Try to cut back on each “variable” category in your budget. Here are a few helpful ideas.
Most of us spend too much money on our cable service
. Either cancel some (or all) of your premium channels such as HBO, STARZ or SHOTIME or better yet, cancel cable TV all together. The most expensive Netflix plan only costs $16.99 a month (this allows you to have 3 DVDs out at one time and free streaming to your TV). You have to buy a device (one time $99 fee) to get the streaming videos but it will most likely still save you money. Or you can watch them on your Mac or PC. Better yet, most TV programs are online. Almost all major networks have entire episodes online. These are completely free with less advertising! If you live close to a video store, such as Blockbuster, ask them what deals they have. They also will send you DVDs for free, $17.99 for 3 movies out at once, plus you can exchange them in-store. They also have an on demand player, just like Netflix.
Hint: Feel like you can’t live without your on demand? Make a list of the shows you regularly watch and see if you can find them online for free. Try all the major network websites and do a Google search for your favorite shows. If you can find them all then you have nothing to worry about: search Netflix and/or Blockbuster to rent DVDs of your favorite shows.
Phone service. Does anyone really need a landline anymore? If you have a cell phone, this is something you can most likely cancel without ever noticing it’s gone. Cut back on your cell phone extras like texting and internet. You can always go pre-paid.
Do you use your computer mostly at home or at work? If you answered work then maybe you don’t need a super high speed internet connection. Try switching back to DSL and saving money
Memberships. How many memberships do you have? Gym? Dating service? Costco? How many of these do you actually use? If you’re not using one, cancel it. Simple.
Food. Bringing your lunch to work can save you a lot of money. When I switched to bringing my lunch I saved an average of $6 a day. That’s $30 a week and $1560 a year! Eat at home more and you’ll save a lot of money, and, most likely, eat healthier too.
Beauty treatments. Hopefully you are not living in the ‘80s and going to a tanning salon. Besides the chance of getting skin cancer it adds up. You can get the same effect (and much safer too) by buying a $6 bottle of self tanner at the drugstore. Love getting your nails done? Buy a bottle of good nail polish (like OPI) and do it yourself or take turns giving and receiving manicures with a friend.
Books. Cut back on your Amazon spending and hit up your local library instead. Most libraries allow you to browse their selection online and place your order that way. All you have to do is pick up the books and drop them back off. If you read a lot this can translate into mega savings. You can also read DVDs at the library for free.
Trade what you don’t want for what you do. All of us have stuff we no longer use, now you can use the internet to trade them for what you want. Even if you do have to pay for shipping it’s still way cheaper then paying for new books or CDs.
You can also use freecycle.com and craigslist for free or cheap things.
Cut coupons. You will be surprised at how much money you can save by taking a few minutes each week to clip coupons. When you shop be careful of buying too many perishables. Don’t let anything go to waste.
Clothes. If you really need something new search online for sales before you shop and don’t impulse buy. You can find unique pieces at local thrift stores. Or, have a clothes swap party with your friends.
For help making a budget visit moneystrands.com/ym.
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