We’re all guilty of spending a little extra here and there. These small purchases don’t seem like a big deal in the moment, but over time, they can add up to big expenditures. If you’ve been trying to budget better but can’t seem to get a handle on where your money is going, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your spending habits.
This means taking a look at your budget! Get ready to comb through your purchases and see what you can cut out to save big. Not sure where to start? Here are 14 things to eliminate from your budget in the first two weeks of your budgeting makeover.
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Day 1: Anything you put on a credit card. If you have a bad habit of rolling over balances or putting things on your credit cards because you don’t have enough money in your bank account, it’s time to break that habit. Keep your credit card at home and only use it in case of an emergency or only use it once you’re able to pay down the balance every month.
Day 2: Grocery store “buy more” deals. A lot of stores will try to encourage you to buy more of a product by throwing on deals like “buy two, get one free” or “buy one, get one 50 percent off.” If the item isn’t perishable and is something you buy at least once a month, it’s probably worth the bargain to stock up. Otherwise, pass — you could be overspending. Additionally, cut out purchasing groceries not on your list. You made a list for a reason — anything else is excessive. If you didn’t need it before you left, you don’t need it now.
Day 3: Cancel your landline service. Even if you don’t have a cell phone, you can make calls through free online call-to-chat software. Over 47% of American households have gone completely wireless!
Day 4: Cut (or chisel down) your cable. The idea of losing access to your favorite shows may have been keeping you connected, but there are lots of alternatives. Subscription streaming services connect you to popular content and can be watched by anyone with a membership. If there is one channel that you would miss in particular, see if they have their own app (many do!). With the average cable package costing $99.10, even if you subscribed to a few streaming services, you still may come about ahead!
Day 5: Careless driving can cost you. Did you know that keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by 3.3 percent? Stop neglecting your vehicle to help stretch your gas budget farther.
Day 6: Get rid of automated subscriptions you forgot about. Whether it’s a subscription to a newspaper or game app, take stock of what gets automatically taken out of your account every month. Take the time to consider if the amount of use you get out of it makes it worth the additional cost. Cancel any subscriptions that don’t make the cut.
Day 7: If you don’t work out regularly, cancel your gym membership. You might be keeping it there for the day you muster up enough motivation, but let’s be honest — most of the time you’re pretty much just donating your money to the gym. Instead, take a month’s worth of membership fees and buy some equipment you can use at home and start there. If you start consistently working out, then reward yourself with a gym membership or more equipment to grow your own gym.
Day 8: Eliminate impulse shopping. Go over your last three months of transactions and see which stores you tend to impulse shop at the most. Don’t go there for a month and see how much you end up saving! While you’re at the store, skip the brand-name cleaning products. They’re overpriced and you could be saving much more on the same product, in generic.
Day 9: Stop getting the extras when you dine out. Those little add-ons add up over time. Avoid purchasing things like a beverage. For example, if the average beverage cost around $2 and you eat out five times a month, that’s over $100 by the end of the year! Instead, ask for a cup for water.
Day 10: Stop paying for shipping on online purchases. Find the product on another site that offers free shipping or search for promo codes that eliminate the cost.
Day 11: In most cases, you don’t need to be paying banking fees. If you do, visit your local branch and see what options you have to eliminate the fees, or see if you should change to another account style or even a new bank entirely.
Day 12: Find alternatives to app-based car sharing services. These ride share apps make it too easy to call for a ride before you explore alternatives. Can you leave earlier and take public transit? Can you ride a bike? Consider your options before defaulting to the easiest transit option.
Day 13: Don’t buy food at big events where food pricing is typically inflated. Eat before you go or check the rules before you go to see if you are able to bring in food (many sports stadiums will actually allow this!).
Day 14: Stop outsourcing services you can perform yourself. Landscapers, maid services, home repair, etc. — there are many things that may seem easier to pay someone else to do. Unless it’s outside your range of skills, though, suppress your desire to take it easy and take care of it yourself.
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