Published On: Thu, Apr 16th, 2020

8 Ways You Can Cut Your Spending Without Being Miserable

When it comes to improving your financial situation and putting yourself in a better position with money, there are two major levers you can pull. You can either increase your income or you can decrease your spending. 

Image/bykst via pixabay

Increasing income is always nice, but it’s largely outside of your control – especially if you’re a salaried employee with a fixed rate. Spending, however, can be adjusted, optimized, and reduced in a variety of ways. All it takes is a proactive plan and copious amounts of self-discipline. Here are some suggestions:

  1.     Create a Budget

You can’t curb spending without a thorough understanding of how much you’re spending in the first place. This is why it’s necessary to create a budget. (Don’t like the b-word? Call it a spending plan. Semantics are less important than execution. The goal is to be detailed and intentional about the money you have coming in and going out on a weekly or monthly basis.)

  1.     Use Debit Cards

If you’re worried about spending more money than you have, shift towards cash. When you use cash, it’s impossible to spend something you don’t have.

Debit cards are even better than cash. They’re essentially the same thing, except they offer greater organization, tracking, and security. (Worried about bank fees and overdraft penalties? Prepaid debit cards are a good choice.)

  1.     Make Your Own Coffee

Coffee is great, but it shouldn’t make you broke. If you purchase a $2.50 cup of coffee on the way into the office every morning, you’re spending more than $50 per month for caffeine! By brewing your own coffee from home, you can slash this cost by 75 percent or more. This can save you hundreds of dollars per year.

  1.     Stop Eating Out

Restaurant food can be good, but it’s far too expensive – especially for a family of four. Eating out just five meals per week can cost you $600 to $900 per month! 

Generally speaking, you can cook fresh homemade meals for just 20 to 25 percent of the cost of eating out. This can save you thousands of dollars per year.

  1.     Buy Groceries Online

Cooking your own meals doesn’t guarantee that you’ll save money. You have to be smart about how you shop for groceries and what you buy.

Though there’s nothing wrong with walking into a supermarket and buying your groceries, you’re much more prone to impulse buys when you’re physically present in the store. It’s also hard to track how much you’re spending.

The better option is to shop online and do pick up or delivery. This lets you compare prices and keep a running total of how much you’re spending prior to completing the transaction. And with no tantalizing smells wafting from the bakery, you’re less likely to buy items you don’t need.

  1.     Refinance/Consolidate Debt

Nothing zaps a budget quite like interest payments on debt. Whether it’s bad debt – like credit cards or car loans – or good debt – like a mortgage on your primary residence – interest payments can suck hundreds of dollars out of your monthly budget. And while the best plan is to pay off debt, you can also save by refinancing and/ or consolidating high-interest loans

  1.     Buy Pre-Owned or Secondhand

Stop buying everything brand new! Let someone else take the hit on depreciation. This is especially important when it comes to cars, designer clothing, or high-end furniture. Buying these items from secondhand dealers or pre-owned vendors can provide massive savings. And if you’re meticulous in finding the right items, you might not even be able to tell that the item has had a previous owner.

  1.     Wait 72 Hours Before Buying

Emotional buying is dangerous buying. Unfortunately, we often let our emotions get in the way of making smart financial decisions. This is why it’s helpful to implement a 72-hour rule for any non-essential purchase. Rather than purchasing right away, give yourself three days to think about whether or not you really want/need the item. You’ll find that, after this time elapses, you’re no longer interested in some of the products or services that once intrigued you.

Rethink Your Spending

You don’t have to be a cheapskate to cut spending and save money. All it takes is some tactful analysis of how you’re spending your money so that you’re able to maximize your income. This extra cash can then be used to save and invest, which sets you up to succeed in the future.

 Author: Anna Johansson

Personal loans: Everything you need to know

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