In this economy, we’re all looking for ways that we can save our family money. From little to big, every thing you do that saves you money that adds up in big ways.
Here’s how to start a budget diet. Don’t have a budget? Start here.
How to Start a Budget Diet
Do you really go to the gym to warrant that membership? Save enough at Costco to make the membership worth it? How about Netflix. Do you really watch THAT many movies in a month? Do you really even read the newspaper? Many of our bills are just clutter for our checkbooks. It’s a great idea to take an honest look at what your REALLY using every month, and what your not. If you don’t use it, get rid of it. You can save up to $400/month on frivolous things that you don’t use or need to buy just by cutting away unnecessary things.
Look how easy it is to save $400/month.
Your family goes out to eat at a restaurant once a week: $40 x 4 = $160/month
You go out to fast food for lunch 3 times a week: $7 x 3 x 4 = $84/month
Your spouse loves to get coffee every morning at Starbucks before work: $4 x 5 x 4 = $80/month
Your spouse has a gym membership he never uses: $56/month
Your family has a Netflix account that you don’t have time to utilize: $12/month
You have a Costco membership you use once a year: $50/year / 12 = $4.16/month
Total to cut all those unnecessary bills out = $396.16
Pay by the year
This will take some time for some people, but eventually, you want to be paying the bills that give you a discount by the year. Car insurance and home owners/renters insurance are two. Pay by the year and you save all kinds of ‘fees.’ Not only do you save money, but you don’t have to worry each month about yet another bill in your mailbox, stamp fees, time to do bill pay online, etc. You can save up to $10/month just by doing this one thing, that’s $120 savings each year. My car insurance is $61/month, so that is like paying 10 months and getting TWO whole months FREE! Do you like your bills paid for free. I know I do!
We live in an era where we can basically fix anything ourselves. Now, don’t bring me your broken car, I do have my limits. 😉 YouTube is a WONDERFUL tool to have. I remember a few months ago, my vacuum was making a super loud noise. I know right! It’s less than 2 years old! So, I went on YouTube, and started searching. Come to find out, it was the belt and spooler. So, I bought the parts needed on eBay. For less than $20 and 1 hour of my time, I was able to fix it and not have to take it to a shop. Or, the time when my bathroom sink got clogged. Oh man. That was horrible. So, again, went to YouTube and learned how to unscrew the catch drain. Some stuff fell out, screwed it back on, perfect! Save myself from having to call a plumber.
Combine your bills
Most phone companies will bundle with your internet service, but did you know that some satellite companies will bundle with your phone service! Each item you add discounts $5. Bundle 2 and you save $10 per month (!!!) for the exact same service you have now. That’s $120 back in your pocket per year. My phone and internet bill is $60/month. That’s like getting TWO months FREE of phone and internet a year. Again, I like free bills!
Buy used whenever possible
Okay, so there are SOME TIMES when you have to buy new. You really don’t want to use used toliet paper now do you. lol. But for most things, you can buy used. My kids are little enough that their Christmas presents are used. I ask them, do you want ALL of THIS for Christmas (like 12 items), or these 2 brand new toys? Totally their choice. Guess what, they will pick used, and I have a sneaky suspicion yours would too. Disclaimer: that might not work for teens, unless its a used car! 😉
Lower your existing bills
So, I received a coupon in the mail for DirecTV. Get their new service and I get _____fill in the blank. Doesn’t it always seem like the newer customers get the better deals than us loyal fans? It gave me this great idea. I would call Dish Network and complain. Yup, I allowed myself to complain! 🙂 And….it worked! I said I felt under-appreciated because I’m loyal, been with them xx years and here these new customers get better deals than me. So, they offer me $10 of my bill for the next year!!!!!!!! Ok, so I allowed myself to complain a little more and called ALL my bills. It worked with every single company except one, the phone bill wouldn’t you know. Seriously, they don’t budge. haha. Overall, I’m looking at a nice savings each month because I’m a LOYAL customer.
Remember, all you have to do is ask!
Get off your landline
So, you have a cell phone that you use all the time anyway. Why pay for two services of the same exact thing. There are phones now that you can even use the cordless phone part and be on your cell phone #. It’s a huge wave for the telephone companies and I was told by the phone company, the reason they had to up the phone costs here a few years back. Why overpay on YOUR bill because Susie down the street is smart? Don’t have a cell phone you use all the time, then why have a fancy phone with all the bells and whistles? Why not have a pre-paid cell phone that costs you $15/month instead of $50?
Say, “No thank you” to credit cards
Credit is pushed down our throats on a continual basis. Sign up for this credit card and get 0.00% APR for a YEAR! Sounds great right. Wrong. Listen, I’ve worked all my career in banking. Here’s the truth. They KNOW you’ll never pay off that credit card amount, you’ll just charge it up. Think that’s bad. Nope. Here’s the bad part. 60% of people will still use that old card! Getting into DOUBLE debt. It’s a snowball and not a pretty little cute snowman, but like a lion-eat-your-head-off-snowman. Bankers know that all they have to do is get you to say yes. The rest is up to you and let me tell you, after years and years in the industry before I became a stay at home mom, 95% of people DON’T say “no” once they get it and the ones that do, they get their limits increased all the time to up the enticement and temptation! It’s a huge snare people and their tricks sicken me.
Live on your income
Whatever that income is, don’t spend a penny over. How can we judge the government for the millions of dollars they are in debt, while we do the same thing with our own bills? They didn’t get into debt overnight and neither did we. I know, it hurts. I’m REALLY sorry, but I have to tell you the truth, so that TOGETHER, we can fix it! 🙂 We can’t fix something we don’t know is broken. You have to stop getting payday loan advances, you have to stop living on borrowed time.
I remember while working in the credit union, there was this older gentleman who had two bank accounts. He would write checks from one to deposit into the other and vise versa. He did this ALL THE TIME to stay ahead of the bouncing of his checks, the negativity of his accounts. He was very good at it and it’s how he lived his life and ran his business. Listen, staying 5 seconds ahead of your whole life crashing down is no way to live. The only way to prevent that is to live on what you make.
Have you started a budget diet yet? Have you gone through your bills and trimmed down what is unneccesary? How much did you save per month by doing so? Any other ideas you can add of how people can trim their expenses?