Reviewing your spending and cutting back on costs will help you save money. With the saved money you can pay off a debt or building your savings. It can also help to stretch your dollar when you are low on cash.
There are many ways to cut your spending painlessly even when it feels like you don’t have enough to cover everything. If you can focus your efforts on a few things to cut, you will find you can cut $20-50 a month and then start your savings or reduce your debt.
Here are lots of ideas to get you started. Read each category and go through your last few months of spending to see which you can use in your own plans. If doing them all is overwhelming, start by choosing 1-3 from each list and then watch how much you can save over time. Be sure to download the 8 Printable Cutting Costs Checklists so you can go over your spending and check the tips off as you implement them.
Building community and relationships is a huge part of all our lives. Sometimes the activities that create this cost quite a bit of money. There are many ways to build your social network while still saving money. Check out these ways to help cut costs.
1 Plan gift-giving well in advance.
Then you will have time to be thoughtful while still choosing gifts you find on clearance or sale. I always think of birthdays and Christmas when I am scanning clearance racks. If I find a particularly good deal, I may get it just to put aside for a time I need a gift. I have a “gift closet” where I keep these discount gifts for the time when I need a hostess gift for an event invite, or my kids are invited to a friend’s birthday. I also always keep my eye out for good Christmas presents throughout the year every time I find a great sale or clearance. I try not to give gifts that I have spent more than 50% on.
2 Discuss limits for spending on gifts with family and friends.
Or better yet, plan a fun activity together to avoid spending on gifts. When you can’t afford gifts, tell your friends and family that you won’t be spending on Christmas this year, but if you want to do something low cost and meaningful, write each person a nice card or poem.
3 Avoid going to restaurants to socialize.
Invite friends over to your home for coffee or host potluck dinners to spend time together.
4 Check your phone company’s and internet provider’s plans and rates at least once a year.
Be sure you are on the lowest cost plan to suit your needs. If they have changed to a special offer rate or raised discounts for a company or organization you are a member of, but you haven’t asked to change to the new rate you could be missing out on discounts each month.
5 Only pay for extra services you really use.
Cut back on the extras and stick to the services you need with your mobile phone company and cable.
6 Don’t upgrade to the newest phone every year or two.
Pay one phone off, then keep it for a while. Save the payment amount and apply that to your next new phone or use the amount saved to pay down a debt you have looming over you.
7 Avoid bundling services you don’t use.
Many cable companies still try to sell you landline phone lines in their “bundle deals”. Be sure that the added phone line makes your final bill less than if you only take the services you will use instead of all of them.
8 Brainstorm free or low-cost dates and get-together’s.
Dates and outings with friends don’t have to cost a lot. You can also search for tons of ideas for cheap dates with romantic partners or friends on Pinterest.
To find out other ways to save money, check out the rest of my money-saving series.