Budget purging and budget pruning

By Stew

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

9 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Budget purging and budget pruning”

  1. Carico Says:

    It is so hard to get rid of expenses or prune them back. You know I never think about my insurance that I pay on my home and cars and that is probably a major source of savings. Thanks for the tip. I also think that cutting back on certain eating expenses will not only help your wallet but probably your health too.

  2. Lissa Says:

    We cut cable TV last year and never looked back. We’re thinking of reassessing our home insurance and see if we could go to AAA since we have both our car insurance with them.

  3. Dan Says:

    Alcohol is one thing I enjoy. I have 2 words of advice: Boxed Wine.

    You can spend $7 for a 750mL bottle for inexpensive wine )or as much as $100 a bottle!), but if you buy boxed wine, you can enjoy it occasionally, as it lasts longer since it doesn’t oxidize as quickly as opened bottles, and you can buy a 5 liter box for less than $20, which works out to be about $3 a bottle.

    And it tasts good, too! Carlo Rossi makes a very acceptable boxed wine, even Franzia is not too shabby. There’s 3 liter boxes if you drink only a little at a time, for about $10 to $15. It all is very affordable unless you’re a wino, in which case you probably have more problems to deal with than the cost of alcohol!

  4. Liane Says:

    Regarding the insurance – I always pay our premiums in full rather than paying installment fees by making monthly payments – it’s a considerable savings: I just saved $132 (on a 6-month premium) by paying our auto premium in full!

    I also don’t believe that “bundling” cable, phone and internet is always cheaper – our phone and cable companies are always sending us promos but the numbers never add up: our cable and internet are combined and our landline is provided by another company and it’s still always cheaper than the promo rates offered.

  5. Stew Says:

    I am definitely going to look into “paying in full” for insurance. That might save us some cash.

  6. Kika Says:

    We gave away our second vehicle. It is not easy in a family of five to have just one vehicle (no public transport in our town) but neither is it impossible. My husband walks to work most days (even in -40 degree weather!) and feels it clears his mind and gives him a little exercise before spending a day inside a classroom full of middle-school students. Anyways, we feel different where we live due to this choice but it is allowing us to put more money into an emergency fund.

  7. dramon Says:

    I changed insurance companies and saved a considerable amount of money. It pays to shop yearly for this. I went with better coverage and monthly payments and still saved over 1,000 per year.

    Also consider an umbrella policy, it is generally cheaper than having high liability limits on individual policies.

    Condsider getting pet meds online or from Costco or another retailer. I was unaware that some medicines are far cheaper from a normal retailer than from a ‘pet’ place.

  8. Christine Says:

    We’re in the process of changing our health insurance. You can shop around outside of your employer’s coverage.

    I haven’t bought napkins in 2 years. We used up our stash, and I collected cloth from networking and yard sales, and we keep the paper ones from fast food places when we go.

    As far as paper towels, I keep stacks of old hand towels that are my first go to. Sometimes you just need a paper towel though, so I bought my first 8 pack in at least a year last month. We’ll see how long it lasts.

    We’ve tried to teach our kids to use less tp, but we’ll see how that goes. :)

  9. tami Says:

    This year we have gotten rid of our umbrella liability policy and upped our hazard and auto instead. That saved us over $500 a year.

    We intend on getting rid of cable and our land line when the contracts are up.

    I am going to cancel my gym membership so all told, about $2500! I’m pretty impressed with myself. We have a son in college and another one going soon. My priority with our budget is first to tithe from our gross, secondly pay extra on our mortgage principle.

    God bless you all!