There is literally nothing I enjoy less than budgeting. My husband and I work together on it, and by work together I mean he budgets and I try desperately to stay within the parameters. He is terrific at making sure that bills are not only paid but also that emergency funds are stocked and that we have spending money for the fun stuff. My job is to stay out of his way. And to not whine too much about it.
This year we’ve decided to do more traveling than in previous years so it is more important than ever for us to cut back and be creative. (But still enjoy our lives!)
If you find yourself in a similar situation, or just want to tighten your financial belt, a little planning and some of these tips might might be of help…
4 Easy Ways To Cut Expenses While Still Enjoying Life
1. FIND CREATIVE WAYS TO DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE
I’m a huge reader and belong to a book club (or two). This is one interest that I’d rather not give up. Can you relate? Instead of buying hardcovers, paperbacks or e-books, I use the library. (Gasp!) Many libraries have electronic versions you can access as well.
Longing for a night out with your significant other? Try an evening picnic in the park and a long stroll in the moonlight. This is guaranteed to be more romantic that your average restaurant visit.
2. SCRIMP ON LUXURIES
That’s right Starbucks, I’m looking at you. The first thing to go should be anything that falls into the frivolous category. It is hard to spend money on luxuries such as high-priced coffee drinks when you can make yourself one and bring it with you in a cute travel mug. Depending upon how often you splurge, this could save you hundreds of dollars annually.
Also, do you really need that new pair of shoes? Whenever you pick up an item ask yourself why you’re buying it and whether you actually need it or not. If you can’t find a good answer, put it back. It can help curb your impulse buys and save you money on a regular basis.
3. BANISH OR EAT OUT LESS OFTEN
When you are living with a guy who tracks spending, (like I am) it is fairly easy to see where your downfalls are. And with all of the online solutions banks have to offer, it is really not that difficult to get a visual on how you might be able to cut back a little. In our case the first area we slash is food. And this isn’t an easy one either. Both of our kids are involved activities and cutting back requires packed snacks and lunches and lots of pre-prep time. An hour’s worth of preparation one weekend can leave you with a ton of cheap and easy dinner and snack options for the following week. A pain but worth the money saved!
4. CANCEL UNUSED MEMBERSHIPS OR SUBSCRIPTIONS
Are you paying dues for something you never use? Like, for instance, a gym membership, a magazine subscription or an online membership? (I can’t tell you HOW MANY times I forgot a subscription and months later find out that I’m still paying on it. Ugh!) If you’re on the fence about any of your memberships or find that you’re not using them very often, cancel them. Remember, you can always renew the membership at a later date if it turns out that you actually do miss it. We’ve even put our Audible membership on hold for awhile. We love the service but when every dollar counts you do what you have to.
In the end, it’s all in the way you look at the situation. Don’t focus on what you can’t do or what you don’t have money for, instead view it as a challenge or a temporary adventure. Good luck!
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