You need to make a budget. That’s just a fact and doing so can help you allocate enough of your money to your priorities and still save money each month. It can also help curb your out of control spending and if that sounds like something you could sorely use, you’re not alone.
Millions of Americans are dealing with higher costs on just about everything across the board, shrinking incomes, and mounting debt. It’s enough to make you just want to throw your hands up in the air and stop caring. But now is the time to be diligent and re-examine your finances.
You may be surprised at how many areas of your monthly expenses can be trimmed down or eradicated entirely. We’re here to help, check out some of our easy hacks to cut down on your monthly expenses and you just might find some of them are exactly what you need to get your budget under control.
Cut the Cord
As technology has evolved, so have the alternatives to paying that costly cable bill every month. There is a myriad of streaming options available to consumers that offer the same programming you can find on your cable channels.
The subscription costs are also significantly less expensive. You have plenty to choose from, Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu, even many of the cable networks have their own streaming services like HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, and Starz Play.
They all provide the same exact programming on demand which not only lets you binge watch your shows as you please, but lets you watch full seasons of series that may not be showing on the channels themselves through your cable provider.
That’s one option. There are others. Maybe you like your cable provider and want to watch channels and shows that aren’t available in other formats. Then you can re-examine your cable or satellite subscription package and see where you might be able to cut down on your costs.
Downgrade from the super fancy package you have now to something more affordable that might not have 280 channels that you don’t really watch all the time. Just about every package comes with the basic networks and cable news channels.
If you’re into sports, don’t pay the costly upcharges for the sports packages, ESPN has plenty of other methods to watch the games including mobile apps and online websites.
Let’s face it, owning a car can get pretty expensive. If you’re financed, then you’re already dealing with a monthly payment of some kind and that’s going to be a high priority item in your budget. Miss one of those payments and you won’t only lose the car but your credit rating could take a pretty bad hit.
Then there are the maintenance costs that come with the vehicle, particularly older models with high mileage. Things always seem to break down at the worst possible time financially.
Don’t forget about gas prices. That will certainly take a big chunk out of your budget every month depending on how often you drive and if you commute to work each day, those costs will really start to add up.
Remember, you also need insurance on that vehicle or you’ll be paying a whole lot more out of pocket if you’re pulled over and can’t prove you have coverage. It could be exponentially more than that if you get into an accident, especially one where you are at fault.
But you have options that can cut those costs down and still get you where you need to go. Public transportation is always there, whether it’s the bus or the train, you can save some serious coin taking one of them to work on occasion.
Maybe you’d rather have some privacy, but instead of driving your own car ride in someone else’s with Uber or Lyft. It’s not your car, so it’s also not your responsibility to pay for gas or insurance or maintenance. Just get in and get out and with the prices that these services charge to get from point A to point B, you’ll save a lot on each trip.
Many of us need that eye-opening cup of coffee in the morning just to merely function until lunch. What you don’t need is to pay the kinds of prices that Starbucks and The Coffee Bean are charging just to get the day started.
You want a great hack to help cut down on that monthly spending? Stop buying coffee at the store counter and start brewing it on your kitchen counter. Making coffee at home will dramatically reduce your coffee budget each month simply because you can buy an entire bag of your favorite flavor or a 12 pack of those K-cups to last you a period of weeks for the same price of one cup on a Monday morning.
The good news is that many of your favorite coffee shop brands sell take-home options, so you can still enjoy the taste of Starbucks or Dunkin at home…and for a lot less.
Pay Less for Wi-fi
We all need to get online but sometimes the fees for maintaining a strong Wi-fi signal can get outrageous. You’re not only paying for the router but the service as well.
Forget about the major carriers and start seeking out alternatives that offer cheaper prices and the same strength of signal. Karma Go is a good example.
No contracts, no unexpected fees, and they offer plenty of plans that fit into any budget that could use a little adjustment of monthly cost. It’s a pay-as-you-go option that only charges you for the data you use and it still runs all of your devices at 4G LTE speeds.
The best part is you can earn additional data on top of what you’ve purchased under you monthly plan when you allow others to share your connection. Don’t worry, they’re not taking any of your data, they use their own. They just access your connection and they can’t see any of your information either. So it’s fully secure.
Pay Less for That Cell Phone Too
While we’re at it, take a look at how much you’re paying for your cell service each month as well. You could be paying more than you need to on a plan that is too big for your usage trends.
The major carriers offer a menu of plans and rates and while they often try to talk you into taking the larger plan with higher prices, the reality is you may not be using all of the data and minutes that come with that pricing tier.
So exploring your options can bring down your spending, all it takes is one look at how many minutes you use on average and the amount of data you rely on from month to month.
It could be that you’re paying for services that you don’t readily use all the time. Why pay for them then? Drop that plan and get one that’s more affordable for what you really need.
You could also check out the many pay-as-you-go options that are out there. Just like with the Wi-Fi service, you can find phones and plans that only charge you for the service you actually use and there are no long-term contracts.
You can still enjoy the same strength of signal, call clarity, and expansive service areas that the Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint promise. But for less.
Read Your Insurance Policy
Car, homeowners, renters, health, even pet insurance policies are a necessary and vital form of protection to help you safeguard the things you love most. In some cases they’re also mandated by law, so chances are you hold at least one or more of these policies.
Those monthly premiums can’t be avoided if you’re going to remain fully covered and in compliance with certain state and federal mandates. Not doing so can cost more since you could be subject to penalties under the law. That can get very pricey.
What you can avoid, however, is paying way too much for coverage you may not need. While holding a car insurance or homeowners insurance policy may come with minimums as required by law, you might want additional protection that those minimums may not include.
But holding too much coverage can also be detrimental to your pocketbook and if you’re paying too much on your premiums each month, then you could find ways to cut back on those costs as well.
That’s why it’s a good idea to revisit your insurance policy every so often, that way you can be assured that you have the right amount of coverage and you’re not paying more than you really should.
Original Post by: Lenny Credit