Most people agree that there are some hard times ahead. The recession is going to take its toll on the economy. It is a good time to trim your budget and hunker down financially.
“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.”
~ Harry S. Truman
Unfortunately, we do not have a crystal ball to tell us exactly what the hard times ahead will look like. We don’t know whether the recession will impact us a little or a lot. However, it is likely it will have some affect on our finances.
This is why I’m,suggesting everyone trim your budget and be prepared. I’d rather be accused of crying wolf than find out the worse when it’s too late for people to prepare.
20 ways to trim your budget starting today!
Let’s get to budgeting and trimming the fat! Come on. This won’t hurt as much as you think. Plus, if things get ugly, it will feel really good to know you took action to prepare and protect your family.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
1. Liquidate the luxuries
Look at your monthly budget and determine where your money is going. Chances are you have some luxuries that you are either making payments on or that cost you money in maintenance. For me, I sold a boat, Seadoo, camping trailer and a hot tub. Stay with me here, I promise this gets easier!
2. Quit the gym
Yes, I understand that exercise is important, but does staying fit really require a gym membership? It is possible to exercise at home or even outdoors. Radical, I know, but sometimes you have to take drastic steps!
3. Sell the Lexus!
Okay, even if it isn’t a Lexus, you might consider selling it. What is your monthly payment on your vehicle? What percentage of your monthly income goes toward making this payment? What? You are making more than one car payment! Oh my gosh. Sell the expensive cars and pay cash for some basic, dependable transportation.
4. Turn down the heat
There are a ton of ways to reduce your monthly heating bill. It just takes a little forethought and proactive effort. Utility payments are important, but they don’t have to break the bank.
5. Cut some coupons
Couponing is a great way to save some money. Every little bit helps. There are even some easy ways to take the pain out of using coupons. Remember, coupons aren’t just for groceries. There are great coupons available to save on a wide-array of purchases.
6. Turn off your home phone
We are all so mobile these days. It seems almost every family member has a cell phone. If this is the case at your house, then you might consider dumping your home phone. This can save $50 to $100 per month!
7. Reduce spending on the grocery bill
Groceries often take a big bite out of our budget. It might be time to cut back on the grocery bill. Believe it or not, you can still eat well while saving a few dollars along the way.
8. Buy clothing at secondhand stores
I know that this one is going to be hard for some of you to do, but clothes are one item that can be purchased very cheaply when they are slightly used. You can get name brand clothing for a fraction of mall prices at consignment stores.
9. Grow some of your food
I understand that most of us are city dwellers nowadays. However, it is possible to plant a small garden in your backyard. Fresh fruits and vegetables are yummy and very healthy.
10. Check books out from the library
I love the library. I think it is one of the greatest institutions in America. The library can also save you a lot of money if you read frequently. Stop buying and just borrow!
11. Use hand-me-downs
Parents are notorious for overspending on their newborns. I’m a big believer in using hand-me-downs. If this is your first child, then ask around your family. It is likely that someone else has just what you need.
12. Slash the cable TV bill
Do you really need all those channels? Take a look at what you are spending every month to watch television. You will probably be surprised and appalled.
13. Stop going to so many restaurants
Eating out has got to be a big chunk of where a lot of our money goes. I am amazed at how packed the parking lots are at many restaurants in the middle of the week. It is time to make some frugal meals at home.
14. Refinance your mortgage
Check the interest rate on your mortgage and determine if now is a good time to refinance. We refinanced our home a few years back and shaved quite a bit off the monthly payment.
15. Pay off your debt
It is awesome being debt-free during hard times. It relieves so much of the pressure. In fact, you can even take advantage of the situation by paying cash for all the bargains being offered both at retail stores and in the stock market.
16. Get a new insurance quote
Visit an independent insurance agent and get competitive quotes on your homeowner and auto insurance. You might be surprised how much you can save this way.
17. Take a sack lunch
Again, eating out at restaurants is expensive. Packing a sack lunch at least a couple of days a week can save you quite a bit over a month or year.
18. Examine your vices
Do you have an expensive habit? It might be smoking or could be Starbucks. It varies from person-to-person. These things usually cost $3 to $4 a pop, but they add up fast. Now might be a good time to quit.
19. Buy frugal gifts
I know that when you are giving a gift that you want to do something nice. However, there are ways to give nice gifts and be frugal at the same time. Explore the options!
20. Shop hard for a good deal on your next vacation
I love to travel, but why pay more than you have to? The Internet offers a ton of great resources that will help you get the best deal possible on your next trip.
Survive hard times with a finely tuned budget
I think it is time to get lean and mean with our budgets. If you follow this guide, you should be able to reduce your monthly spending considerably. This will give you the best chance to survive any hard times ahead with the least amount of suffering.
What other ways have you trimmed your budget?
Photo by russelljsmith