12 Expenses to Cut Out of Your Budget
Two of the main reasons why budgets fail, is an excess of miscellaneous unplanned and irregular expenses, and a lack of sufficient funds to cover one’s expenses. To find out what expenses you may be able to cut you must first make yourself aware of all the ways in which you are spending your money. Start out by tracking all your expenditures, compiling your bank statements, credit card statements, checkbook register and receipts for any cash purchases you make. Once you have all of these items listed out, you can begin to analyze which ones to cut down on, which ones you can reduce and which expenses to cut out of your budget entirely. Of course, knowing in advance of this process how much you can actually afford to spend each month can help tremendously in determining how much to cut out of your budget.
1. Eating Out
Eating out can lead to significant expense. You can reduce your monthly expense for food by cooking at home. You can eat breakfast at home instead of purchasing it on the way to work or school. You should pack a lunch for work rather than eating out. Try cooking dinner at home as a family. You can use the left overs for lunch the next day.
Quitting smoking can put a great deal of money back in your pocket. Consider that a pack a day habit with a $5.51 pack of cigarettes amounts to $2,011.15 per year. Additionally, smoking is known to cause significant health issues which can result in additional medical expenses and higher insurance costs as some insurers ask potential policy holders about smoking habits before offering coverage.
3. Full Price Movie Tickets
There are many ways to see movies, even the latest Hollywood blockbusters, without paying the ticket prices offered at the box office. All movie theaters have cheaper ticket prices for matinee showings and many movie theaters have one day each week when they offer discounted prices. If you must see a movie in the theater, go at these times or on one of these days instead. Alternatively, you can just rent a movie or borrow it from a friend to watch on your T.V. at home.
4. Interest Payments
If you have credit card balances outstanding, do whatever you can to pay down those balances as soon as possible. The interest that accrues on those charges is one of the most insidious and unnecessary expenses you can accrue.
If you do not have a car, do not resort to hailing taxicabs to take you everywhere you want to go. Even Uber costs can add up quickly. Instead, walk or ride a bicycle whenever and wherever possible, both of which cost you nothing at all. Alternatively, take the bus, subway or other public transit, which still costs considerably less than a taxi. You can save even more money on public transportation by purchasing a pass for multiple trips or unlimited trips in a month.
If you drink coffee, drink coffee at home or reduce common additions to your daily cup. Forgo the double latte cappuccino mocha with hazelnut syrup and whipped cream. If you drink alcohol, try sticking to beer and wine. If you drink smoothies, make your own. When you drink water, do not buy it bottled unless absolutely necessary. Instead try a filter you can reuse.
7. Impulse Purchases
Get in the habit of creating a shopping list before you go shopping and, if an item is not on that list, do not buy it. In addition to impulse purchases, avoid shopping sprees and resist coupons and other bargains for things you do not need.
8. Paying Full Price
Here is a fun little experiment you can try: only buy something if it is on sale. Additionally, if you have a coupon for the item or you receive a discount for some other reason such as a store membership, a senior citizen discount, student discount or a cash-back credit card. Do your grocery shopping on the weekends when stores typically run specials and save your clothes shopping for the big seasonal sales.
9. Brand Names
For every brand name product, there is almost invariably a generic or store brand equivalent available. In every case, the brand name version of the product costs more than the generic or store brand version, even though the contents or ingredients are the same. Buying only store brand and generic versions of products can save you a surprising amount of money on every purchase.
10. Wasteful Heating Expenses
Cut down on your monthly heating bill by cutting down on the amount of air leaking out of your home. To do this, seal your windows and doors, insulate your walls and ceilings and improve or replace your heater for a more energy efficient one. Many utility companies will come out and do an energy audit of your home for free.
11. Unnecessary Telephone Expenses
To save money on your telephone expenses, only purchase phones with features you will actually use. Think twice before adding or using custom calling features at extra expense and place a block on pay-per-use and toll calling as well as on third party billing and collect calls. Most carriers offer discounts if you agree to receive electronic statements and correspondences rather than paper ones sent in the mail.
12. Needless Health Care Expenses
Save money on health care by using generic medications instead of brand name medicines, buying your meds through the mail and asking your doctor if less expensive alternatives exist to prescribed or recommended medications. You can also prevent needless doctor and hospital visits, and the expenditures you incur for them, by getting routine health exams, practicing preventive health care, exercising, eating well and taking advantage of any wellness programs and benefits offered as part of your health insurance plan.