Ways to Cut Your Monthly Expenses
If you feel like there’s never enough money to get ahead at the end of the month, you’re not alone. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Gallup found that only one in three Americans actually keep a detailed budget.
Instead of facing these statistics as your new sobering reality, you can change your financial future by deciding to put a stop to paycheck-to-paycheck living and create a thoroughly detailed budget that tracks every penny. Once you see where your money is going, it’s time to find unique ways to cut your monthly expenses so you can allocate more money to growing your financial future. And when you find ways to save $10, $20 or even hundreds of dollars a month, you can’t help but look for more ways to keep trimming your expenses. Here’s how you can get started.
Get Strategic with Your Smartphone
If you suspect you’re paying too much for your smartphone bill, you’re in good company. According to Pew Research, 29 percent of smartphone users spend $100 or less on their plans. But there are ways to maximize your smartphone by getting strategic with it.
For starters, cut your landline in favor of using your smartphone; you can even set up a dedicated business number with a service like Google Voice. You can also reduce your smartphone expenses by choosing a cutting-edge and affordable option like the Galaxy Note 3 with an unlimited plan that doesn’t tack on extra fees, which means your phone can be used to handle both business and personal tasks without worrying about high data usage.
Get Rid of Cable
More consumers are realizing choosing from hundreds of cable channels is expensive and overwhelming. Instead, become a cord cutter and opt to stream your favorite shows and movies directly to your TV by using an Amazon Firestick. You can still get the media you love watching from Netflix, Hulu and other apps without the skyrocketing cable costs.
Trade in Your Car
Your car payment is probably unnecessarily eating up valuable resources from your budget every month. According to a recent Edmund’s analysis, the average car payment is $483. Instead of allocating nearly $500 to just your car payment in addition to maintenance and insurance, consider trading in your car and paying off the balance and ditching the payment altogether. A reliable used vehicle to get from point A to B can put more money in your wallet without compromising on safety. But if you live in an urban area, you can also opt-out of car ownership and rely on Zipcar, Uber and Lyft to get you to where you need to go without the hassles and financial burden of owning a car. It’s true car seats can be an issue if you have children, but Uber and Lyft offer car seat options in some cities. And when your children are old enough and meet the age and weight requirements, you can invest in portable booster seats that fold as you go.
It’s easy to go on autopilot when we’re shopping for groceries or household items online. However, it is entirely possible to shop smarter and maximize our budget with or without coupons.For starters, look for discount grocers in your area including Aldi’s or Walmart. If you find you have a hard time impulse shopping at the grocery store, sign up up for Amazon Fresh and carefully comb through items to stick to your grocery list. You can also buy household items at stores like Aldi’s, or buy them from Amazon’s Warehouse section to select gently used or opened items at a discount.
Just remember that cutting your monthly expenses should be liberating and not a source of tension and drudgery. Start by cutting what you can without feeling the burn and then slowly build up the momentum to attack other areas of your budget. You’re likely to find that the financial freedom you gain outweighs the sacrifice of making those cuts.