8 Easy Ways to Save Money That Won’t Feel Like Sacrifices
Budgeting means changing your entire lifestyle and sacrificing the things you love, right? Wrong!
Cutting out all of your guilty pleasures from your budget or leaving no room for hobbies and fun is a sure way to become quickly discouraged. Budgeting is about having more money for the things you enjoy and shouldn’t require you to adjust your entire lifestyle. Some sacrifice will of course be required, but it is unreasonable to expect someone to give up their car, move to a cheaper apartment, abandon their social life, and never set foot near a Starbucks again. Your budget should work for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. So before you go off and trade in your car for a rusty bike, consider these 8 easy things you can do to save money that won’t feel like you’re giving up anything!
1. Cut your cable (or at least the premium channels)
Review how much you are spending on your monthly cable bill and consider whether it’s really worth it. Sports channels and premium cable channels come at a price, and unless you watch these regularly, it’s likely you can cut some or all of these out to save money. Call your cable provider and ask what less expensive packages are available. Some providers also offer channels à la carte so you can pick one or two favorite premium channels without paying for 8 others that you’ll never watch. And don’t forget, you can always negotiate these types of services! Also consider taking advantage of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for great TV shows and movies – just don’t subscribe to all three!
2. Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions
Do all those newspapers and magazines you get sit on your coffee table for a week and then end up in the trash? If this sounds familiar, it’s time to cancel those subscriptions! The internet is full of great free news and editorial sources, so chances are you won’t even miss your subscriptions once cancelled. If you do read them, consider picking just one or two favorites to stick with, or opt for online subscriptions instead, which are often cheaper than print and make for an easy substitute in order to save money.
3. Ditch overdraft protection
It may sound like a good idea, but it’s actually a way for banks to tempt you to spend more than you can afford, and then charge you a hefty fee for the privilege. Some banks don’t set a limit on how many overdraft charges you can accrue in a day, so it’s easy for a little carelessness to end up costing you a lot. You are better off skipping this option and, instead, carefully monitoring your account balance so that you do not overextend yourself. Be sure to avoid this and other common banking mistakes that could be costing you money.
4. Cancel your club memberships
Paying for an expensive gym where you only go to use the treadmill? Hooked on those monthly subscription boxes? Consider taking a few minutes to review your monthly or annual club membership fees and whether there are any you can do without. While nice, chances are you can cut them out and you’ll quickly forget about them.
5. Ditch your landline phone
Be honest – how often do you really use your house phone? Unless you are running a business from home, many of the calls you probably get are probably telemarketers anyways. When cellphones were first gaining popularity, monthly plans were pretty expensive and limiting (think hefty charges for long distance calls), so landlines were still a necessity. But these days, most providers can provide pretty reasonably priced plans that include long distance and “prime time” minutes, so consider cancelling your landline to save money.
6. Shop for the best electricity provider
You are not necessarily bound to your incumbent electricity provider! If you live in a deregulated state, make sure to shop around for the most cost-efficient provider. Check out this handy list of deregulated states to easily compare rates and save money!
7. Go generic
When it comes to things like household products, toiletries, and medicine, it’s often not worth spending the extra money for name brands. Consider trying out store brand products instead for an easy way to save money – you probably won’t even notice a difference, but your wallet will!
8. Tackle rising gas prices
With gas prices continuing to rise, the price of car ownership is taking up more and more of our budgets. However, there are a few easy tricks to save money despite rising gas prices, including paying cash instead of credit and planning ahead to avoid having to fill up at expensive highway gas stations.
What many people don’t realize is a little goes a long way when it comes to saving money. A lot of small changes can do just as much as one or two big changes to help you save money. What other easy ways have you been able to cut expenses from your budget? Did you miss them once you cut them out? Share your comments below!