We should always be looking at our budget and trying to find ways to reduce our monthly spend. Even the tightest of budgets usually has room for improvement. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these simple ways to cut back on expenses right now.
Shop Your Home & Auto Insurance
Insurance companies have a sneaky little habit of nickle and diming us to death. What starts out as a cheap rate eventually becomes one that is well above market. They depend on our apathy at times to make money, hoping that we are too lazy to shop for e better deal. In most cases, it works out for them. Don’t be lazy, go get some quotes and shop those policies.
Shopping Your Policy
Get a quote from at least three different insurers, because you will likely find that prices will swing widely. If an insurer has had greater than average losses in your area, they may be hiking the rates on everyone in the area. Since most companies offer multi policy discounts, you will likely be shopping both your auto and home insurance at the same time.
Look For Discounts
If you are dead set on keeping your current insurer, call your agent and look for discounts. They will not always offer them to you, which means you need to ask. Have you started working from home? If so, you are likely driving less miles and may qualify for a premium reduction. Is your deductible too low? Chances are good that you could move from a $500 deductible to a $1000 one and save $500 a year, which would make up the difference if you had an accident.
Reduce Your Food Budget
This is perhaps the easiest expense to manipulate if you want to reduce your spending. Don’t worry though, you are not going to starve, just spend wisely.
Look Into Meal Planning
Meal planning is a way to shop efficiently. Most people in this country waste 10 to 20 percent of the food that they buy and meal planning will change this. All that you have to do is decide all of the meals you want to make in a week. Then, make a grocery list for the food that you need, marking off those that you already have. What you have now is an exact list of the groceries that you need with no guesswork and no wastage.
Take Your Lunch To Work
If you eat fast food every day, you are likely spending 6 to 8 dollars a day on a meal. It is even worse if you go to a sit down or fast casual restaurant for lunches. You can easily save hundreds of dollars a month by taking your lunch to work and you will reap many other benefits. Have a healthier meal and save 3o minutes a day or more in wasted time.
Learn To Cook
If you are dependent on prepared meals, you are likely spending twice as much as you need to on your food budget. Learn to cook. It is not that hard and with the internet, you have an infinite amount of recipes and instructional videos to follow. There really is no excuse, you just need to do it.
Pay Off Credit Card Debt
Spend more now to pay less in the future. If you are carrying any credit card debt, you need to make it a priority to get it paid off. There is no moving forward if you are paying 20 percent interest on past purchases. If you are carrying $10,000 in debt like most Americans, you are wasting $200 a month. Make a plan and stick to it.
Employ The Debt Snowball Method
By far the most popular method of paying off debt. Pick the lowest balance card and pay as much as you can on it. On the rest of your cards pay the minimum. The theory is that you will get that first card paid off fast and be motivated to move forward. When you are done paying off the first card, move on to the next lowest card and continue.
Go With A Debt Avalanche
If you want to make your dollars go further, choose the debt avalanche method. Instead of the lowest balance card, choose the highest interest card and pay as much as you can on it. On the others, pay the minimum until that card is paid off. The theory here is that you are paying off the highest interest card first and maximizing your dollars. If you are more logic based, this might be the best option.
Downsize Your Vehicle
Generally speaking, your car payment is your second highest expense other than your mortgage or rent. Other than a mortgage on a home, there is nothing to gain from your car payment. 99.9 percent of vehicles will not appreciate in value which means that this is a losing expense and one that you should cut back on if you want to save money on your expenses.
Downgrade Your Vehicle
Even if you are a bit behind on your vehicle, you may be able to downgrade and save on your monthly bill. Think about how many bells and whistles that you really need to pay for on a depreciating asset. Consider trading your vehicle in on a cheaper form of transportation. It could save you hundreds of dollars a month.
Refinance Your Ride
Want to keep your vehicle and still save, consider refinancing. This is a particularly good option if you financed at a dealer, where they are notorious for adding a few percentage points to your interest rate. It never hurts to refinance as there are usually minimal if any fees to do so. Even a savings of just 1 percent on your interest rate will be well worth it.