Yes, you know you need to cut down on your budget, but somehow everything looks important, and you don’t seem to have figured out the things you should cut from your budget. trust me, it can be quite a struggle, and the truth be told, you are not alone in this struggle.
Recent data shows that a shocking 74% of employees making less than $50,000 per year are living paycheck to paycheck. And the numbers are only slightly better for families in higher income brackets. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, looking out for things you should cut from your budget and finding it can make a huge difference. But when you’re just getting started, you might struggle to find places and things you should cut from your budget.
It takes determination and discipline to cut back on budget, but it doesn’t have to be difficult using simple old-trick dieters know and use all the time. That is, reducing calories where you’re unlikely to notice them, for example, reduce the amount of sugar in your coffee or butter on your toast or replace colas with water.
This works like magic for budgeters too because it is only in saving in small ways without experiencing any financial strain only then will it be easier to keep it up. The challenge is not just in knowing the things you should cut from your budget, neither is it only in starting the process but sustaining that energy until you see improvement in your saving and financial life.
Savings may be small at first, but over, say, 12 months, they add up to a substantial savings fund after one year. Then you will truly appreciate the power of saving and cutting back on budget.
If you’re looking to squeeze extra money out of your budget, trust me, you might be surprised by just how many unnecessary items are hiding out in your everyday expenses. so let’s see the 25 things you should cut from your budget.
- 1 Are You Still Wondering?
- 2 How cutting the budget helps you focus on your financial goals
- 3 Things You Should Cut From Your Budget
- 4 1. Streaming services
- 5 2. Third-party delivery apps
- 6 3. Gifts
- 7 4. Cellular Data
- 8 5. Dining Out
- 9 6. Expensive Makeup
- 10 7. Pet Insurance
- 11 8. Cut paper products (except Toilet Paper)
- 12 9. Gym membership
- 13 10. Bottled water
- 14 11. Late fees
- 15 12. New books
- 16 13. Brand-name products
- 17 14. Manicures
- 18 15. Cleaning Products
- 19 16. Car Wash
- 20 17. Premium gas
- 21 18. Coffee habit
- 22 19. Buying New Products
- 23 20. Buying Lunch
- 24 21. Cable Tv
- 25 22. Stop using credit cards
- 26 23. Shop around for insurance
- 27 24. Hair and Nail Care
- 28 25. Overdraft Fees
- 29 Conclusion
Are You Still Wondering?
Are you still wondering if making minor cuts only to your budget is actually worth it? will it make a significant difference in your finance? Of course, it will. If only you can stay dedicated and disciplined enough to be consistent, you will surely be amazed by just how many benefits that goes with cutting back on your budget.
How cutting the budget helps you focus on your financial goals
Reducing your spending helps you to allocate more money towards paying off your debts, which you already know how crucial it is especially if you’ve been struggling to make progress in settling your debt. And by paying off your debts faster, you can also reduce the amount of interest you’ll ultimately pay.
Cutting your budget helps you reach other financial goals faster, whether it’s saving for a vacation, funding a house down payment, or starting your investment journey. This extra money in your budget can make a significant difference, especially for those with lower incomes, as every little saving matters.
Things You Should Cut From Your Budget
1. Streaming services
Even though streaming services might seem cheaper than cable, the accumulation of monthly subscriptions can go a long way to affect your saving and may be an obstacle to achieving your financial goals.
I would not completely advise anyone to totally stop the subscription as the idea is to cut back as simply as possible to avoid strain. so do your research and know which programs your family considers worthy of shelling out cash. HBO has its own eclectic lineup, as do Hulu, British-themed services like Acorn TV and BritBox, Apple TV+ and many more. You may enjoy more than one service and still beat the cost of cable, but you probably don’t want all of them. Cut out the ones that don’t earn their keep.
2. Third-party delivery apps
Using a third-party delivery app to order food might drastically increase the cost of the order. According to the New York Times, ordering from Uber Eats can result in a dinner that is up to 91 percent more expensive than purchasing it directly from the restaurant.
Horvath says that people who enjoy ordering food from restaurants can still keep their budget without having to give up this habit. Instead, there are more prudent methods to enjoy this minor luxury.
“Rather than ordering takeout, you can opt to pick up the food yourself, which helps reduce delivery fees and taxes associated with third-party delivery services.” “You can save money in the long run by going to collect the food yourself,” Horvath added.
