Just having a budget and being aware of your expenditures will help you tremendously, but sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes we’ve got to trim the fat to make our budget work. Here are 8 things that can drastically cut your budget:
1. Remind yourself of past purchases
Record what you buy and go through all your purchases periodically. Where did the product that you bought go? Was it really useful? Could you have spent less on it? By thinking about each purchase after the emotions of owning the item fades away, it will help train your brain to reduce any unnecessary spending.
Ordering water at restaurants and fast food joints will save you a bundle and will keep you healthier. The benefits of drinking water are well documented and it’s the cheapest remedy on the planet for what ails you. We decided to make this change in our household and we saved $53 a month, lost weight, gained energy and we feel better all around.
Tricks such as the 30-day rule, where you wait 30 days to let your emotions settle down before you make a purchasing decision, are popular because they work. For those suffering from frequent impulse purchases, give this one a try. Don’t worry, sales always come back and even if they don’t, saving the money means you will have more to spend next time around.
4. Use Cash
When I was a kid, I frequently stopped myself from buying something because I simply had no money. With a credit card in almost everyone’s wallet these days, when was the last time you had to refrain yourself because you didn’t bring enough money with you? The topic of reward points always comes up whenever we talk about the benefits of using cash, but unless you have extreme discipline, spending less usually far outweighs the benefits of a possible 1% back.
5. Use coupons
Using coupons doesn’t necessarily mean waiting for the Sunday paper anymore – most coupons are found online (retailmenot.com). Using coupons is useful for more than just getting a discount. Trying to find a coupon takes effort, and it gives you ample time to think about what you actually need to buy, acting as a cooling-off period helping with the problem of impulse buying.
6. Only buy what you need
It sounds obvious, but how many of us buy what is truly necessary? We often buy in bulk in an attempt to reduce our costs and end up wasting what we don’t use. We buy a house that has unused rooms, a more expensive TV with features we don’t care about, or a high-priced cell phone plan because we never want to go over our plan minutes.
7. Buy Generic
With few exceptions, generic brands are identical to the big brands, but they spend less on advertising and usually cost about a 1/3 less.
8. Pay Yourself First
When everything is in your checking account, it’s easy to feel plush with money and in turn spend just a little more. But as Account417’s readers have pointed out more than once, paying yourself first — immediately putting some money into savings when you get paid — can help you spend less than you actually have. It’s a wonderful trick, and I urge you to try it and see for yourself.
What tricks do you use to trim your budget?