Budget purging and budget pruning
This is not an article about bulimia or growing fruit trees.
As we all consider our financial futures and commit ourselves to more prudent use of our resources, be sure to go through your budget line by line. Spend a few moments on each item to brainstorm on ways to reduce or eliminate that cost. Here are some places to start:
- Cable – Seriously, this might be the biggest and most senseless budget drain around – especially if you have broadband internet. If you are in a budget crunch, but still insist on paying for cable . . . I do not have much sympathy.
- Alcohol – That stuff is more expensive than gasoline . . . if you can live without it, great! If you must have it in your life, find ways to reduce this expense. I do not have any tips since I do not drink, but mooch off your friends if you must. :)
- Internet – I write a blog so I definitely do not want you to get rid of your internet. Actually, nowadays, I think that the internet might be a way to save money. You could “piggy back” on a neighbor’s wireless signal (with permission, of course) or maybe check on how much it might cost to get wireless internet from your mobile phone provider . . . or maybe you could even get by with a dial-up connection . . .
- Insurance – Insurance is a monthly expense, so a two or three dollar savings is worth going out of your way for since it will add up to larger savings over time. Talk to your agent and consider different options: higher/lower deductible, do you still need full coverage on your car, different people living in the home, etc. Sometimes just the implication that you might be shopping around is enough to get a deal.
- Paper Goods – I am focusing on ways to reduce our use of toilet paper, napkins, paper towels and the like this year. There has to be a better way . . . The best thing that could happen is for my 2 year old to quit needing diapers. As I solve this problem, I will pass along any tips that I find.
- College Loans – if your college loans are low-interest, there are many ways to delay or reduce your payments in order to pay down other more expensive debt. Talk to your loan provider to consider your options.
- Out to Eat – Not all of us can completely remove restaurant expenses from our budgets and an out-to-eat habit is sometimes hard to break. Always use coupons, look for 2-for-1 deals, drink water, share an entree – all good ways to reduce the amount you spend going out to eat without actually staying home and cooking your own meals – a far better option, by the way . . .
- Coffee – Remember the idea that, for many of us, started our frugal journey – the Latte Factor? If you are still spending big bucks on your java habit, 2010 might be the year for you to cut that expense and free your money for other more important things!
How about you? What budget areas are you pruning or purging this year?
Article by Stew
Photo by shimgray