10 Items you Should Slash from your Budget

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According to CNN Money, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.  In order to resolve that, let’s get to work on your budget.  A budget truly is the foundation for your financial success.  If you don’t have a budget yet then you should create one in with these 5 simple steps.  Once you have created your budget, make sure you negotiate your reoccurring bills to save money. Once you have taken those steps, it’s time to look at things that can be cut from your budget.  Check out these 10 items that you should slash from your budget!

 

10 Items you Should Slash from your Budget (2)

Cable

Per CNN Money, cable rates are rising at 4 times the rate of inflation!  The average package comes out to about $100 per month.  On top of the fact that most television shows are available online or through a monthly subscription service for much less, cable is becoming a thing of the past.

Personally, I ditched cable about 6 months ago.  Honestly, I thought it would be difficult.  I previously had a bad habit of leaving the television on as background noise while I worked.  I am happy to say that I am much more productive and I have cut my electricity bill down considerably.

Related: How to Negotiate your Monthly Bills

Car Wash

I know, I know, you want your car to be shiny for the summer and dirt free in the winter time.  I agree that washing your car is important but have you looked at the prices lately?  Especially if you opt for the inside and outside wash. Invest in a good bucket, hose, sponges and other supplies to wash your car at home while it is nice outside.

Personally, I had an unlimited car wash package.  Honestly was a financially fit and fab deal – only $12 a month for unlimited car washes!  Unfortunately, my deal ran out and that package went up to $18 a month.  Instead of renewing the package, I have taken the time to wash my car myself.

Bottled Water

Is bottled water really worth the expense to you? Getting a bottle of water at a gas station is easily $1-2 if not more. Even a larger pack of water at the grocery store isn’t the most financially fit.

Personally, I bought a Brita water filter for my house. That way I can still enjoy filtered water without the on going cost of bottled water.  In addition, I take reusable plastic water bottles to the gym and work to avoid buying bottled water.

Gourmet Coffee

I remember a time when I was literally spending hundreds of dollars on Starbucks a month!  Crazy because I don’t even like coffee that much!  I had to start budgeting like a pro to really get a handle on my coffee spending.  I will treat myself to a coffee every once in a while especially when I receive gift cards.

Have you looked at your coffee budget lately?  Hopefully, it hasn’t gotten out of line like mine did.  If your coffee budget is outrageous, there are quite a few ways to cut back.  Do you really need coffee on the way to work or can you substitute for the free coffee at work?  If you can’t do the free coffee, have you thought about investing in the

Eating out Lunch

Eating out for lunch during the work week can easily add up.  Say, for example, you are able to find a meal for $6 per day (of course, we know that’s on the low end).  Over the course of one week, that is $30 spent towards lunch and $120 over the entire month.  Whereas, if you were able to meal prep for the week, you could easily cut the lunch expense in half.

Personally, eating out for lunch is one of the hardest habits for me to crack.  I will do well at it for a month or two and then fall back in the slump of costly and unhealthy meals.  A tip to avoid this cycle is to only use cash for lunch if eating out.  For example, if I budget myself $10 cash to eat out for lunch, I will only eat out on Friday if at all.

Related: 9 Simple Ways to Save Money While Eating Out

Lawn Care

Lawn care can easily cost upwards of $30-50 every two weeks if not more.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love mowing the grass especially with the heat.  I honestly never mowed grass until this year after becoming a homeowner. In the long run buying a lawn mower made more sense financially to me (even though one of the neighbors offered me a pretty cheap deal).  Although I always dread mowing, I feel proud that I can do it myself and save money in the long run.

Related: 10 Costs of Homeownership (that you haven’t considered)

(Certain) Personal Maintenance

Now, I am not saying stop getting your hair or nails done but do you need to go every week?  Since I wear my hair natural my regular hair appointments were cut out of my budget many years ago.  Therefore, it is more like a treat when I do get my hair done.  I do understand everyone doesn’t have that same luxury.  Are there other ways you can cut back on personal maintenance though?

Wasted Groceries

You have gone to the grocery store and stocked up for the week – fresh fruit, veggies, and meat.  Then what happens?  You make plans for dinner with friends and end up eating out a few nights.  Not only have you defeated the purpose of eating at home but you also may have wasted money on certain food items that don’t have a long shelf life.  It happens to the best of us but what can you do to avoid that from happening?

