We've all been there. Whether it's an overdraft charge on your checking account, or an extra-large credit card invoice, going over budget can catch you by surprise. When you end up spending more than you budget for, it really stings. The hardest part is how much money we get so used to automatically paying out every month, week, or even every day without thinking twice about it. If this is you, the time is right to tighten things up a bit and reevaluate your spending limits. Here are some easy budget cuts for anybody to make when money gets tight.
If you find you are spending more money than usual, one common culprit is spending way too much money to have food delivered to your door. Fast Food is already way more costly than people realize. Because of the convenience, it's easy not to notice how much one trip to McDonald's can rack up. I'm not trying to just throw one chain under the bus. virtually all fast food restaurants are way too expensive. When you add delivery fees, service fees, tips, and whatever else they can charge you for essentially one task it's way too much, but you probably still use services like Uber Eats more than you even realize.
Monthly or Quarterly Subscription Boxes
The days of owning anything outright seem to be over. Everything is obtained through subscription services. It's a bitter pill to take, especially when it seems like we are constantly forced to update and upgrade, just to stay on the always-in-motion Ferris wheel. Some of these subscriptions are annoying but inevitable. Others can and should be canceled. If you have subscription services that charge you monthly but don't deliver real value outside of supposed retail value, kick them to the curb. Don't pay automatically for things you don't need, especially when you don't know exactly what you're getting.
Another great idea that costs you more than you need to pay is the concept of meal kits. Meal kits deliver recipes and exactly what you need to your door. The only problem is, it's way more expensive than just going to the store and using Alexa to find you something to make. The worst thing is that they don't eliminate grocery shopping. They only supply a few meals per week. This drives up your food cost, even though it seems helpful.
Everybody knows that they spend too much money at Starbucks. This is an everyday splurge that all too easily becomes routine. You can easily drop about $10 there without even buying any food. If you go just once a day on weekdays you might be spending $200 a month without breaking a sweat. Specialty coffee is a treat. Not a necessity. You can get your caffeine fix at home for pennies on the dollar just by brewing it yourself.
We covered this a little bit with Uber Eats, but the costs go much deeper than that. You could be spending too much on junk food at the grocery store, too. If you enjoy buying cheap processed sugary and salty foods instead of fresh produce and deli meats, you are spending more than you think and with less to show for it. Most of the essential foods, the best things for you, are actually very inexpensive. Things like rice, beans, and fresh fruit cost very little and do you more good in the long run. Try making rice bowls three nights a week for a month and see how much it saves you.
It's a well-known tactic because it works. Know what you are buying and what you expect to spend before you go into a store. Don't look for anything else to buy and don't get distracted by catchy advertisements or end cap placement. Even if you think you see a good deal, avoid spending money on impulse items. You might score a good deal occasionally, but it's a risky game that usually bites you in the end.
Alcohol is not a necessity, although some might disagree with me and argue their point passionately. One thing we can all agree on is that it's expensive. If you add up all of your liquor purchases, and it indicates where a good chunk of your money is going, then that's a good place to start making your budget cuts.
Insurance is another common area people have success cutting back. Insurance companies love to win over new customers by offering lower rates. If you are paying too much on your insurance bill, you may be overinsured or it might be time to look elsewhere. It's easy to over-insure yourself without realizing it because an insurance company might offer more coverage at a low price to win you over. After 6 months or a year, though, you start paying for that additional coverage.
The worst part of going over budget is when the bank kicks you while you are down. The best way to add overdraft charges to your list of budget cuts is to check in with your account regularly. The better you know your checking balance the less likely you are to overdraft. It also helps you stay more focused on your finances and you'll naturally begin to protect your money better.
Hair and Nail Salons
I know you were hoping this wouldn't make the list, but rounding it off at number 10 on budget cuts to make when money gets tight is salons. You can save so much money by dying your own hair and painting your own nails. Not just a little money. Real worth-it money. If you have the discretionary income to spend, then by all means pamper yourself. But if things are tight, canceling these trips can help loosen your budget just with a simple change.
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