mini icebergs, sinking your Titanic! Ok, off my nerdy movie-watching soapbox before I sink this blog post into the depths of Google.
Here are some things to cut from your monthly budget!
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10 Things to cut from your budget!
I will say having an out of sight place to store your unused items is nice. Where else am I going to keep my unused couch valued at $100 for 12 months for the low cost of $80 a month?
If you have a storage unit, then I’m going to assume you’ve had it for a while. I might venture to say that you might not be missing some of the items you keep there because you’ve been living without them for so long.
Take a moment to consider the cost of your storage unit and how much it costs you. Are the items stored in it worth the monthly fee?
At some point, you have to ditch the unit and either use the items or sell them. Only you can decide if having the unit is worth it but think about the monthly cost of the unit, how much the items mean to you, and how much you might get for selling the items.
At the very least, ask yourself if you can downsize to the next smallest unit? The more space you have, the more it costs!
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I love getting coffee out at my favorite coffee shop. They make a great iced coffee that always gets me going.
The problem with going to coffee shops is that the cost of one coffee covers the cost for me to make coffee at my home for one to two months.
Coffee shops are super convenient, but they can destroy your bank account if you aren’t careful. If you paid $4 for a cup of coffee five days a week on your way to work, then you are paying $80 a month!
For myself, I treat coffee shops as a personal treat. I only go to them maybe one or two times a month, and the rest of the time I make coffee at home.
Think about your coffee usage. Can you cut back from going to coffee shops and make it at home?
There is no doubt about how much we Americans love food. We live to eat instead of eating to live, and our bank account statements are proof that we eat out too much.
Life is busy as an adult, and we look to fast food joints for a solution. Learning meal preparation is a handy skill that can save you a lot of money. Pinterest is full of wonderful ideas for food that you can make over the weekend and eat throughout the week.
You don’t have to give up eating out altogether. However, consider tracking how much money you spend on eating out each month. You might consider making a change if you find yourself spending a lot of money on eating out each month.
I love to buy frugal cookbooks because the meals usually end up saving me a lot of grocery money! Trying new things is always interesting, sometimes I love it and sometimes I would rather never see the words butternut squash again!
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Alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol and smoking are a huge budget killer for most Americans each month. Most people pick these habits up in college and carry them into adulthood.
Bars are fun, but they are also really expensive. I have known college kids who turn 21 and go crazy at the bars without tracking how much they spend. I bet you can imagine the shock they feel when they find out they spent nearly $1,000 on alcohol in under a month.
Not only would cutting out alcohol be a potentially huge money saver for yourself, but cutting it out can do wonders for your health.
How much do you spend on alcohol or cigarettes each month? I challenge you to go a month without buying any. Don’t even think about stocking up the month before; that’s cheating!
I must say, I was shocked when I first heard of people quitting their full-time jobs to take care of their newborns. The thought was against anything I ever heard of because it was normal for each spouse to work his or her own job.
Then one day, I decided to look up the cost of child care and my jaw literally hit the floor. It now made complete sense of why so many people are choosing to quit their jobs in order to raise their child.
The cost of childcare was enough, if not more than enough, to consume one working adults entire monthly paycheck. Wouldn’t it be better to be at home with your child, teaching them your values rather than stressing out at work for no additional benefit?
For some people, such a high-income families, it does make sense to keep working because the paycheck covers the expensive child care and then some. For most people, I would recommend considering evaluating the high cost of childcare against your current income.
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Working out is awesome! If you work out on a regular basis, then I must applaud you because it isn’t easy to do with a busy schedule.
Since we live busy lives, most of us aren’t working out on a regular basis, which means our gym memberships are going unused! Gym memberships are too expensive to have and not use.
Consider dumping your membership even if you use it often. There are plenty of ways to get your exercise for free. YouTube offers a lot of different training programs. It’s just a matter of finding one you like.
If you are looking to lose weight, then you can often find a treadmill on Craigslist for cheap. If you are looking for muscle gain or strength, then there are a lot of different websites and videos on bodyweight fitness.
Music Streaming Subscriptions
I love music, but I hate paying for it when it’s so readily available for the low cost of having to listen to an advertisement every 30 minutes.
I recently heard an ad on Spotify for their premium service for $10 a month. That’s $120 a year! For some people, spending $120 a year is nothing, but I would much rather use the money for something else that I can’t get for free.
So can you deal with listening to an ad every 30 minutes and not have unlimited skips? It’s up to you but consider what else you could do with the subscription money.
Cable is something I struggle with, and I’m going to assume you do as well. We love to waste our time in front of the television because it is so entertaining. It’s a mind-numbing escape from reality, and it’s a horrible drain on our finances.
Television is a huge business. Shows are vastly entertaining because the more you watch, the more the big companies can charge for advertising. To make matters worse, cable companies know you are sucked into the drama and action so they can charge you an enormous monthly fee.
Entertaining television is so easy to get sucked into because it literally requires you to do nothing. Working long hours doesn’t help either, when was the last time you wanted to do something that required a ton of energy after a full day of work? Television keeps us awake longer at night because we have something to fill that time which prevents us from going to bed at a reasonable time.
Do you remember what life was like before we had television? I’m going to assume you probably don’t because for as long as I can remember, television has held a dominant position at the center of our living rooms.
Cutting television isn’t going to be easy, but you might find yourself having a lot more free time, connecting more with your spouse, and finding a good book to read.
At the very least, pay for a Netflix or Hulu subscription over having cable. These streaming services are way cheaper than cable. Look at your next cable bill and ask yourself if you are paying too much for cable.
Name Brand Purchases
Shopping name brand products is a very tricky situation, but if done right can save you some money each time you go to the store. You can often find quality generic brands that rival the big name brands at a fraction of the cost.
Often name brands establish themselves through clever marketing. Shockingly enough, some generic brands are really name brand products resold in different packaging and at a lower cost.
There are some name brand products you don’t want to stray away from, such as laundry detergent because no one wants to get a rash. The best thing you can do for yourself is shop around at the store and experiment switching to different generic brands. You’ll start getting a feel for what generic products you like and which ones should stay on the shelf.
Expensive Phone Contracts
Phone companies enjoy locking you into expensive phone contracts and then provide you with shoddy service. You should not hesitate to shop around for different phone service providers to get a better deal.
What really drives me crazy about phone service providers is their business marketing plans of valuing new customers over long time customers. Longtime customers really get the short end of the stick because they are stuck in a contract and the business has no reason to treat you like a decent human being.
Have you ever seen a commercial by your provider and thought it would be a really good deal for you to take advantage of? I bet you even went to the mall and stopped by their kiosk and said sign me up for the new hot deal! Sadly, the kiosk attendant informed you the deal was only for new customers. Makes you feel like a valued customer doesn’t it?
Ting.com is another option that people use to save money and they even have a savings calculator so you can estimate how much money you’ll save. If you aren’t happy with your service provider then there is no reason to stick around!
Remember, you don’t have to cut out all of these things to have a healthy budget. However, cutting a lot of these expenses will help boost your monthly budget savings to the next level.
If you’re looking for more ways to save money, consider checking out our free course on budgeting and saving money. The course is full of tips to help your family save more money each month.
What are your favorite budget items to cut for ultimate budget savings? Let me know in the comments below!