Money Saving Tips - Start by Cutting Expenses
There are two adjustments you can make to improve your monthly cash-flow:
- Earn more money
- Reduce your expenses
Without dismissing the value of finding a higher paying job, asking your boss for a raise, turning a skill into a side-hustle, or finding ways to increase your passive income, it is far easier and faster to focus on ways you can cut your spending to reduce your monthly expenses. Use the money saving tips below to improve your cash-flow. That will open up a range of ways to improve your financial health, such as paying down debt or putting it into an emergency savings fund, a retirement account, or using it for investments.
None of the following money saving tips are revolutionary. That doesn't lessen there effectiveness. If you could benefit from some extra cash in your budget, take the time to put at least a couple of these ideas in action.
Cut the Cable - There are pros and cons to everything. You may love the ability to choose from a vast number of programs that come with your Cable TV package. Nothing wrong with that. Still, look at the amount of money you can save if you get rid of cable and watch what is available through Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or some other service or by connecting your TV to the internet. Of course, the number of choices drops, but you will have plenty of options to watch high quality shows to fill any reasonable amount of TV viewing. If the amount comes to $50 or $60 a month or more, maybe that will motivate a change.
Reassess Your Insurance - Insurance is a crucial part of good financial health. You want to protect yourself and your family from potential shocks that come with unexpected, unwanted events. Still, it is throwing money away if you don't review your coverage and make sure it is right for your age, the age of your spouse and any financial dependents. Are you over-insured based on your current family needs? Look at all your insurance policies for savings. Do you have more collision insurance than you need, based on the value of your cars? When was the last time you checked your life insurance? If you have a healthy family maybe a lower monthly premium would put more money in your pocket at the end of the year even if there are higher out-of-pocket costs for any medical care?
Paying to Get Into Shape - Gym memberships are notorious for being paid for when they are not being used. That isn't saying that you shouldn't pay for a membership, but you sure as heck shouldn't pay for one that isn't being used. Be honest with yourself, if paying for it hasn't motivated you to use it yet, will it moving forward? If you are using it, consider whether you have other ways you can maintain an exercise regimen that would cost less.
Expressing Love Materially - We live in a consumer society. Reality is that giving gifts is an ingrained part of birthdays, the holidays (whatever tradition you follow), anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day... It can be fun to give gifts and to receive them, and it is a bit extreme to suggest that it is all useless consumption. What makes sense is finding gifts that show you care about or love the recipient. Don't equate a high price and a quality gift.
Bid "Bye-bye" to Bad Habits- Still smoking? What are you waiting for to stop? Not only are cigarettes bad for your health (duh) but they cost a pretty penny. Don't let addiction stand in your way. Check with your employer and healthcare provider regarding smoking cessation programs. Because non-smokers have lower healthcare costs and miss fewer work days, the costs for the program may be subsidized or free. Smoking isn't the only bad habit out there. Think about bad habits you have (you probably know them better than anyone else), the costs associated with it, and what you could do with the money you spend to maintain the bad habit.
Data, Data, Data - Looked at your cellphone bill lately? Compared it to other coverage options out there? Look at the amount of data you use monthly and determine if you are paying for a data package with more Gigs than you need. Don't just stop with data, compare you coverage. It doesn't take long to get comparison offers from other providers. Maybe you can save by bundling your cellphone with your internet? Cell bills are an area where, depending on your current agreement, you could save a significant amount each month.
Restaurant - Eating out is an expense makes every list like this one. There is a reason for that. Eating out is not cheap, even at inexpensive restaurants. If stopping going out entirely seems extreme,like a punishment, at least cut back on how often you go. If there are nights when the need is great to have someone else cook for you, you can reduce your costs of eating out by getting food to go, saving the 15-20% that you tip (and if you tip less for good service, well, I guess you never waited tables).
Food Costs - When it comes to your monthly grocery bills, do you even know how much you spend? Tracking your expenses is a great place to start. Food costs are probably one of your higher monthly household costs. There is almost no one who couldn't reduce food costs and still eat healthy, tasty meals. It takes practice, but a quick internet search for "healthy inexpensive menu" will give you a wealth of useful and valuable information.
Shop for Sales - If you can buy the exact same item for less, why not? Yes, it takes time to be a clever shopper, but less so than in days past. There are a number of apps and websites that make it easy to find bargains. Finding them is a simple search away. Using them takes willpower, as you won't save money if you start buying things you wouldn't otherwise have purchased.
Entertainment - It is easy to spend a lot on entertainment. A trip to the movies for a family of four can easily run over $80 with tickets, a drink, and popcorn. (Yes, you could cut out some of the food.) Fortunately, there is no shortage of quality entertainment options that won't break the bank. Going to the beach or on a hike when the weather is nice. Check out free music at summer festivals. Look for deals on sites like Living Social. Check with your employer to see if they or a payroll company they use have entertainment discounts to local attractions. Feeling old-fashioned, go to the library and read a book.
If you are carrying credit card debt, it usually comes with a high interest rate. See if you can pay off your debt and save money doing so. Use the Bills.com Debt Payoff Calculator, a free tool, to find the best way for your individual situation.