We’ve been talking about needs and wants for years here at Talking Cents. That’s really what it comes down to when minimizing your spending. If you’re trying to save money, then you’ll find that focusing on your “needs” and cutting back on your “wants” is the easiest way to do it. In the process, you might find that you don’t need as many things as you think you do.
So here are the categories that typically carry the most unnecessary “wants” in your budget…
- Cable – This may be worth it if it means you spend less on other forms of entertainment. If not, then look for cheaper alternatives to cable, like streaming internet services or Netflix.
- Mobile phones – Do you need that unlimited plan? All that data? All that texting? All those calls? If you can cut back, then you can save money on a lesser plan.
- Subscriptions/Services/Memberships – Magazines, websites, gyms, etc. Are you getting the full value of these? Do you go to the gym often enough for it to be worth it? There are a lot of ways to stay in shape outside of the gym. Look for other ways to fill the needs of those other subscriptions and services as well.
- Restaurants/Bars – It’s nice to treat yourself to a fancy dinner once in a while. But if you make a habit on dining out for every social event, you’ll find yourself overspending. Cook meals and have drinks at home. You could invite friends over for a pot-luck, or set up a picnic to get out of the house.
- Entertainment – Concerts, movies, sporting events, etc. Not only are these expensive, but they usually come with additional expenses like food, drinks, and transportation. Find less expensive ways to entertain yourself and you could save a ton.
Cut out some of your wants in these categories, and you’ll find yourself with a lot more money in the savings category. Take some time to focus on your needs, and you just might realize that you didn’t need all that extra stuff to make you happy.
For some more tips, check out ACCC’s downloadable PDF: Save By Cutting Back