Do you struggle to pay your bills month to month? Have you found that your savings account has less than you'd like? Or maybe you just realize some of your spending habits need to be broken. No matter what your financial situation is, it's important to review your budget and see areas where you can cut the cots. Check out these common targets for quick and effective expense cuts.
Phone- Do you really need that home phone?
Utilities- Leaving a fan on all day cost you $7 ... a day! and that $7 adds up!
You might find it obvious that evenings dining out at fancy restaurants probably isn't the best idea when experiencing a budget crunch. But think about your groceries too. Consider avoiding the higher-priced stores and stocking up on the basics at the more reasonably priced spots. You might find that cooking at home and taking your lunch to work saves you lots of money and ends up being healthier too.
If you’re like most people, your visual entertainment comes from multiple sources. You may watch movies on cable, in the theater, via rental or online. Or you might be one of those people who's not home long enough to enjoy a movie or television show. Take a look at your cable bill, are you paying for tons of channels you don't enjoy? or do you have a movie rental service that you don't even know your password too? This is one of the easiest places to cut in your budget. Sure, you might think, "What will I do without it?" But chances are you won't even know it's gone.
It’s nice to use a smart phone to be able to look up information on the go, but you could probably make do without the data plan if you had to. Did you know that you could also be on a prepaid smart phone plan? Call your service provider to ask them to perform an analysis on which plan is best for you. You might be paying for more than you actually need. Also consider eliminating your house phone if you have one and never use it.
It’s important to get some stress-relieving exercise during this trying time, but there’s no reason why you should have to spend money to do it. Brainstorm ways to be active without having to fork over a big chunk of your paycheck. The main thing is to just get moving! Living in South Florida, we have a gym everywhere we look. There are tons of walking paths and things to do outside, so get moving and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Shopping as entertainment
One activity that could put you in the trouble zone is shopping for fun or to ease tension. “I won’t buy anything, I’ll just browse” can often times lead you to making unexpected purchases. As I've said before, factor shopping into your budget, this way you don't have the tendency to splurge all the time. But, keep your shopping to a minimum. Don't set yourself up by "browsing" the stores shelves out of bordom. Instead, go for a walk, cook a fun meal or spend time with your loved ones.
With the ease of using the Internet to compare rates, the insurance business is much more competitive than it used to be. Shop around for the best deals on any type of insurance you have—auto, home, life, etc. Check into bundling these with one company to save even more. How is your credit score? This might affect the cost of certain insurances. Also be sure to ask about discounts you might apply for, and the option of raising your deductible in exchange for a lower monthly payment.
When you have a comfortable financial situation, it’s easy to buy coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and convenience store snacks without thinking too much about it. But in these tighter times, think about what you are really getting out of these purchases and if there are expenses that are more important.
If you have more money taken out of each of your paychecks than is necessary in order to get a large income tax refund check in the spring, you are over-paying the government each month. Cut this expense by using the IRS withholding calculator to determine the appropriate amount to have withheld from each paycheck.
None of these cost-cutting measures alone is guaranteed to immediately solve all cash flow issues, but in conjunction they can potentially save you hundreds of dollars per month.