It would be great to fall asleep on a pile of money every night, but if you aren’t watching your budget as closely as you should be, that’s nothing more than a lofty dream. If you feel like there’s too much month and not enough money, it’s time to go over your expenses and plug up all the money leaks that are sinking your ship.
1. TV and Movies
TV and movies are spread out all over the place. Between premium cable packages, dedicated streaming services, and broader services like Netflix and Hulu, you’re probably paying for redundancy. It helps to be a little choosier – you could be paying two or three times for a network you don’t even watch or a service you don’t really like. Narrow it down to one or two affordable options to get your cinema fix.
2. Eating Junk Food
Chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, and fast food chicken salads all have one common ingredient. For the price you’re probably paying for the fast version, you could have bought enough chicken to prepare yourself full meals for a whole week. Grocery shop more than you eat out. Even if you don’t have time every day to cook, you can prepare and set aside some freezer meals on a day where you have a few spare hours. All you have to do is pop them in the oven or the slow cooker.
3. Exceeding Your Phone Plan
Your phone plan might seem like a great deal on the surface, but what happens when you exceed the data they provide? People who spend a lot of time on their phone often incur overages or speed throttling way before the end of the month, and these fees add up. Switch to an unlimited prepaid plan. Most unlimited services offer every phone imaginable, and you’ll never need to worry about surprise charges.
4. Quick Fix Purchases
Retail therapy is occasionally rewarding and deserved, but don’t let your money burn a hole in your pocket. Try to avoid buying eye-catching things simply because you can afford them. Think before you make a purchase. If you’re still sure you want it, look for a coupon or a discount. See if there are any sales around the bend. If you hold out for a little while, you might be able to save a bundle. Alternatively, you might find something you like better than your first choice and opt to get that instead.
5. Unnecessary Interest or Long Term Debts
Take a closer look at your credit cards and outstanding loans. Use a loan calculator to see whether or not you’re actually getting a fair deal. When you were building your credit and establishing your financial history, you probably couldn’t get the best rates. If enough time has passed and you’ve proven yourself to be financially response, you might be able to switch to better alternatives.
6. Memberships You Don’t Use
That gym membership you bought on new year’s day probably felt like a great idea, but how often do you actually use it? Review everything you’re paying for on a monthly basis and get rid of the things you aren’t using. If you can’t bear to part with them, give yourself a month to attempt to use them. If after that month you haven’t made any progress, cut the cord and bank the extra money.
7. New Instead of Used
There’s nothing wrong with thrift store clothing – sometimes it’s exciting to spot vintage trends at a great price. Used furniture, especially if it’s real wood, is often tremendously cheaper than new furniture. Before you buy anything new, make sure there isn’t a suitable used option. Buying a dresser and a headboard can turn into a full bedroom makeover for the same exact price if you’re thrifty enough.
Tighten up the purse strings and remember to feed your savings account once in a while. It’s amazing how much stress you can remove from your life simply by being a little more mindful about your money.
Meet the Author:
Alex Lawson is a Financial Team Leader and a blogger, working together with other experts at Brighter Finance. Whenever not working on another project or helping customers with their financial issues, Alex may usually be found online, reading money-related blogs and sharing his tips with other experts.