While providing gifts is a genuine gesture, it may be costly. If you frequently express your gratitude to loved ones through gifts or find yourself overspending during the holidays, consider switching to cards or personal words instead. The costs of many gifts can add up very quickly with time, but families who choose to reduce their gift-giving have reported significant savings. Not only may you save money by decreasing the financial burden connected with present spending, but you can also relieve the anxiety and tension that sometimes accompany lavish gift-giving. Choosing genuine emotions over pricey gifts will help you have a balanced budget while still expressing your love and appreciation.
4. Cellular Data
You already know most smartphone plans have data limits before incurring extra charges, cellular data usage can quickly become a hidden expense in your budget. So, prioritize connecting to Wi-Fi networks wherever possible to reduce this expense in your budget. This allows you to save your cellular data for times when Wi-Fi is unavailable.
Make it a practice to turn off data and roaming while your phone is not in use, as certain apps might eat data without your notice. You may eliminate unnecessary costs and avoid surprise charges by actively regulating your cellular data consumption, thus saving money in your budget.
5. Dining Out
It goes without saying that if you quit dining out and start eating at home, you will save money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $3,000 per year on dining out. And the way you shop for food can help you save even more money. Take your time and look for sales, deals, and bulk things.
Food consumes a significant percentage of many people’s discretionary spending, and eating out is a major issue. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with dining out. However, many people do it out of habit or are unaware of how much they are spending.
If you frequently utilize the drive-thru or order takeout because you don’t have time to cook, stock your kitchen with a few quick dishes that you can prepare when cooking isn’t an option.
If you frequently dine out because you enjoy tasting new foods, challenge yourself to recreate some of your favourite restaurant dishes at home. You’ll save money while learning a new skill.
6. Expensive Makeup
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a polished appearance. Ulta and Sephora, for example, sell high-quality makeup at substantially lower rates than high-end boutiques. The quality of these low-cost choices is comparable, so you may attain the desired look without breaking the bank. No one will be able to tell the difference if you make the proper decisions. You may save a significant amount of money while still enjoying the benefits of high-quality cosmetics by eliminating pricey makeup from your budget and replacing it with more reasonable options. Invest in wise decisions and embrace economical beauty products without sacrificing elegance.
7. Pet Insurance
Consider reducing your pet insurance expense. While it may provide peace of mind, the costs and advantages must be considered. Pet insurance can be costly, especially when monthly payments and deductibles are considered. Consider your pet’s health, breed, and potential risks before making a selection. If your pet is in good condition and you can handle unexpected vet bills, skipping pet insurance could save you money in the long term. Instead, set up an emergency fund for your pet’s medical requirements. You may appropriately manage your pet’s health without the added price of insurance by being proactive with preventive treatment and laying up monies.
8. Cut paper products (except Toilet Paper)
Paper products are a serious waste of your paper! Cutting paper products (except toilet paper) from your budget can lead to significant savings. Items like paper towels, gift wrapping, and traditional cards can drain your finances unnecessarily. Fortunately, there are affordable alternatives available:
- Instead of paper towels, repurpose old t-shirts or rags for cleaning tasks.
- Save and reuse gift bags, or consider using free old newspapers for wrapping presents.
- Opt for eco-friendly options like sending e-cards or creating digital slideshows to replace traditional paper greeting cards.
9. Gym membership
The COVID-19 pandemic have taught us that even though exercising at a gym may be beneficial but it carries certain risks. Maintaining social distancing becomes challenging, and being in an environment where people breathe heavily increases the potential spread of germs.
This means you can decide to not register for a gym membership and explore alternative ways to stay fit such as working out at home using affordable weights or yoga DVDs. This can be a more economical and safer choice.
If you so much desire to have professional-grade gym equipment at home, consider browsing online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Many individuals who have abandoned their fitness plans may be selling or giving away the very equipment you pay to use at the gym. This presents an opportunity to acquire such equipment at a reduced cost or even for free.
10. Bottled water
Cutting bottled water from your budget is good for both your savings and the environment. You can save a large amount of money by bottling your own water. According to Earthday.org, adopting this technique might save you up to $266 each year. Simply bring a reusable, leak-proof water bottle with you wherever you go, and you’ll often find free refill stations. This simple modification eliminates the need to purchase single-use plastic bottles, decreasing waste and saving money. Accept the ease and cost-effectiveness of reusable water bottles while helping the environment.
