A budget is the cornerstone of responsible financial planning. It shows exactly how much money you have and where it’s being spent. A budget can help you find ways to save money and plan for the future. If you have taken the proactive step to start saving money for a financially healthy future with zero credit card debt, it’s important that you to know good tips that can help you save money by cutting back.
Tips to Saving Money by Cutting Back
Cutting Back on Home & Utility Related Costs
If you’re struggling with your mortgage or rent payment, moving to a cheaper location is not always an option. Consider ways to lower your household costs, such as finding a roommate to share costs with, in the quest to save money.
- To get a lower rate, refinance your mortgage, or switch from a 15-year to a 30-year loan.
- To save money on taxes, challenge your property tax assessment.
- Investigate whether bundled services (phone, cable, internet) could save you money, or whether you can do without some of these services.
- Many people are replacing landlines with cell phones and swapping cable for significantly cheaper online streaming services.
- Be more efficient with your energy usage by washing only full loads of dishes or laundry.
- Lower energy bills by turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and turning off heat or A/C when no one is home.
- Install a programmable thermostat for more control over your heating and cooling costs.
- Weatherproof your house and seal all cracks and openings to maintain insulation to save on energy costs.
Cutting Back on Cost of Food
Dining out utilizes nearly half of the average family’s food expenditures, so eating at home is one of the simplest ways to trim your food budget and get on with saving money.
- Bring lunches and snacks to work. Also, bring your own morning coffee.
- Check your fridge for items to use before they go bad.
- Give up unhealthy vices such as soda, candy, salty snacks, etc.
- Use the weekly grocery store circulars to find sale items and shop accordingly.
- Prepare a meal plan for the week and stick to it when grocery shopping. This also helps avoid last-minute take-out orders.
- Seek protein in cheaper alternatives to meat such as eggs and beans.
Cutting Back on Transportation
Buying used cars and driving them for years is a great way to reduce your lifetime transportation expenses. If your priority is saving money this is a crucial area that you need to focus.
- Raise the deductibles on your auto insurance policy.
- Strive to be eligible for discounts on your insurance such as good driver, good student, and multiple car account programs.
- Investigate carpools and public transportation, and see if your employer offers any subsidies.
- Avoid repair bills by maintaining your vehicle properly with regular oil and filter changes.
- Plan your errands around your driving route to avoid multiple trips to save on gas.
Cutting Back on Clothing and Services
Many people update their wardrobe with the latest fashion trends. Others simply refuse to wear the same outfits for very long. Take some simple steps to keep yourself in fashion and under budget to stay in line with your goal to save money.
- Perform an inventory of your wardrobe and only buy items that work with what you already own. Even better, shop in your own closet and repurpose pieces you haven’t worn in years.
- Buy clothes out of season when stores discount them (winter coats in summer, shorts in fall, etc).
- Consider buying used at thrift shops and secondhand stores. Also, hold a clothing swap with friends.
- Avoid dry-clean only clothing.
- Try getting your hair cut at a beauty school for a much lower price than a salon.
- Cancel your health club/gym membership and find ways to workout at home or outside (go for a walk or run, purchase weights to use in your home, workout with friends, and try free workout videos online).
- Cancel unnecessary expenses like magazine subscriptions and use free resources like the internet and libraries.
ACCC offers a number of financial calculators that can help guide your budget and give you great tips for saving money.
To speak with a certified counselor about budget & credit, call 1-800-769-3571 today.