Many people find themselves with staggering credit card bills. Though it seems overwhelming, trimming your budget through small lifestyle changes can help.
Sit down and think about how much money you spend during the week on coffee, lunches and takeout dinners. Someone who spends five dollars a day at the coffee shop is looking at a $100 expenditure over the course of the month. Invest that first month's savings in a single-cup coffee maker and travel mug so you can bring your coffee from home. The same goes for your morning yogurt, bagel or muffin. You'll notice extra money in your pocket almost immediately.
For lunchtime, brown-bag it. The $10 or so you spend every day on a salad or a sandwich adds up to more than $200 a month. Instead, buy salad fixings or lunch meat at the grocery store. For those of you who typically run late in the morning, pack your lunch the night before to avoid adding precious minutes to your morning routine.
This may be the toughest adjustment for families on the go, but it's time to cut back on takeout dinners. These quickie meals are budget busters. A few cartons of Chinese food or a couple of pizzas can easily run you $30 or more a pop. Instead, keep frozen prepared meals on hand for those nights when cooking isn't an option. Double your recipes and freeze batches of soup, chili and casseroles on weekends when you have time to cook. Even frozen prepared foods from the grocery store will save you considerable amounts of money. Avoiding expensive takeout even twice a week can save nearly $250 a month.
The first place to look for simple savings is in your cell phone, cable and Internet fees. Odds are you're paying for features you aren't using. If you have every cable channel but aren't a big TV watcher, contact your cable company to find out what packages are available that still offer what you need. Your cell phone bill could be another budget drain that can be trimmed through careful research of packages available.
You might look for a bundle package that gives you reduced rates on your Internet, cell phones and cable by using the same company for all. Comparison-shop between providers and don't be afraid to let them know what you've been offered by their competitors. This tactic has been known to sweeten many deals.
Get the most use from your expensive items before replacing them. Keep appliances, cars and electronics until they are no longer useful instead of purchasing every new item the comes on the market. You may be desperate for that new tablet, but stick with the old laptop for a bit -- it's not costing you a cent. Invest a few dollars in repairs to keep your big-ticket items in working condition, and wait to purchase new items until you find a deal you just can't pass up.