When money is tight, every little bit you can save helps. Here are a few simple ways to adjust your existing budget to free up some funds.
1- Review Your Subscriptions
Many people have automatic payments set up for a host of subscription services. You’re likely paying for something you don’t need, or even use. Take a look at your bank statement to pinpoint those recurring charges. Entertainment streaming service platforms, music subscriptions, gym memberships, and online publications are common ones to watch out for.
You may have signed up for a free trial of a service and then forgotten to cancel and now get charged each month. Even if it’s a service you use, consider the value it provides for the money. Will you really miss it? Perhaps you could choose your favorite streaming service and cancel the others. Or, opt for the free version where possible. You may have to watch or listen to some ads in between your chosen content, but you’ll save some money.
2- Switch to a Prepaid Phone Plan
Save yourself some serious cash by choosing a prepaid phone plan. Prepaid plans have lower per-minute rates and no hidden fees. You only pay for what you use, so you don’t have to worry about sky-high overage fees. Plus, there’s no contract, which means no hefty cancellation fees.
Plans for prepaid phones offer plenty of flexibility. You can choose from a range of plans and providers to find one that fits your needs. You get all the benefits of post-paid plans but without the unpleasant surprises showing up on your bill each month.
Prepaid phone plans are also great if your credit is less than perfect due to past financial difficulties or having little credit history. Most post-paid phone plans check your credit before finalizing your plan, which leaves this option out for some people. With prepaid, there is never a credit check to worry about.
3- Cook Meals at Home
Eating out costs a lot of money. If you visit restaurants multiple times a week, you’re likely spending more money on meals than needed. Instead, start planning and cooking your meals at home.
Cooking dinner together can even be an opportunity to spend time with your partner, family, or roommates. Make it an event by assigning everyone a job and sitting down together to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
You can also start to meal prep your lunches to avoid spending your money on expensive, and often unhealthy, fast food options. Select some recipes you love, create a grocery list, and go shopping for ingredients and essentials. Planning ahead helps you to reduce food waste and find great coupons and deals. When possible, shop for in-season produce to further lower your bill.
4- Review Your Insurance
Letting your current auto insurance policy renew year after year without reviewing the terms could be costing you money. Get quotes from several other car insurance companies to compare rates and find the best deal. Always check into available discounts. Safe drivers with no recent accident history often qualify for lower premiums. Some carriers give you the chance to save some money by using an app to monitor your driving and reward you for good habits.
5- Shop Around for Major Purchases
Some costs you just can’t avoid. Maybe you need to replace your washing machine or your refrigerator is acting up and needs repairs. Unless it’s a huge time-sensitive issue, try to spend a little time doing your research. If you must purchase a new appliance, you can secure a better deal by shopping around to compare prices. When you need repair work on non-essential items, opt for weekday appointments instead of weekend or after-hours service, which can cost a lot more.
Whether you’re saving up for a big upcoming expense, or want to stash a little extra away for an emergency fund, these easy budget hacks will help you lower your monthly bills by shopping smarter and putting a stop to wasting money on services you don’t need. Even these small changes can lead to big savings, less stress, and improved finances.
By: Katherine Robinson, a writer for Prepaid Bill