Five Simple Ways To Cut Costs From Your Monthly Budget

by Hank Coleman

Here are a few simple ways to save your precious pennies from your monthly budget.

Plan Your Shopping Trips. Many people end up spending extra money on things that they never wanted in the first place or will ever use. I used to be a sucker for the impulse purchases while waiting in line at the checkout. Getting around this problem requires some simple planning. Put a simple list on your fridge for grocery items or have a list saved in your phone for other items you need to get on your weekly trip to the supermarket. Stick to your list. Do not deviate from it. This way you would not be wandering the aisles throwing things randomly in your cart without exactly knowing how much you will use or what you already have at home. Did you know that you can save a bundle on your grocery bill by skipping the aisles? You should just shop for stuff around the edge. Shop in a circle on the farthest outside paths and you will save money and eat healthier with fruit, veggies, meat, and dairy products.

Check Your Monthly Bills. A substantial part of your monthly expenses is the money you spend on electricity, cable, and telephone bills. Make sure you spend 10-15 minutes when you receive the bills to look them over and spot any errors. Use this time to put your bills in one spot until you mail them or take the time then to write a check and mail them back. Ask yourself questions like: Do I have the right payment plan for my phone? Do I need to start paying extra attention to the unused sources of electricity at home? Can I trim my cable bill with fewer channels? Were any mistakes made? Want to save yourself a headache? Just sign up for online bill pay and make it automatic.

Think Twice With Credit Cards. Spending money using a credit card is the same as taking cash out of your wallet and handing it over, but we do not think of it like that though. Many people do not realize that the money is really leaving their pocket. Minimize the usage of credit cards to make purchases, and when there is no other option think twice about the sum of money you are spending and how it has reduced your spending power for the future. McDonald’s found that the average transaction rose from $4.50 to $7.00 when customers were allowed to use plastic instead of cash in its restaurants. Research shows that people spend more using credit cards despite paying off the balance every month. I personally put all of my monthly expenses on my American Express card and pay it off every month in order to earn reward points.

A Simple Home. People love to shop at wholesale clubs. They buy so much stuff for a cheap price. But, do you have the space for twenty family size boxes of cereal? Before getting anything new for your house, like a sofa, a new set of bed sheets, or twenty boxes of Frosted Flakes, think about whether you have the space for it in your home.

Spend money to cut costs. If you are planning to get a new appliance, subscribe to a new service, choosing a school for your kids, or opening a new bank account, take a moment to think about how spending this money will help you save your current and future costs. Do not buy a new microwave oven if you just felt the need for it once every month. Do buy a new set of tools if you have the time to repair things around the home or your car and do not want to spend money on getting someone to fix it for you. I bought a brand new lawn mower last year, but then I realized that I hate mowing my lawn. I am going to hire a company to come and do it. Now, I am kicking myself for the new mower.

These five tips help remind us that the small choices that we make can have a far reaching impact on us and our finances. There are hundreds of small changes we can make like these.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ctreit March 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I normally don’t check my bill from our toll pass, but today I looked at it a little closer. When you pay bills like that automatically, all kinds of stuff can slip in there. I noticed that there was an error in the bill to the tune of $15 which is quite a bit relative to the overall monthly toll bill. Therefore, I totally agree with you: check your monthly bills.

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