Learn how to cut your budget – even if you think you can’t cut any more!
What can you do to cut your budget? This is one of the common questions I hear from readers. You’ve already done everything you can, but it still does not work.
I remember when my husband and I were struggling after I quit my job to stay home with our first born. It was tough and we all know you can’t get blood from a turnip!
Before you look at what you can do to save on your budget, you need to make sure you have one. Your budget needs to be in writing. It needs to be a roadmap showing you where you will spend your money.
Here are some different things we tried, which you can use too when you need to cut your budget:
1. Find ways to bring in more money each month.
Of course, you can’t give yourself a raise at your job, but there are other things you can do to bring in more money. We ended up selling items, I found a part-time, work from home job with my prior employer and eventually, started this site. You sometimes need to look inside and where your passion lies and you might find the perfect way to increase your income. Just a bit more money can really help your budget every month.
Open: 75+ Ways To Make Money
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Sit back for a minute and look at where you were before you knew about budgeting and stretching your dollar vs. where you are now. Be proud of what you’ve done and the changes you’ve made. Sometimes, just knowing that you’ve made positive financial changes is enough to be proud about. Just celebrate the small victories.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
This is a tough one. You may see others who claim that they found a way to shave their budget by hundreds of dollars every month. While we would all love to be able to do that, it may not be realistic for you. You may have additional expenses others do not have. Your income is different than them. You have your own financial goals. When you stop comparing yourself to others, the need to keep up and compete will stop and you can feel better about your own budget.
4. Look at your needs vs. wants.
This is a tough one. There are probably things you have in your knowledge.which are wants rather than needs (and vice versa). Do you have both a land line and cell phone? If so, do you need both or do you want both? Why not drop the land line?
Take a look at your entertainment. Do you need cable? Why not try to use another way to knock down your cable bill (or eliminate it completely). Do you need to eat dinner out once a week – or do you want to dine out?
When we were getting out of debt, we did not eat in a restaurant for more than a year. I kid you not. It was tough, but we survived. The reason was that we determined that it was a want to dine out and not a need. Instead, we took the money we would have spent having a dinner out and used it towards our debt instead.
5. Seek assistance.
This may be the time when you need to reach out to get help. There are times when you just can’t make it on your own and there are programs and services which are here to help. You can check with your local government to find ways to get help with utility bills, apply for food stamps, locate a food pantry and even get assistance for child care.
Just because you ask for help does not mean you are not financially responsible. We all have times when we need a hand and these organizations are here to help. Once you get back on your feet, then that will be your chance to pay it forward to help someone else.
6. Cut your spending.
This may seem simple, but you can do simple things to reduce your spending at the store. You can switch from name brands to store brands.
Start to use coupons! While you may not find them for the fruits, vegetables and meats you need, you can find them for the household products you use and many other products around your house. Combine these with sales to ensure you pay the lowest price possible.
You might also consider changing where you shop. One idea is to shop at Aldi. If you live near one of these locations, you can easily cut your spending by nearly 50% just by shopping here!
7. Use Cash.
I know it sounds crazy, but it works. When you use cash for your discretionary spending you can never overspend. So, if you need to lower your grocery spending, the simple way to ensure you do not overspend is to get cash.
Cash is defined and when it is gone, it’s gone. It is a simple tool that you can use to ensure that you always stay on budget and help keep your spending in check.
If your budget is not working, then it is time to make some big moves. It will not be fun. It will not be easy. But it is something you just have to do.