10 Painless Ways To Cut Your Budget in Half

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painless_budgetI save over 50% of my income. Whenever I tell people this, I always get this astonished look followed by the question ‘how do you do it?’. People always assume there’s some big secret or magic trick to saving more. There really isn’t. It comes down to two factors. You either have to make more or save more.

Earning extra income can be a little tricky. If you want to save over half of your income, start by trying to save more. And to do that, you need to cut your budget. It may seem impossible but there are painless things you can do everyday that will  cut your budget in half.

1. Cut your cable

If you still have cable, it’s time to cancel it! There are so many other and more affordable options such as Hulu and Netflix. Many networks also stream their shows online for free. Cable is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

2. Make your own coffee

A cup of coffee at Starbucks costs anywhere from $2.50 to $6 a cup depending on how fancy you get. That’s as much as $120 a month if you get one everyday. Save yourself some money and a daily trip to the coffee shop by making your own. It will taste exactly the same.

3. Meal plan weekly

Food is probably one of your biggest expenses, especially if you eat out a lot. Cut that bad habit out and start cooking more. It’s cheaper and healthier for you. Meal plan weekly so that you know exactly what you need to buy at the groceries and what you’re going to make. No more spending an hour trying to figure out what to eat, only to give up and order take-out.

4. Use public transportation

To some people, this might be an option but if you live in a big city with a public transportation system, consider using it more. In fact, why not get rid of your car all together? Riding the train or subway is cheaper, you don’t have to worry about car maintenance, and you get a little extra time during your commute to read or even take a nap.

5. Cancel your gym membership

You might love taking classes at your gym. But those don’t come cheap. It is entirely possible to exercise on your own and still get a good workout. Try going for a run, investing in a set of weights, or using workout videos on YouTube. It’s also a good idea to get yourself a workout buddy to keep each other motivated.

6. Be less dependent on your phone

We tend to be on our phones constantly. And that means more data and text messaging usage, which equals a higher bill. You can look for cheaper cell phone providers. Or we could all just be a little less dependent on our phones and more mindful of how we use our plans. Time to find the free Wifi spots!

7. Buy generic

Name brand isn’t always better. In fact, many generic brands are made in the same factories as their name brand counterparts. They just get a different label. Go for the generic brand next time. You probably won’t notice a difference.

8. Drink at home

Going out for one drink is never really just one drink. And then your tab starts to add up and when you see the final bill, your eyes pop out a little. Going out and having a few drinks isn’t cheap. But that doesn’t means you should stop socializing. Invite people over and drink at home. Everyone can chip in a little and you will still have fun at a fraction of the cost. If you must go out, try to go during happy hours.

9. Avoid unnecessary fees

Paying fees is the worst because most of them are unnecessary. One common fee we pay too much is an ATM fee. Avoid this by being a little more proactive. Next time you’re at your bank, figure out how much cash you need until your next visit so that you’re not withdrawing money from an out-of-network ATM and paying for it.

10. Learn to DIY

The holidays are coming up and that means lots of gift shopping. Instead of picking something up from the mall, why not learn to DIY this year? Gifts you make yourself are much more meaningful and special. Pinterest is a great way to learn how to make new things.

What are some of the biggest ways your have cut down on your budget?

Comments

  1. says

    On the coffee item, you can even upgrade your coffee and still come out ahead. I buy Costco’s pre-ground coffee, but also buy half & half instead of the godawful powdered stuff. The half & half is a lot more expensive, but I think in the long run the health benefits make up the cost (have you looked at the ingredients list of the powdered stuff…I’m pretty sure you’re ingesting something close to plastic), and even with the cost, my daily cost of coffee is 90% cheaper than buying it at Starbucks.

  2. says

    Giving up cable for Hulu was huge. We were financing the in-laws out in the guest house, so we now save $92 a month — which goes directly into savings.

    We have a landline because we’re home all the time, but even so the bill was getting ridiculous. It was $36 a month, and a decent chunk of the calls were for my in-laws in the guest house.

    So we cut them off (they have cell phones with plenty of minutes) and I switched to Ooma. My phone bill is now $3.85 a month. For regular people who need/want cell phones, I’ve heard great things about Republic Wireless and Ting. I’m less enthused about Republic since it changed its rates, but it’s still good compared to regular companies.

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