You don’t have to be a big spender in order to struggle with month-to-month finances. Millions of Americans are working to rebuild their credit simply because they overindulged in small expenses that seemed harmless. All of those impulse buys, coffee runs, and nights out on the town add up, and if you aren’t careful, you might find yourself dealing with debt and financial insecurity.
Fortunately, by just cutting out a few regular buys from your weekly shopping, you can make a huge dent in your debt and overall spending. Chances are, your life won’t be that different if you make a few changes, but your bank account will certainly feel a little healthier.
Here are some things you should spend less money on, if you can:
Unnecessary or Premium Subscriptions
You have been paying for that HBO Plus subscription for months, but do you really need it now that you’re finished binge-watching Game of Thrones? Take a look at all of the services you’re subscribed to and figure out which ones you don’t really use anymore. That includes your cable package, your music accounts, magazines, and any other monthly payments you make for entertainment purposes. You can easily save a couple hundred dollars a month by unsubscribing from services you barely even use.
Not sure how many subscriptions you actually pay for? Online apps can help locate all of the services you make monthly payments to and eliminate the ones you no longer need. The apps make unsubscribing incredibly easy, so don’t fool yourself into thinking this task is too time-consuming to accomplish.
If you head to restaurants or fast food joints for every lunch during the week, you could easily be spending more than $2,500 on lunches each year. Even though fast food might seem cheap, it’s certainly not as cost-effective as making a sandwich at home. Instead of buying your lunch every day, consider waking up a little bit earlier to pack one at home. Not only will you save money on your daily lunch, but you’ll also probably eat healthier foods than you would if you were heading out for your mid-day meal.
If you feel you’ll really miss visiting your favorite lunch place, allow yourself to indulge a few times each month, but be strict on the other days. Budgeting is all about finding a balance, and you’ll probably enjoy the occasional treat even more now that you’re eating more lunches made at home.
Coffee from Expensive Shops
It’s no secret that Americans love their coffee, which is probably why the average worker spends twenty dollars or more at pricey independent and chain coffee shops. However, those morning (and sometimes afternoon) lattes can add up quite quickly. Try to fuel your caffeine addiction at home or utilize the free coffee at work on most days.
The drinks might not rival Starbucks in terms of taste and quality, but you could save thousands of dollars each year by making the simple switch. You might even consider purchasing a better coffee-maker or some syrups so that you can make your own kitchen a sort of mini coffee shop. That way, you won’t be tempted to visit your favorite barista as often.
Though everyone wants to travel the world, you can do this for a lot less money. When you’re going on vacation, try shopping around for the best deals. Ask your friends and family where they’ve recently traveled and they’re likely to have tips and advice for you.
Consider taking a trip with your significant other to an adults-only resort. These tend to be more relaxing with a romance vibe. If you have children, a family-friendly resort is another less expensive option. At most resorts, you pay for your entire trip upfront, so once you get there all you really need is spending money.
Brand Name Food Items
Although many people trust brand names more than they trust the generic versions of their favorite products, staple food products are usually the same regardless of the name on the package.
Don’t waste your money purchasing the brand name versions of flour, paper products, sugar, and other common items if you can opt for a cheaper generic version. Even some cereals and over-the-counter medications are better to buy generic. Chances are, no one will be able to tell the difference, aside from your wallet.
Alcohol at Restaurants and Events
That thirteen-dollar cocktail might look amazing while you’re out at your favorite bar, but in reality, is it worth that much? Alcoholic beverages served in public tend to be pretty overpriced, especially at concerts, festivals, fancy restaurants, and theaters. Plus, you have to account for the generous tips you give to waiters and bartenders.
Try to cut back on the booze as much as you can in general, and when you do indulge, consider purchasing your own ingredients and mixing cocktails at home. If you must go out to drink, try to do so at places with quality happy hours or deals.
Spend Your Money Wisely
Cutting back on your monthly expenses might be as easy as kicking a few small spending habits. Unsubscribe from pricey services you don’t use, including your gym membership. Start fixing your lunches and coffees at home and stop turning your nose up at generic brands. Watch how much you spend on frivolous alcoholic drinks, and most importantly, remember that the small purchases throughout the month can seriously add up.