Personally, I try to grocery shop with a specific list of things I know I will need for the next week or two.  In addition, I don’t stock up on too many fresh fruits and vegetables that I know will spoil.  I am only grocery shopping for myself – therefore, it makes it a little easier that I don’t have to depend on others eating habits.

Unused Memberships

When is the last time you used your Netflix or Hulu?  How about Apple Music or Tidal?  Or even your Gym membership or Personal Trainer?  If you haven’t used a membership in a while, it may be time to slash that from your budget.  Although services like Netflix and Hulu are less than $10 per month, it can add up over time.  Personally, I slashed Netflix, Hulu, and Apple Music.  I reminded myself what I did without those services and realized there were so many other free services that work just as well!

Convenience/Late Fees

I hate hate hate convenience fees.  For example, to pay my mortgage online there is a $5 fee per transaction.  Although it only seems like $5, over a year that is $60!  And it isn’t like my mortgage is simply going to go away after a year.  Instead of figuring the $5 convenience fee in to my monthly budget, I have decided to mail my mortgage payments.  I will admit I never purchase stamps but I would rather mail the bill then deal with the convenience fee.

Make sure that you avoid convenience and late fees at all costs.  Bank fees can literally eat up your checking account if you don’t pay attention.  Checking the due dates of all your bills and associated convenience fees that are typically in the fine print can help to avoid extra fees.

Related: 7 Bank Fees Eating your Checking Account

 

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What items have you slashed from your budget to save more money?  What would you be willing to slash from your budget?

 

Looking to free up some money in your budget? Start with these 10 items that you can easily slash from your budget to save money money!

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and Financially Fit & Fabulous*

 

34 comments

  1. Looks like I’m on track already with most of these! Cable used to be the big time killer for me at $120/month. After slashing it, I realized how little I was actually watching cable TV. I’m a big sports fan though so SlingTV for $20/month gets me my ESPN fix.
    Thanks for the tips!

  2. Good suggestions!

    I’d like to add a suggestion to your thoughts about avoiding convenience fees (which was right on target!) If you check with your bank (or credit union) they probably have a bill-payer service (and if they don’t, you need to shop for another bank). Bill payer services are usually free, and you can schedule them for recurring payments every month. You won’t have to pay for stamps or hassle with snail mail, and your bills will always be paid on time because the bank will never accidentally forget. 😉

  3. A good one is to review your cell phone bill. I ended up buying out my contract (no fees) and going with a less expensive phone plan. No sense paying for unlimited call time when I averaged 30 minutes of call time a month. That shaved about $25 off my monthly bill. Well worth the customer service call.

  4. Great list! I will admit that I still have cable, but we split it with our renter so it was a bit easier to stomach. If we don’t get a new renter within the next month or two we are going to cut it.

    As far as other things I slash from my budget, I would say dry cleaning. Some things need to be dry cleaned, but I know a number of other people who do it just so they don’t have to iron. I will save the ~$20 to $30 a week and spend 30 minutes ironing everything once a week.

  5. I’m on track when it comes to cable, personal maintenance, and a few others. I really struggle with the bottle water though. I need to invest in a great filtration system. Love your blog by the way!

  6. I agree with Ndeshi, one bill that really gets to me is my cellphone bill. My husband and I stopped our family plan and saved $40 a month. He now uses Project fi.

  7. This is a great list of things to cut. I have to say, I’m pretty good at not spending money on these things and cut my Starbucks spending down from $600 a year to about $100 a year a few years ago. Saved a lot of money! I’m with you on mowing the lawn (and I don’t have to anymore), but at least you can count it as exercise! 😉

  8. I agree with most of the items on your list. I have up cable years ago. But bottle water was a hard one to give up. LOL

  9. Great suggestions! We have the water filter and the bottles because of all day sports events and road trips. We have refillable sports bottles too, but we freeze the ones from the grocery store so that we don’t have to buy ice… LOL! When they melt, we just drink em.

  10. Okay, I’m guilty of the wasted groceries, and late fees – ugh. I’m doing well in other areas though. Like bringing my water in a bottle from home instead of buying one.

  11. You are just crushing me with this post,… I definitely need to cut at least 5 things,…Ok, pray for me. I could always save more!

  12. My dad watches CNN ONLY! And I don’t understand why we haven’t cut off cable yet haha.
    Thanks for this post!
    Another tip would be not to spend (too much) money on food when you’ve got a meal plan in college!

