1) Cutting Back on Wal-mart. While there are great savings to be had at Wal-mart, there is also a great potential for abusing your wallet. We used to visit Wal-mart three or more times a week, and it seemed like every time we visited Wally Mart my wallet vomited money (not a pretty picture..but just be glad I didn’t go with the diarrhea analogy). So many cheap things that only cost $1 here or $3 dollars there, add it all up and it amounted to spending anywhere from $45 to $225 per trip. Between implementing shopping lists and recognizing that I am the impulsive buyer in the family (and taking steps to address that weakness) we have significantly lowered what we spend at Wal-mart each month.
- Previous Spending = $600
- New Spending = $275
- Savings = $325 ($3900 annual savings)
2) Cutting the Cable Cord. Between Hulu.com and Netflix, there is no reason to hang on to cable anymore.
- Previous Spending – $26
- New Spending = $0
- Savings = $26 ($312 annual savings)
3) Eating IN. We were spending so much money on eating out it was ridiculous. Even the local pizza place cost $22 for three people to eat a large pizza, three sodas, and a small side of garlic knots. Some months our dining out habit cost us $200/month. But usually we spend about $125 between local pizza places, McDonald’s, etc.
- Previous Spending = $125
- New Spending = $20
- Savings = $105 ($1260 annual savings)
4) No More Phone Bills. Well we do get phone bills, but we cut our long distance service on our land line and we only use MagicJack for long distance calls.
- Previous Spending = $49
- New Spending = $21
- Savings = $28 ($336 annual savings)
5) Staying at the Pump. One of the biggest surprises in reviewing our spending habits was discovering how much money we wasted at gas station convenience stores. Buying a pack a soda and a small package of beef jerky might only cost $3.50 each time, but added up over a month it totals about $30. So pay by credit card, stay at the pump, pack your travel snacks- and store a few non-perishable extras in the glove compartment for when you forget to pack a snack one day.
- Previous Spending = $30
- New Spending = $0
- Savings = $30 ($360 annual savings)
- Wal-mart $325
- TV $ 26
- Eating In $105
- Phone $28
- Convenience Store Spending $30
- TOTAL SAVINGS/MONTH = $514 ($6,168 annual savings)
Some of these budget cuts won’t work for you, and that is fine. We each have different spending habits and our budgets hemorrhage cash depending on our own impulses, weaknesses, tastes, etc. When you review you spending habits (write down EVERYTHING you spend even a penny on for a month and review your bank statements from the past) you will see the areas where you’re spending beyond your means or wasting funds. It’s not as hard as you might think and making these changes isn’t all that painful either. Please feel free to post additional ideas on cutting budget or your own success stories when it comes to budget cutting in the comments section.