10 Simple Things to Reduce Your Monthly Budget
If you are looking to lower your monthly bills, cut your spending habits down, or even do as I did and try to live a more simple life rather than a 1st world “I’m worthy of all material objects” type life, there are a few simple things you can do. No one should ever be spending outside of their means, but most of us do and sometimes without even knowing that we are.
Try to do one or all of these budget reduction items and see how quickly you free up money. Get on the fast track to living a more simple, debt free life.
1) LOSE THE CABLE! Seriously, my husband and I have not had cable television in almost 10 years. What’s the point? So what if you have access to over 200 channels. The truth is, everyone sticks to their four or five favorite channels and all the other programs get lost. Basic television typically offers your favorite channels…I can almost guarantee it. Besides, all the time you save NOT watching TV is far more valuable than the money you will be saving.
2) STOP STREAMING NETFLIX! Okay, you probably think I am crazy that #1 was to lose cable and now I am asking you to give up streaming movies. But seriously folks…there is no need to waste away in front of that boob tube. If you want to be entertained with movies from time to time, why not change your Netflix plan to receiving a DVD or two in the mail? You will save money and gain time.
3) PAY DOWN THAT DEBT! I am not an expert here since I have never owned a credit card or had loans that I could not afford. I will tell you though that I know it is possible to ask for debt reduction. Pick up that phone and ask for a credit card rate reduction or if you can consolidate loans or even if you qualify for refinancing your home mortgage or car loan. You never know what type of help you will get allowing you to feel more financially free. Just ask.
4) STOP THOSE NASTY HABITS! How often do you compromise your health because you spent money on a nasty habit? Stop smoking, reduce your social drinking dates and for heavens sake, there is no need to eat out ALL the time. Maybe you don’t do any of these things. Good on you. If you do, just stop. Save your wallet and your life.
5) PUT THAT PHONE DOWN! How often do you really use your phone? I use mine all the time, but I have the very lowest plan possible for what I use my phone for. Do you? If you contact your provider and have them review your usage, they may offer you a lower rate based on what you are truly using, minutes and data. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
6) CHANGE YOUR SHOPPING HABITS! I’m not talking about grocery shopping here, I will get to that. I am talking about shopping just to stay entertained. I used to do this all the time. I would go out with my girls just to get out of the house. Before you know it, I had spent several hundred dollars on random items like clothes, shoes, manicures, candles, etc. None of which I needed or even wanted for that matter. It was just fun. Fun, but silly. All that money could have gone to my child’s college fund.
7) CHANGE YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING HABITS! Everyone needs to eat. When you shop for food, do you buy in bulk? Do you buy fresh? Do you buy weekly? Do you buy per meal? Do you have favorite foods that you could be growing at home? Pre-made, preservative loaded foods are pricey because you don’t have to work hard at preparing your meal. Stay away from those items. If you buy fresh and only what you need for the meals you plan on eating, you can save a ton of money. Plus, you can make more of the meal and freeze the left-overs for another day. Get smart when it comes to grocery shopping.
8) UNDERSTAND YOUR HOME BETTER! Did you know that you can do some really small things around your home to reduce your electricity bill? Unplug devices that aren’t being used. Install a water heater blanket around your water heater to save the heat. Change all your light-bulbs to compact fluorescent’s or LED. Seal your home to eliminate air coming in and out through cracks. Try installing a solar panel. There are upfront costs to this, but the return on investment is great! There are many more ways to reduce your electricity. Do your research and try some out.
Okay, the last two options to reduce your monthly budget are quite extreme and are only for those of you who are looking to make some serious changes in their lives like I did. Hold on tight folks.
9) QUIT YOUR DAY JOB! If you have kids, or want to have kids, or are looking to live a life that isn’t built around a Monday through Friday, 9-5 job, you need to quit. First off, day care is expensive and having other people raise you child is not fun. Secondly, the money you earn at work is less valuable than the joy you feel when you actually LIVE.
I always find this theory funny: You go to work for someone else, earn money to pay for gas to get to work and to get home to a house you have to pay for but only live in for a few hours every night. The rest of your money is spent on food and clothing in order to survive at your job. Isn’t that just plain dumb? So, again, take the risk, quit your day job and see how your life and budget change.
10) MOVE SOMEWHERE INEXPENSIVE! I used to live in Milwaukee Wisconsin where my annual property taxes were nearly 85% higher than were I moved to, Middle Tennessee. In addition, there aren’t any income taxes in my new home state which allows me to earn more money. Trust me folks, there are options out there for housing cost reductions. Moving is extreme, but maybe it is exactly what you need in order to change your life, financially and joyfully.
So what are you currently doing to reduce your monthly budget? Let me know with a comment.