So you’ve got your budget, you’re tracking where every penny is going, you’re even saving money every month by paying yourself first. But you’re still spending too much. What do you do? This is the part where you find things to cut out of your budget, and free up some of that cash flow.
You may not realize it at first, but there are oftentimes things that you’re spending money on that you can actually live without. After I created my budget, I quickly started to see that I was paying for things that I didn’t even use, as well as paying too much for certain categories that I could get by with less of.
So I’ve complied a list of 3 things that you can cut from your budget, that will help you save a little bit more money every month.
1. Dining out
Eating out at restaurants is a personal vice of mine, and one of the best categories to start cutting back in. One month last year, I spent $700 on restaurants alone! Don’t ask me where I was eating, because I couldn’t tell you. But what I can tell you is that it was killing my budget.
There are so many cheaper alternatives to expensive meals out that you can start taking advantage of today. For starters, hit the grocery store more often. Make a grocery list of all the items that you will need, and buy a week or two’s worth of food in advance.
After you’ve gotten all of your ingredients, meal prep! There are plenty of tasty, yet cheap dishes that you can make for the entire week, then refrigerate or freeze and take with you to work. I like to hit the /r/EatCheapAndHealthy and /r/MealPrepSunday subreddits to get great ideas on meals to make for the week. And more importantly, you’ll be eating more healthy. Your wallet will thank you!
This is another expense that many people have, but not many people need. I realized that I was paying upwards of $50/month for a cable package that I barely even used. Once I got real with myself and decided that I didn’t actually need 100 channels that I didn’t watch, I went ahead and cut the cable.
In today’s day and age, traditional TV is getting less and less common, and streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have become super popular. Both of those services are right around $10 per month, and offer many popular TV shows and movies. Also, services such as PlayStation Vue and Sling offer actual cable channels at much cheaper prices, usually starting at around $30 per month.
Another good reason to cut the cable: Get up and get active! Go out and run, hike, swim, bike, or read a good book. There are so many other benefits to not sitting on the couch and watching TV. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good series or episode every now and then, but you’d be surprised at how many much more fulfilling activities you can find to fill your time when you don’t have cable to watch.
3. The bar
I went out to the bar a couple of weeks ago for a friend’s birthday. One drink turned into a few, which turned into buying rounds for the birthday boy and a few friends. Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy with the bill next morning (although it’s ok, I still stayed within my entertainment budget). The point is, nights out at the bar can really add up if you’re not careful.
It’s fun to go out and get drinks every now and again, but if you make a habit of going out every weekend, you’ll soon find yourself spending alot on drinks. My recommendation? Instead of going out to the bar, enjoy a night in with a bottle of wine. Pop in a movie, have a few friends over, and you can have just as good a time as being out.
Bar prices are unnecessarily expensive. And much like the dining out example above, you’ll save yourself a few calories in the process.