11. Late fees
There are few things more frustrating than being charged a late fee on a monthly utility payment that you just forgot to pay. Even if you receive your bills via standard U.S. mail or email, it’s simple to misplace or forget about them.
Gather all of your monthly reoccurring charges and set them up on autopay to solve the problem.
You don’t have to receive a threatening letter about a neglected bill before you hopped on the auto-pay bandwagon. do it now and you will not regret it.
12. New books
As a devoted reader and author, I understand your love for brand-new books. I won’t tell you to never buy a brand new book because I share your excitement when it comes to receiving new-to-you books as Christmas presents.
However, if saving money is important to you, let me share some tips. Your local library might have a program called Peak Picks, where they reserve the hottest new titles and display them on tables. Yes, you’ll need to physically visit your branch to explore these enticing selections. Interestingly, some librarian friends in other cities have similar programs too.
You can also benefit from getting a library card. If reading brings you joy, the cost of purchasing new books can quickly add up. That’s why one of the best ways to save money each month is by getting a library card instead. With your library card, you’ll have access to a treasure trove of free books. And it’s not limited to physical books alone! You can also borrow e-books and audiobooks using your library card. Embrace these options and enjoy the pleasure of reading while saving your hard-earned money.
See also: 30 Top leadership books 2023
13. Brand-name products
Cutting brand-name products from your budget might have a huge financial impact. While some products we cannot live without, many others are purchased out of habit rather than actual necessity or preference. Consider switching to generic or store-brand alternatives for these products to save money. You might be shocked at how much of a difference it makes in terms of your budget. Generics frequently provide comparable quality and effectiveness at a fraction of the cost. By opting for these alternatives, you can retain your chosen lifestyle while freeing up income for more important bills or saving for future aspirations.
Manicures and pedicures can be pleasurable indulgences, but they can also strain your budget. However, you do not have to entirely abandon these minor pleasures in life. Reduce the frequency with which you splurge on professional manicures to save money.
Investing in a high-quality manicure kit can be a more cost-effective option. You can learn to make your own nails safely and beautifully at home thanks to the abundance of nail tutorial videos on YouTube. You may attain salon-quality results at home by mastering DIY nail care procedures. By cutting out on pricey salon appointments, you can save money while still enjoying well-manicured nails.
15. Cleaning Products
Everyone needs to clean, but buying expensive brand-name cleaning sprays and wipes can be costly. However, there’s a simple and cost-effective solution: making your own cleaning products. It’s easier than you might think and can save you a lot of money.
For example, you can make dishwasher detergent with just four ingredients, and baking soda and vinegar can be used for various cleaning purposes. You can even create your own cleaning wipes, which can be helpful in case there’s another shortage at stores during a pandemic.
So, why not give DIY cleaning products a try? It’s an easy way to save money and keep your surroundings clean.
16. Car Wash
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to let professionals handle your car’s cleaning, especially if there’s a big mess like when your little sister spills something or your drinks go all over the place. But for regular cleaning, you can save a lot of money by washing your car at home. It’s not as complicated as it may seem.
A car-repair chain shared some simple tips that show how easy it is to wash your car in your own driveway. You might even find a local teenager who can do it for half the price of a fancy car wash. So, give it a try and save money by washing your car yourself!
17. Premium gas
Even if electric cars are becoming more common, many of us still drive cars that run on gasoline. However, we need to be cautious when filling up at the pump.
If your car doesn’t specifically need premium gas, spending extra money on it is like throwing cash away. Your vehicle won’t benefit from using premium gas, so it’s unnecessary. Stick to regular gasoline instead, which is cheaper and works perfectly fine for most cars.
By avoiding premium gas and opting for regular, you can save money on each visit to the gas station. So, remember to make the smart choice and keep your budget in check when it comes to filling up your car.
18. Coffee habit
Having designer coffee can be a real mood booster, whether it’s in the afternoon or first thing in the morning. But let’s be honest, it can be quite expensive. Here’s a simple solution: buy a coffee maker, a thermos, and get a few flavored syrups and creams to enjoy a more affordable coffee-shop experience at home. You can make your favorite coffee drinks without spending so much money. It’s like having your own cozy café right in your kitchen! By cutting back on buying expensive coffee every day, you can save a lot of money while still getting your caffeine fix.
