Living on a budget is the key to financial freedom, but getting even little changes can equal big savings. You don’t need to start out by cutting huge areas of your spending habits if you first focus on the little changes you can make.
When you look at your expenses and see all of those bills you’re paying, month in and month out, it’s easy to throw your hands up in disgust.
But have you considered all those little expenses you have? They might not seem like a big deal; a latte here, a movie rental there, however, you might be surprised to find out just how much they amount to.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on small purchases. A few dollars a month won’t make a significant difference in the big picture. A few dollars here and a few dollars there could quickly add up to over $100 per month. When you cut back in a lot of small ways, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.
Waste Not, Want Not
One thing you can do is take a look at how much you’re wasting. This can apply to many areas in our lives. From eating out to heating your home, even little paying for subscriptions that you aren’t using equals money down the drain.
Cooking at home using fresh ingredients for your family instead of eating takeout or dining out is a great way to save money (and healthier too)! Using a service like Instacart or Amazon Prime Pantry may save you money on gas, and it certainly will save time. I’ve found that Aldi has the best prices, but if there’s not a budget-friendly grocery store near you, the previously mentioned services may be a good fit.
If you find yourself throwing food out, that’s money in the trash. If you have leftovers, freeze them, or make sure to repurpose them into something else! For instance, if you have leftover fajita meat, but are out of tortillas, toss them with a salad or whip up a big batch of soup. Of course, you can eat your leftovers the next day for lunch as well. That saves time AND money.
If your home isn’t well insulated, you’re probably paying far too much on utilities. Yes, you will have to pay the upfront costs of insulation in the beginning, but it will pay for itself quite quickly and will pay you back many times over in the long-run. You also should add weatherstripping If you have drafts around windows and doors.
Another quick and easy way to save on utilities is by reducing your electric usage. Change all of your light bulbs to LED. They last far longer and use much less electricity. Connect your electronics (including televisions and computers), to power strips and turn the strips off when not in use. Open blinds during the day to let in the light during winter, and close them in the summer.
Do It Yourself
Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself just as quickly or with the same level of expertise, you’re spending money unnecessarily. This applies to little things like buying coffee instead of making your own, as well as to larger expenses such as home repairs. The only time I’d recommend not doing things yourself, is if you own a business and they’re easily trainable and repeatable tasks that can be outsourced to someone at a lower rate than you are making.
You may buy coffee or a drink from a coffee shop or convenience store while we’re out. This habit will add up over time. Instead, make your own coffee, or take a water bottle from home. This goes for lunches too. If you’ll be away from home for lunch, why not pack instead? You can pack a healthy lunch in the same amount of time it takes to go through the drive-through and it will cost less (use those leftovers)!
Not all of us are good at home maintenance or repairs, but YouTube has made the information available at our fingertips for free. You could try changing your own oil, or paint your walls instead of hiring out. Another alternative would be to invite your friends over to help you work on a home project. You provide the food and drinks, put on some music, and then each of you takes turns reciprocating for the others.
When you start to make little changes and see the savings add up, then you can start to tackle bigger budget-draining expenses. I challenge you to take a close look at your budget this week and see what little changes you could make that would add up. Then add them up and see how much you would save by the end of the year! If you can eliminate or greatly reduce them, it will make a big difference to your bottom line.