When your budget is really tight, it can be really disheartening to try and cut your expenses but not be able to cut them back far enough. What most of us don’t realize though is that usually we’ve overlooked a boat load of extra money in our budgets. Money that we’re currently spending, but we’re so used to buying those things that we don’t even consider cutting them. Trust me, it’s happened to me more than once and usually it’s a pretty big face palm moment when it finally clicks. For a lot of families, the expenses that can be cut are usually the ones that are very easily over looked. They can be things that only pop up once every few weeks or months or they can be things that we’re so used to paying for that we can’t “see” another way of doing things. These 20 common expenses you should stop spending money on are just the tip of that iceberg. They’re a good place to start and once you get this particular ball rolling? The rest gets to be quite easy.
Sometimes though, your budget will fail and there isn’t much you can do about it. A lot of the time, that budget failure is caused because you just simply don’t have enough income coming into your home. Unfortunately if you’re in that case, no amount of cutting expenses will fix it completely. It will help, but the plain and simple truth is that no budget can be successful unless there is enough money to cover the expenses within it. Don’t let that stop you from cutting your expenses though. A budget with the expenses cut takes a lot less to fund than one that is running wild with the unnecessary.
If your budget is extremely tight, you might need to look at adding extra to it. That sounds hard, but really it isn’t when you look for different ways. I personally add over $225 a month in income using nothing but my phone and computer. Another nice way to add extra money to your budget would be to start a blog just like this one! If you don’t want to start a blog, it isn’t hard at all to find a quick and easy side job that will allow to you bring in extra cash when you need it.
20 Common Expenses You Should Stop Spending Money On
When you read this list, keep in mind that these expenses will be different for everyone. For some people, they’ll be over the line and things that they would never ever consider doing. For some though, they won’t be enough. My advice to you is that you pick and choose which ones will fit with your own lifestyle and just skip over the ones that make you uncomforable or that are over your own personal frugal line. It’s okay if one or more of them are. It is your home and your budget.
Cable – Most of us know that we should at the very least drop down to a smaller package, but have you considered dropping it all together? We haven’t had cable for almost 3 years and we don’t regret it at all. Instead, opt for Netflix and Hulu Plus and you’ll never miss a single thing. Another one that a lot of people ignore is Amazon Instant Video for Prime members. The number of movies that are available on Prime usually make it worth the yearly fee. If you’ve never been signed up for Prime before, Amazon offers a free 30 day trial to Prime that includes Amazon Instant Video access so that you can try before you buy.
Bagged Ice – Do you buy bagged ice? If so? You could be wasting some serious cash depending on how often you buy it. Instead, pick up some ice cube trays and make it at home instead. It’s easy to store too so that your freezer isn’t full of trays. We use a 5 gallon ice cream container that we got from a friend. It sits in the freezer perfectly and we’re tray free unless we’re actually refreshing our ice bucket. Don’t think that making your own ice can really save you? If you buy 2 bags of ice per week at $2.00 per bag, that’s $104 per year you could be saving!
Bread – It’s much more cost effective (not to mention healthier for your family) to make your own bread than it is to buy it and these days, there’s no reason to stand in the kitchen kneading bread for hours (unless you want to). Pick up a bread machine, find a great homemade bread recipe and begin to make your own. Not only will you actually save money doing it, but your family will love the fresh bread more than the store bought stuff. The taste difference is amazing!
Hair cuts – For the men and boys in your life? Stop spending $20+ per cut and instead, invest in your own hair clipper set and cut their hair at home. If you aren’t sure about how to cut certain styles, Youtube is a GREAT resource for learning and is totally free.
Fabric Softener Sheets – At an average of $2.00 per box, it’s much cheaper to make your own reusable dryer sheets. They’re super simple to make, use all natural ingredients (yay for no chemicals!) and even if it only saves you 1 box every month, that’s an average of $25.00 per year saved.
Window Cleaner – Why pay for the blue stuff when you can make your own window cleaner for much cheaper? Homemade versions generally only cost a few cents to make and they’re much healthier for your family.
Laundry Detergent – Like dryer sheets, laundry detergent is much cheaper to make at home than it is to buy. You can make your own powdered laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar and it works so much better than the store bought stuff.
Pasta Sauce – Want a tastier, cheaper version of the jarred stuff? Try this homemade pasta sauce recipe instead. It’s delicious, cheaper and so simple to make that you’ll wonder why you haven’t made your own before.
Pizza – Don’t pay for delivery when you can make the same thing at home. Instead make your own homemade pizza for around $3.00 each. Family fun night just got a whole lot cheaper!
Air Fresheners – Baking soda in a dish, stashed in a hidden part of the room will do the job just as well. If you need some heavier hitting power, make your own Febreeze instead.
Expensive All-Purpose cleaners – Buying commercial cleaners can not only get really expensive, but it opens your home up to harmful chemicals that can cost more in doctor bills if you happen to have a reaction. In reality, you need very few items to clean your home. I personally use a Lavender Lemon All Purpose Cleaner that costs me just over $1.00 per batch to make.
Drying costs – Your dryer is the single most expensive appliance that you own so cutting back on how often you use it is a great way to save. Is the weather warm? Keep the dryer off and use an outdoor clothes line. Weather cool? Use a portable drying rack instead. You’d be surprised at just how much you can save this way and this is one way to save that you’ll notice from the first month.
Paper Towels – Not only are paper towels bad for the environment, but they can be really bad for your budget too. Instead, pick up some unpaper towels and you’ll save over time. We made the switch to these herringbone weave kitchen towels about a year ago and we haven’t regretted it a single time. We’re paying less and they work just as well, if not better than the disposable ones we used to buy.
Feminine pads – Instead of wasting money on disposables, consider making the switch to cloth. You’ll pay more out of pocket at first, but you’ll save BIG in the long run. I recently made this switch and I will NEVER go back! You can read my thoughts HERE. If cloth isn’t your thing, the Diva Cup can be a budget friendly alternative for those wanting to ditch disposables.
Diapers – If you’re wondering if you can save money with cloth diapers, the answer is maybe. For the majority of people, cloth diapers will be a way to save, but for some they won’t. Do your research and if cloth is for your family, make the jump to save.
New printer cartridges – Instead of buying new cartridges, pick up an ink refill kit instead. Yes, they can be messy, but if you take your time filling them, they can save you hundreds over the course of a year. If you have a laser printer, you’ll really want to look into toner refills. You will see a significant savings over buying new cartridges.
Chocolate Milk – You’ll pay almost twice as much per glass buying pre-made chocolate milk than you would if you just bought the syrup and mixed it yourself. Want to take it a step further? Make your own chocolate syrup.
Gym Membership – You have an outside? Use it instead. It tends to be pretty free most of the time.
Sweet Tea – Stop wasting money on Arizona. Grab a pitcher and some sugar and make it yourself. I use an iced tea maker to make it easy on myself so that I can make a larger pitcher all at once. It’s less tempting to pay for drinks if I have a pitcher of tea in the fridge.
Frosting – If you’re baking a cake? You’re wasting money by picking up the canned stuff. Most frosting recipes can be customized by adding an extract to get the flavor you want so all you really need is a good base. When I’m looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe, I use the one that is used in my Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling recipe. It doubles very well as a frosting. For buttercream, I use this buttercream frosting recipe. They’re both fantastic recipes and mean that I don’t have to spend money on the canned stuff.
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