Where and How to Cut Corners in Your Monthly Budget
The biggest single challenge that most people face when sorting through their personal finances is determining a monthly budget. Whether it’s setting aside money for bills, food shopping, savings, etc., it can get pretty hectic when everything starts adding up. However, this guide should be able to help you cut corners in your budget when you need to, while still setting aside money for necessary spending in the meantime.
Save on Energy Bills
Americans spend nearly $2,200 a year on their energy bills, whether it’s using air conditioning in the summer, or heating during the winter. However, new technology has been able to provide more efficient ways to help save money every year on our energy bills. Here are a few other ways to can help save every yourself from crushing energy bills this year:
- Seal cracks and holes in your home
- Take advantage of power strip timers
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Use a programmable thermostat
- Lower your hot water temperature heater
- Install LED lights
Save on Food
Food is a common struggle among Americans when setting aside a monthly budget. People usually spend too much every week on food or eat out too often which can cut into their budget. Below, are a few healthy ways to start saving on your food bills every week:
- Plant a garden
- Purchase generic products
- Reduce and recycle your leftover takeout
- Cook more often at home
- Use coupons
Save on Debt
Ideally, we would all be free of debt but this is usually not the case. However, by reducing the amount of money you owe, you can also reduce your monthly payments. These are a few suggestions as to how you can pay off your debt and save money in the long term.
- Use a balance transfer card
- Refinance your loan
- Consolidate debts, especially with student loans
- Set up automatic withdrawals
Save On Transportation
Most people spend more than they would like to admit on transportation. Cars are perhaps the worst offenders because of costly maintenance and ever changing fuel prices. In fact, AAA calculated that the yearly cost of owning a car equates to over $8,600. This includes car payments, gas, maintenance, insurance, and other common costs. Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce that number.
- Sell your car
- Join a carpool
- Use public transportation or walk
Save On Your Entertainment Costs
Entertainment expenses are usually the first to be cut when trimming down your monthly budget. Rather than cutting out your weekly date night, instead look at recurring entertainment charges. Here are a few places to begin.
- Ditch your cable service or try to reduce your bill
- Choose cheap or free entertainment activities
- Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions
- Get rid of your memberships (gym, country club, etc)
There are so many ways that you can save money and reduce your monthly spending. The first step, of course, is to determine where you are spending the most money. From there, you can decide your target area and use the above suggestions to trim your expenses. You will soon be saving more money than ever before.