In the month of March Michael and I took on a financial challenge. We wanted to see how much money we could save in a single month. The rules were simple: spend as little as possible, save as much as possible.
We also used it as a chance to assess our monthly budget. So, to get started we had to look at what we usually spent every month and what we spent it on. The first thing we did was look for places we could cut spending. During that month we cut the following things from our budget and don’t miss them AT ALL. In fact, they’ve stayed out of our budget saving us thousands every single month!
I hope this inspires you to look at some of the things in your budget and see if you can cut anywhere. While the things I am cutting from my budget might not be the same exact things you would cut, use it as inspiration to assess what you spend every month to see where you can cut.
You can use the extra money for all sorts of things from paying off debt, saving for a big purchase, paying down an expensive loan, or putting away for retirement!
What to cut from your budget
Brand Name Groceries
When I first moved out on my own I was so serious about getting the best prices on groceries. Michael and I had just moved in together and were one a strict weekly budget. I actually walked around the store with a calculator so I would stay within our budget! I remember thinking how cool it would be to someday get to buy name brand paper towels. No lie…this is what I aspired to at 18.
As Michael and I grew up and grew in careers, it became less necessary to pinch every penny and so we started buying name brands here and there until it sort of became a habit. I stopped comparing prices and would grab name brands at every turn because it was familiar. So, when we looked at our budget we knew we were spending too much on groceries so the next few times I shopped I assessed my own habits. I realized I was always grabbing the name brands which were typically anywhere from 5%-20% more money! So, I cut out all the name brands where it made sense. I still buy my name brands where I can tell a difference in quality (like paper towels because honestly, they are just better), but other places buying store brand was essentially the same product at a fraction of the cost!
I drive in my car for about 15 minutes to and from work. It was silly to spend money every month for XM radio when I didn’t spend that much time in my car to begin with. Plus, all cars nowadays have some type of hookup to your phone so I can listen to books on tape, podcasts, and my music library.
By fast fashion, I’m referring to clothes you get from places like Forever 21 or H&M that roll over their inventory quickly. The quality usually isn’t very good but it’s trendy and affordable. While I will still grab the trendy item here and there…I realized my closet was turning over way too often. I was constantly reorganizing my clothes, taking them to the Goodwill, or handing them off to friends. It was exhausting!
So, when we moved into our current home I did one big clothing purge. Now, I have a rule if something comes into my wardrobe something else needs to go out. It makes buying a new item harder because I need to love it enough to get rid of something I have.
You know those little tiny payments that get charged to your card? $2 here, $1 there, $5 here. You almost don’t notice them they are so small but they add up over time. I had been paying for a music app every single month that I had never even used! We went through our card statements and closed any auto-payments for things we didn’t use or barely used.Recurring payments can add up quick. $1 there, $5 here. You almost don't notice them. | 10 things to… Click To Tweet
Thursday Date Night
Michael and I both knew we’d need to get rid of Thursday date night to save money. Our going out the money needed to get saved for the weekends. We were SURE we were going to miss those Thursday date nights SO much. Turns out…we didn’t. Instead, we would cook something together at home, watch a movie, play a game. We actually enjoyed ourselves more staying home than going out spending $70 on an overpriced (often not well-prepared) cocktail and dinner!
Ok, don’t get me wrong here…we have not become a dry house. But, that being said…we decided to cut way back on alcohol. Alcohol, in general, is very overpriced, especially at restaurants. The markup on a cocktail is so much they are basically robbing you. So, we cut back on the amount we were drinking and saved buckets of money.
I’m not sure how I even fell into being a designer purse buyer, but I did. I think once I had a real job and could finally afford one, it became like a right of passage. But, I’ve realized that they aren’t really worth my paycheck. Sure, the quality is good and I will keep using the ones I have, but I don’t need to be buying designer every time I get a new purse.
The “little things”
This refers to all those little purchases: a new phone case, a cute mug at Target, a tumbler from Starbucks, t-shirt with a funny saying. Sure, I’ll still splurge on an item here and there, but not only do these little things add up price-wise, they also accumulate around the house creating extra clutter I don’t want or need. I’ve gotten pretty good at saying no to these little purchases by not only thinking about the cost but also thinking about where in my house am I going to keep it.
There are also so many pitfalls you hit every day for little purchases that can add up. You can try avoiding these daily pitfalls to stop overspending as well.
When I looked back at it, it turns out I’m not a big accessory wearer. I barely ever remember to put on jewelry so most days I don’t wear any besides my wedding and engagement rings. So, cutting out trendy jewelry pieces seemed like a no-brainer since I was spending money on pieces and wearing them maybe once.
I was also able to implement this with my shoes as well. I have a major pet peeve with the amount of space shoes take up. Like, seriously, why do they need to take up so much space? And, how come no matter what organizational trick I try…they are always still somehow in a messy pile? It makes me insane. The best solution was to streamline my shoe collection down to the essentials. Mind you it’s still probably about 15-20 pairs of shoes/boots in total, but it’s still more manageable. I keep the shoes that I know will match a lot of things, are versatile, and get worn more than 2 times a year, and ditch the rest!Keep the essentials and ditch the rest! | 10 Things to Cut from Your Budget Click To Tweet
Take Out Dinner
Oh the take out dinner. It is perfect for when I’m “too tired” or I “had a long day” or I “don’t have time to cook” or “my dog ate my homework. Wait, what?
I used to think of every excuse under the sun for take out when I was busy. Don’t get me wrong, making dinner at home can be TIME CONSUMING and most of us are busy all the time. But, take out adds up quick, not to mention it’s usually not all that healthy for you. Even if it’s just a pizza with a salad, it adds up to about $20 which here and there over the month quickly turns into $100+. Not to mention, typically I have something in my house I can eat. Which means if I get take out, I’m not eating that thing. Which means it’ll probably go bad and I’ll throw it out and then I’m wasting even more money.
Instead, I try to get 1-2 “super easy” meals every week when I’m at the grocery store. These should take less than 10 minutes and be easy cleanup. That way when I’m tired or busy, I still have something at home to cook that won’t take a lot of my time!
There you have it, the ten things we’ve cut and we don’t miss at all! You’d be surprised what you can cut from your budget when you take a look at it really close. All these things add up to about $1,200-$2,500 a month! Isn’t that insane. That’s cash money back in my pocket every single month. What are some things you can cut from your budget? OR what have you cut from your budget?10 things you can cut from your budget right now! Click To Tweet You'd be surprised what you can cut from your budget when you take a look at it really close! Click To Tweet