19. Buying New Products
Instead of buying new items, consider checking out local consignment shops or online options. These shops have “gently used” products like clothing, sporting equipment, and furniture at much lower prices than in regular stores.
You can also explore thrift stores and online marketplaces like Facebook to find affordable used items such as furniture, clothes, home decor, and workout equipment. It’s not only a great way to save money, but it also helps the environment by reducing waste.
Did you know that the average American throws away about 65 pounds of clothing each year? By choosing second-hand items, you’re doing your part to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills.
20. Buying Lunch
Bringing your own lunch and snacks to work is a small change that can have a big impact on your wallet. Not only will it save you money, but it can also lead to healthier eating habits.
By avoiding vending machines and takeout, you’re saying no to quick and often unhealthy convenience foods. Instead, you have control over what you eat and can make healthier choices.
Packing your own lunch allows you to plan nutritious meals and choose ingredients that you enjoy. So, start bringing your own meals to work and watch your savings grow while nourishing your body with better food choices.
21. Cable Tv
Say goodbye to cable TV! You might not even miss it once you make the switch. Instead, consider getting a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick, which offer a wide range of entertainment options. If you can’t find enough free content, there are affordable subscription services like Prime, Hulu, and Netflix that provide a great alternative to cable.
Nowadays, people are spending less time watching cable and opting for streaming services. Yet, many still pay for cable every month. You can easily reduce your expenses by cutting the cord. Choose one or two streaming services that fit your interests and budget, or even consider getting rid of TV altogether and exploring other hobbies. It’s a simple way to save money and discover new ways to spend your time.
22. Stop using credit cards
Stop using credit cards! The interest rates they charge, usually around 20 percent, can really hurt your budget. It means you end up paying a lot more for the things you buy. Instead, try using cash or a debit card. That way, you’re only spending the money you actually have.
It’s important to be mindful of your spending and avoid getting into unnecessary debt. By avoiding credit cards, you’ll save money by not paying those high-interest charges. So, next time you’re tempted to use a credit card, think twice and opt for a more financially responsible approach.
see also: 10 Best ways to use a credit card
23. Shop around for insurance
When it comes to insurance, don’t settle for the first option you find! Many people stick with the same insurance company for years without realizing they could be paying more than they need to. Prices can vary a lot between different insurance providers.
Your insurance rate can also change as your life circumstances change. If you haven’t shopped around for car or home insurance in a while, it’s a good idea to get quotes from a few different companies. By comparing prices, you might find a better deal and save some money. So, remember to shop around for insurance and make sure you’re getting the best value for your coverage.
24. Hair and Nail Care
Cutting back on hair and nail care expenses can save you a lot of money. Getting regular salon treatments for nails and hair can add up quickly. For example, a $50 pedicure once or twice a month can really dent your budget over the year. The good news is you can do your own nails at home! There are plenty of affordable nail polishes and acrylic nail sets available for at-home manicures and pedicures.
Similarly, getting your hair done can be expensive too. You can save money by dyeing your hair at home and extending the time between haircuts. By taking care of your own hair and nails, you’ll not only save money but also develop new skills.
25. Overdraft Fees
Banks make a lot of money from overdraft fees. They don’t mind if you use your debit card when you don’t have enough money because they charge you extra for it. Most people end up paying around $250 per year in overdraft fees, which is a lot of unnecessary money to spend!
Think of an overdraft fee as a loan with high interest. The bank lets your transaction go through but charges you a fee for it.
You can avoid overdraft fees by creating a budget, using cash envelopes, and keeping track of your spending. With these strategies, you can make sure you don’t have to pay those pesky overdraft fees and keep more money in your pocket.
When you begin cutting your spending, it may seem really tough. Everything in your budget might feel like something you absolutely need. But once you start, it becomes easier to recognize and reduce expenses that aren’t really necessary.
By cutting back on the money you spend on those little things that don’t hold much value for you, you can free up more money for the things that truly matter to you. It’s about making choices that align with your priorities and focusing on what’s important. So, don’t worry if it seems hard at first. Once you start, you’ll see how much control you have over your spending and how it can benefit you in the long run.