  13. Wasted food is the one that bothers me the most. Meal planning can help a lot, but I can’t seem to maintain it long term.

  14. Good place to start! Think I got most of them covered. Do people really get their nails and/or hair done every week? Things don’t even grow that fast! 🙂

  15. I would say don’t cut cable and Netflix/Hulu at the same time. Cutting cable was a big one (my hubby insists on keeping the $10 a month plan instead of using an antenna, not sure why). Having Netflix though has been a great substitute.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that while you may pay more for paying online (or by phone, yikes!) you can get some discounts for enrolling in autopay. We do that with our phones and get $5 off each month. I know the amount won’t change, so it goes onto the expense tracker on the first of each month. As long as you remember to account for it, it should be fine.

    And that’s another expense to consider. So many people pay big phone bills each month, either because they insist on a big carrier or the newest phones. You don’t need either. What does a $600-$700 phone do that last year’s model doesn’t for much less? And why pay for a major carrier if the discount carriers are piggybacking off them anyway?

  16. I usually consider car washes a once or twice a year treat – always in the winter after a weeks of all the road salt getting all up under my car.

  17. Wasted groceries are definitely one of my biggest wastes of money. I’m slowly getting better about it, but sometimes I just don’t do a good job of thinking ahead.

  18. Girl, I had to let my gym membership go! Hubby is addicted to the others but that membership saves us $50/m. Printing this off and sharing with him.

  19. Great list of things to cut. I always sign up for a free trail and usually forget to cancel before the trail is over. I just did this with Apple music this month. Great tips for getting my budget on point.

  20. Cable is such a huge one! We got an antenna for our TV, and I couldn’t believe how many channels it picked up! We usually just stick to Netflix (we were gifted a year-long subscription) when we have a chance to watch TV, which isn’t that often anyway.

    I’d add that while it’s critical to keep an eye on your budget, I think so long as your splurges are planned splurges, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. So if Starbucks is your one indulgence, and you budget to visit a couple of times a week, no worries – so long as you’re honest about it being both your one chosen indulgence and within your budget.

  21. I’m pretty good with all of these things- except cable. Since we get our internet through our cable provider it works out to waaaay cheaper a month. BUT, it’s money we still shouldn’t be spending. Grrrr.

  22. The convenience fee for your mortgage sounds pretty hefty! I think mailing your payment sounds like a great idea. This is a good list and I think I’ve slashed pretty much all of them from my own budget.

  23. This is a good list, I’ve cut out a lot of these. I can’t let go of my cable though. lol Back in the day I started by not paying ATM fees. I was shocked to see how much I was spending using other folks ATMs.

  24. This year, we cut out lawn care, and cable is honestly about to get the boot. I’m cutting that car wash too! Thanks for the reminder!

  25. When we were saving we cut out the cable and an unused gym membership.

    Lawn care I can’t see myself getting rid of. Neither of us have the time to maintain it ourselves.

  26. You hit it on the nail with wasting groceries and eating out. Being an average American I’m guilty of wasting too much food that should at the very least be given away!

  27. Great list. My only item is the coffee. Gave up lattes years ago but I still enjoy an awesome brew at my close-by local shop. Best coffee in the world but it’s more of a social outlet for me to go there and interact with people in town.

  28. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of a lot of these. When you consider all these extra expenses as one lump sum, things definitely add up quickly. I’m usually pretty good with memberships but wasted groceries is usually hard for me. One tip that helps save me a lot is buying discounted gift cards to places I shop on a regular basis – like Target. There are a ton of sites like Gift Card Karma that sell hundreds of gift cards at a discount. I stack those cards with sales and coupons to save even more 🙂 Thanks for your great article!

  29. I can’t cut the car washes. Here in CT, they put ammonium chloride on the roads in the winter. So getting the car washed every couple of weeks is a maintenance must. It saves thousands of dollars in repairs. I learned the hard way. The trick is to find one that washes the under carriage. And do it when you gas up so you save a couple of dollars.

  30. Love these tips! Another great one to note is purchasing discounted gift cards to places you frequently shop – like Target and Walmart. I always purchase discounted Target gift cards from giftcardplace.com for about 8% off and I stack that with the Cartwheel app for even more savings. It’s a great saving secret that a lot of people don’t know about.

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