7 Ways to Cut Back on Spending
Everyone can benefit from cutting back a little on their spending. This summer, make a goal for yourself to spend a little less and put that extra money towards savings, investments, or debt reduction.
The key to success is not just saying that you want to spend less, because a goal as vague as that will get you nowhere. Sit down and choose a specific amount of money that you would like to cut from your spending each month. Once you decide that amount, rework your budget to see what will need to change to accommodate the new goal. This may seem daunting, but it is do-able. We have put together a list of seven ways to cut back on your spending that will help you reach your goal.
Start with an elimination budget
Sit down with your budget and see what categories of spending you can completely eliminate. This may seem drastic, but it is a good way to get rid of an entire expense. Obviously, you can’t get rid of your rent or utilities categories, but you may be willing to get rid of your cable or stop your landline service.
Cancel your cable and get a Netfllix and Hulu subscription
Speaking of cancelling your cable, this is a money saving solution that many people are turning to. Netflix and Hulu both have subscription plans starting at $8/month. Cancelling your cable while keeping your internet and getting a Netflix and Hulu subscription will substantially lower your monthly expense while still giving you access to your favorite shows and movies.
Call your internet and cell phone providers
If you have noticed that your internet and cell phone bills have been creeping up each month, call your provider to see what is going on. A lot of times, a sales rep will lower your bill back down for you after some haggling. Make sure to be extra nice to your sales rep while you are asking for your bill to be lowered, and they may cut you some really good deals!
Buy generic brands
So many people stay away from generic brands because they think they are inferior. I’ll let you in on a secret about how generic brands work: generic brands are usually exactly the same as national brands, just with different packaging. For example, Snackwell’s Devil’s Food Cookies and Walmart’s Devil’s Food Cookies are the exact same product. Snackwell wants to cater to their brand loyal market; but they also want to reach the price sensitive market. To reach that price sensitive market, Snackwell has a contract with Walmart to produce their cookies, but with Walmart brand packaging. Because Snackwell doesn’t have to pay to design the packaging or promote the product, they are able to sell it to Walmart at a lower price, which means Walmart can sell it to the consumers for a lower price as well. The same principle applies to store-brand medicine. Buy generic: you will be getting the same product for less, which will lower your grocery budget!
Cut back on meat and fish
I know this will be an unpopular tip, but it will substantially reduce on your grocery spending. Meat is the most expensive food product that you can buy, and if you are trying to tighten your wallet, this is a good place to cut back. If you are someone who eats meat with every single meal, consider eating meat with only one meal a day. If you are feeling especially motivated, consider eating meat or fish only two or three times a week. You will notice a significant decrease on your grocery bill and your bank account will thank you.
Go to Goodwill before the mall
A lot of people shy away from thrift stores, but they are a treasure trove of savings. You definitely need patience to go to a place like Goodwill, but it is such a good way to save. I have personally found J-Crew, Ann Taylor, and other designers at Goodwill for $5 when they would cost $50 to buy the same item at retail price. Whenever you need new clothes, go to Goodwill first before heading to the mall. You’ll be surprised at the things that you can find and the amount of money that you will save!
Stop impulse buying
This is a really big one. So much of our money goes down the drain because we tend to impulse buy things that we don’t need and sometimes don’t even like. Curbing impulse buying takes some will power, but it can be done. If you are going shopping just for fun without anything specific in mind, do not buy anything on that trip. You can even leave your credit cards at home. If you see an item that you really like, go home and wait at least three days. If in three days you are still thinking about that item and are willing to make the trip to go back and buy it, then it is clear that you do really want it and it is worth the money. If in three days, you’re not so sure anymore, or you’ve completely forgotten about it, then you never wanted it to begin with and it was only an impulse buy.
Following any or all of these tips will start you on the right track to cutting back on spending. There are so many more ways to decrease your spending, and we encourage you to find other ways to cut back! If you find new and interesting ways to cut back on spending, or these tips helped you reach your personal goal, let us know on our Facebook page! We would love to hear all about it.