When you need to save money, but don’t know how to save any more than you already are, use these tips on what to cut from your budget when you think there is nothing to cut.
It can be hard to think of ways to save money when you feel like you have cut every corner you can in your budget. You may be already feeling the squeeze and not feeling like you can save more money even though your budget may call for it. In most cases, you can cut more! You just need a bit of creativity and you can still save more in your bottom line.
What to Cut From Your Budget When You Think There is Nothing to Cut
So whether you are looking to save money for a big purchase or a vacation or you are feeling the financial squeeze from somewhere else, here are some excellent ideas on what to cut from your budget when you think there is nothing more to cut.
Anything disposable can be a budget strainer and they aren’t entirely necessary, just convenient. For instance, use rags instead of buying paper towels. Go old school and use washable napkins.
Use Refillable Water Bottles
Switch to water to save money on beverages and save even more money by just refilling the same bottle over and over. If you need flavor, try infused water or tea as that is much cheaper than soda, juice, or other beverages.
Find a Cheaper Cell Phone Plan
If you have been with the same carrier for years, try shopping around. There may be better deals out there and as long as you are not in a contract, you can switch. Also, if you don’t use that much data, try a pay-as-you-go plan.
Cancel Your Landline
Do you still have a landline? If you don’t use it often, seriously consider canceling it, even if you get it for very low cost with a bundle. If it’s not being used, it’s a waste of money.
Cancel your gym membership and take up jogging on your own. You can also watch free YouTube videos of yoga, exercise routines, and more.
Unsubscribe from Emails
Do you shop a lot online and find it hard to say no to sales in your emails? Don’t let them suck you in anymore. Unsubscribe to as many as you can.
If you still have cable. are you really getting that much money’s worth of entertainment out of it? If the answer is no, it may be time to break up. There are now even live streaming of sports services out there so don’t let that be the reason you keep it.
Cut back on Personal Products
Do you really need all of the personal items you have? Do you need that new mascara or has marketing got you? Before you buy a new product, ask yourself if you really need it or if you can make something like it at home. Similarly, give reusable items a try. If you are curious, try reusable cloth pads.
Stop Paying for Streaming
Streaming services can cost as much as cable or more if you aren’t careful. Cut back on the services to ones you actually use. For example, if your Audible credits are adding up, you aren’t using it.
Negotiate a Better Deal on Internet
Most of us have been with the same internet provider for years. You may be able to negotiate or take advantage of specials they are running. If that doesn’t work, try shopping around.
Unplug Unused Electronic Devices
Vampire energy is a real thing. If you leave your appliances like your toaster plugged in, they are still getting some power even if you aren’t using them. Get in the habit of unplugging when done.
Turn Off the Lights
Your dad was right, you are wasting energy when you leave on the lights and the cost adds up. Get in the habit of not using lights unless you need them, too. Open windows during the day and use natural lighting. Be OK with low light at night with candlelight and lamps.
Lower your thermostat in winter and raise it in summer
My mom used to tell us to put on a sweater if we were cold in the house during the winter. This is smart because you don’t need to blast your heat to be comfortable. Set your thermostat at a couple of degrees lower in the winter and a couple of degrees higher in the summer and you may not even notice it until you get a lower bill.
Lower your water heater temperature
The same way your heater or air conditioning works so does your water thermostat. Lower it by just a few degrees and you can see some savings next billing cycle.
Cancel Newspapers and Magazines
Are there subscriptions you have forgotten about? Do you even get a chance to read them? If not, cancel these and save money. This is true for paper versions as well as digital ones.
Stop Eating Out
Eating out is a huge problem for budgets. It’s easy to justify $10 because it’s not a big amount for most people, but if you do this every workday, that’s $50 a week and $200 a month. Big savings if you just pack a lunch instead.
Make Coffee at Home
Make your coffee at home and take it in a reusable cup. If you don’t have time, at least don’t get a special coffee with all the extras as drip coffee is much cheaper. Bring some flavored creamers to work and make it there.
Switch to Generic
If you haven’t tried generic versions of your favorite products for a while worried they won’t be as good, I have to say you are missing out. Many generic versions I actually like better!
Wash Laundry in Cold Water
I wash nearly everything in cold water. Modern soaps are designed to work well in either hot or cold water and your dryer will kill any germs.
Quit Your Vices
We all have vices. For some it’s junk food, for others, it’s something like smoking or a nightly glass of wine. Quitting these vises can usually save us so much money. Make a pact to just do it temporarily and you may not want to go back to it once you see how much you were able to save.
Look for Cheaper Source for Prescriptions
You can sometimes get your prescriptions online and have them delivered to you. Additionally, I try to go through the drive-thru when I have one available. This keeps me from going inside and being tempted to buy stuff while I am there.
Shop Around for Cheaper Insurance
Just like with cable and internet providers, we become comfortable with an insurance provider after years. Try shopping around at least every year and if you can, raise your deductibles and see a lowering of your monthly price.
Shut the doors
Not just the outside doors, but also shut the doors to rooms you are not using and close the air vents to those rooms. There is no reason to heat or cool these rooms.
Stop Buying Clothing
If you really need an item, check out a thrift store or consignment store instead of buying new. Most people already have more than enough clothing so there is nothing you really need, as it is likely you are just buying t keep up with trends. Instead, buy classics that never go out of style.
Look for Free Entertainment
There literally are so many ways to be entertained for free. National and state parks offer free entry days, so there’s no need for passes if you don’t visit often. Most cities have free events to attend and even screenings of movies, concerts, and more. Pick up your local entertainment guide and plan out your free activities.
Use Your Library
Did you know that your library probably has more than just books? Most libraries now have DVDs, audiobooks, music albums, and some even offer free classes and check-out items like instruments and tools.
Change Your Own Oil
Changing your own oil doesn’t require any special mechanical skills and just one tool; a filter wrench, which can be bought for less than $10 one time and used over and over. Changing your own oil could save you hundreds a year. Look on YouTube for how to do it on your personal vehicle.
Walk instead of Drive
For errands close to your home, walk instead of drive. Not only are you saving gas, but you are getting in some exercise as well. You may be surprised how much you actually enjoy taking a walk.
Shop Around for After School Activities
Don’t be guilted into doing the expensive after-school activities. You can often find some that are far less costly and might even be more convenient for your lifestyle.
Quit Shopping Online
Shopping online can be troublesome because you can’t touch or see or try it on and you may get stuck with something you hate and forget to return it. Also, be sure to remove your credit card numbers from online accounts. This makes it way too easy to shop.
Stop Rewarding Yourself
It can be hard but stop rewarding yourself for everything. You don’t need to eat lunch out because you made it through your errands. Save the rewards for the big things.
Stop Rewarding Your Kids
Bring a baggy of cheerios and a favorite toy to occupy your kids instead of buying them treats. This keeps them occupied and then they don’t expect a treat when you are out doing errands just for being good.
Look for Free Bank Accounts
Banks often have so many fees. Try looking into credit unions which often have lower fees, but also free online banking.
Keep an open mind to these money-saving tips. You may find that you don’t need some of the things you think you do. You may be surprised to find that your quality of life improves when you cut cable and your health may improve when you start cooking from scratch.