We write a lot about budgeting and gaining control over your finances. We know that a lot of this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to cutting back on your spending to make your budget work. Becoming financial stable can require a bit of sacrifice, so we’re here to help guide you in some decisions that might make cutting back a little easier for you.
Necessary or Unnecessary Expenses?
First, classify your expenses into one category: Necessary or Unnecessary.
This involves a little honesty on your part. We both know that you don’t need that subscription box full of trinkets, over priced clothing, and knick-knacks no matter how much joy it brings you. Food, insurance, mortgages, car payments, utilities, etc. are necessary expenses. While items like daily Starbucks coffees, Netflix subscriptions, eating out, season tickets to your favorite sports team, etc. all fall into the unnecessary category.
6 Ways to Save
Okay, so we’ve covered the basics. Now it’s time to dig deep to see how you can adjust your spending to start saving money each month. A large portion of the typical American budget goes to unnecessary costs, but without any of them them, life would be a little dull.
1. Subscriptions Boxes (Save $15-$50/ month)
- We touched on this a little earlier in the blog, but while subscription boxes may seem like a fun and a convenient way to acquire new things, it also adds up. Ask yourself, “Would I be willing to pay just as much for these items if I was shopping at the store?” Chances are you’re saying “no” to a majority of the items.
2. Gym Memberships (Save $20-$150/ month)
- First, if you have a gym membership that you aren’t using, stop kidding yourself and cancel it. While your intentions were good, an unused gym membership is throwing money away every month. On the flip side, exercise is a great investment in your health. If you do go to the gym, consider whether you need to spend that much to reach your fitness goals. Could you replace it by running with friends, biking around town, or using a cheaper exercise app to work out at home? If you’re only using a treadmill at the gym, you’d be much better off running outside and saving on that monthly expense. You should also try Groupon or new gyms in the area to take advantage of lower-priced intro options. Trying new exercises will also be great cross training for your body! Try yoga one month, bootcamp the next, barre, spin classes, boxing, swimming, and more!
3. Avoid Brand Names (Save $30+ per month)
- This one is pretty straightforward. Avoid brand name products if a comparable generic version is available. While packaging, marketing, and celebrity endorsements are flashy on brand name products, the the product may not be contributing its value than if there is a generic brand counterpart. Look at last month’s brand name purchases in your closet, pantry, and home. What could you have replaced and been just as happy, while saving a few extra bucks? I’m guessing some of those cleaning supplies and paper goods could be swapped for something cheaper.
4. Eating Out & Drinks (Save $100-$300/month)
- Eating out is one of the biggest money pits to fall into. On average, Americans spend $250 a month on food outside the home. That’s over $3,000 per year! Although it’s fast, easy, and you don’t have to do the dishes, it is also much more expensive compared to eating at home. Set an eating out budget for the month and stick to it. Or try setting a rule for yourself, such as “I will only go out to eat with a friend” or “weekends only” or “max $10 per meal.” Can you cut your current eating out budget in half? It can be hard when a friend invites you to a birthday dinner. Instead, eat dinner at home before the event and attend by just ordering an appetizer, drink, or dessert and ask for a separate check, to help save on the expense. Ordering drinks is also an easy way to quickly exceed your meal budget. Instead, buy your favorite cocktail supplies, invite a few friends over, and start practicing your at-home bartender skills. If you want to get out and about, take full advantage of happy hour specials.
5. Decide on One Streaming Service (Save $10-50/month)
- Cutting the cord is a great way to save money, but thanks to all of the new streaming services popping up, you may be spending more than regular cable these days! Take a look at what services you can live without. If you haven’t opened your Hulu app in a week, maybe you don’t need it. Since most subscriptions are month-to-month, we suggest canceling the subscription during the season your favorite show isn’t airing new episodes and reactive when it comes back. This goes for sports channels as well!
6. Pay Over Time with No Interest (Save hundreds!)
- The great thing about Zebit is being able to purchase the items you want and pay over time. This allows you to pick up that new TV without blowing your monthly budget or grab an eCertificate to your favorite restaurant without going over your Eating Out allowance. Zebit is a great way to keep you within your budget while enjoying some of the costly expenses in life. Register and start shopping today!
While cutting back on these unnecessary expenses can be a sacrifice, always remember your financial goals. While skipping that delicious latte in the morning is rough in the moment, remembering that you just contributed to your savings goal helps ease the pain. There isn’t an easy road to financial stability; otherwise, everyone would be there. But there are ways to make the journey a bit more enjoyable along the way.
Have any more tips on cutting back unnecessary spending habits? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!