If you are looking for ways to save money in your budget, or just trying to get your expenses down to match your income, then you need to look closely at every category in your budget and find ways to reduce your spending. Here are five ideas that can help you reduce your spending across the board.
1. Stop Eating Out
This is a huge expense. You can save a lot of money by cooking at home. The cheapest fast food meals that you can buy are not good to eat health wise, and saving money by eating that food may lead to increased medical costs in the future. Eating out at a restaurant can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, but it should be considered more of a treat rather than an everyday occurrence. Generally you can make a good healthy meal for two for less than ten dollars. If time is an issue try bulk cooking on the weekends and heating up the meals during the week. You can create a monthly meal plan
to help you get control of your food budget.
2. Cut Dual Services
One easy example of dual services is having a landline and a cell phone. Often you do not need both of these services. Another area that you may consider cutting back is a gym membership when you have access to a gym at work or in your apartment complex. You may also consider cutting back on the speed of your Internet or your cable package if you are looking for ways to save money. There are more ways you can save money by eliminating things that may provide the same benefit. Look carefully at all the services you use to see where you can save money. You may also want to reduce the cost of utilities
3. Switch to Cash for Problem Categories
One easy way to reduce your problem spending is to only use cash
for the purchases that fall into that category. Leave your credit cards, and debit card at home when you are shopping for that category and you will find that it is a lot easier to stop spending when you do not have access to more cash. This works well for clothes shopping and grocery shopping. It works well for any category where you find it difficult to stay on budget.
4. Have Someone Else Shop For YouSometimes it actually saves you money to pay for someone else to do the shopping for you. This may be particularly true of grocery shopping. If you sit down with your menu and a grocery list for supplies for a week, and then place your order online, you can save money by avoiding the impulse purchase items. Most grocery stores charge a fee between five and ten dollars, if you come and pick up the groceries. If you think you are spending more than that a week on impulse items, you may consider having someone else do the shopping. Another option is to have a friend or your significant other take over the household shopping, especially if they are better at staying on budget.
5. Stop Impulse Purchases
Give yourself a limit on how much you can spend without waiting for two or three days before making a purchase. An easy limit to impose would be $50.00, depending on your current financial situation it may be more or less than that. This is a great tool to help cut down on impulse spending, and a way to discipline yourself to wait and watch for sales. In order for this to work, you should always shop with a specific list in mind. Then if you find an item that you really want that is over your limit you put it on a list and wait two or three days before you return to purchase the item. If you are married, then you discuss the purchase with your spouse before making it. Often you will find that you will no longer need the item or it will lose its appeal. You may also want to try checking out consignment stores
and thrift stores for major purchases before you get something that is very expensive.