Creating a budget and learning to live within certain limitations does not have to feel like walking across hot coals barefoot. It’s true! There are things you can remove from your budget that you will barely notice once you make a move, like these 25 (almost) pain-free budget cuts.
- Ditch the drive-through. Whether you engage in rigorous meal planning or begin an amazing love affair with the crockpot, it is easier than you think (and healthier, too), to give up your drive through habit and dine in your own home instead.
- Curtail your coffee habit. Designer coffee is a great pick me up in the middle of the afternoon and even first thing in the morning, but it is one that comes with a hefty price tag. Buy a coffee maker, a thermos, and invest in a few key syrups and creams for a more budget-friendly coffee-shop experience.
- Switch to generics or store brand products. While there are some products we all love and cannot live without, there are many others we buy out of habit rather than a necessity, or even desire. Consider switching to generics for those products and see what a difference it makes for your budget.
- Check out local consignment shops instead of buying new. From clothing to sporting equipment and furniture, there is a consignment shop for that with “gently used” products well below retail. If there are none available locally, you might find plenty of online options.
- Carpool. Share driving duties and reduce expenses (e.g., fuel, maintenance, wear, and tear) at the same time.
- Switch mobile phone plans and carriers. Skip the contracts and go month to month for massive savings.
- Stop buying the newest mobile phone to hit the market. Savvy sales staff understand that they can keep you as indentured servants by offering outstanding deals and “financing” on the latest mobile phone. Don’t fall for it.
- Cut and color your hair. For women who visit salons monthly, the savings in one year can be substantial.
- Bring your lunch (and snacks) to work. It’s a simple shift that will leave you well into the green. It can also signify a healthier way of eating for you as well since your ditching convenience foods from vending machines and takeout from your daily routine.
- Bottle your water. This one is excellent for your budget and even better for the planet. How much can you save? According to Earthday.org, you can save up to $266 per year by bottling your own water.
- Reacquaint yourself with your local library. Libraries are not only sources of amazing books, free for the borrowing; they also offer videos, music, audiobooks, magazines, eBooks, and more.
- Cancel subscription boxes. While it’s fun to treat yourself to these monthly luxuries, many of them include items that go unused and unwanted. Eliminate the expense and buy items you want instead.
- Compare prices on everything. The Internet is a wonderful tool that allows you to see prices others are offering for the items you desire.
- Shop around for better deals on insurance annually. You can realize savings year after year by doing so.
- Bring your snacks on road-trips. Stopping to eat on the road can be an unnecessary expense when all you need is a quick pick-me-up snack.
- Wash your hands well and often. That can help you suffer through fewer colds and illnesses throughout the year, and less cash outlays for medicine or doctor visits.
- Use cost-effective natural cleaning supplies. Baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide can handle many of the toughest cleaning tasks in your home at a fraction of the costs of designer cleaning products.
- Recycle aluminum cans and bottles. Some states offer substantial rewards for recycling your cans and bottles. Others require hefty deposits only returning them if you bring them back to designated recycling centers.
- Cut the cable cord. In many situations, you will not even miss it. Invest in a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick instead. If you cannot find enough entertainment there for free, there are subscription services like Prime, Hulu, and Netflix that cost considerably less than cable.
- Eliminate magazine subscriptions. They create clutter and often go unread.
- Use promo codes for items and services you buy online. Many companies now offer discount or promo codes for their purchases.
- Stop using credit cards. At an average of around 20 percent interest rates, the interest is killing your budget.
- Stop paying for things you do not use. From gym memberships to old gaming accounts, and so much more; almost everyone is paying for subscriptions and services they have forgotten they have.
- Identify your spending weaknesses. Moreover, find ways to eliminate them.
- Never, ever, shop for food when you are hungry. It does not end well.
These 25 simple and practically painless budget cuts can help you accomplish so much more with your money each month. Try them for yourself and see what a difference they make for your financial situation.