How To Cut Expenses and Save More Cash
Need more cash to fund your budget? Is your paycheck a little short? Here are some creative ways to cut expenses and save more.
Did you know experts say that by age 44 you should have three years’ salary saved, plus 80% of one year’s salary?
That means, for example, if you’re currently making $40,000 a year, you should have $152,000 in savings.
If you’re like me, you’re not even close.
And if you do have that much in savings, we’re really happy for you (insert eye roll here).
So if you’re a few zeros (or commas) away from your goal, here are some ideas I’ve found to help me level up.
How do I stop living paycheck to paycheck?
I think for many, the first step is learning how to stop living paycheck to paycheck. If you’re going to save, you have to set aside a portion of your income for it.
So, how do you find this money in a paycheck that’s already stretched thin?
It starts with creating a budget.
Not just any budget, but a budget that fits your style, spending habits, and needs.
You need to decide where each penny of your paycheck is going BEFORE you even get it.
By doing this, you can make sure you don’t run out of money before necessary bills are paid or savings deposits are made.
I cover the different types of budgets and how to create each (with printable templates!) in the WELLthy Mama Bundle.
What can you do if you don’t make enough money to save?
I’m sure there’s someone reading this who’s thinking, I’ve made a budget, looked for areas in which to cut back, but I still don’t make enough money to save.
Well, if you need more cash to fund your budget and you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, here are some ways you can cut expenses and save more:
1) Get rid of extra expenses.
Believe it or not, cable and streaming services are not necessities. Take a look at your list of “Wants” that you created in the section above. Now it’s time to make the tough decision to let them go. It may hurt, but it’s necessary in order for you to get out of debt on a low income. Cancel those services and direct those monies toward your debt payments.
2) Stop eating out.
Eating out can be a fun, family bonding time, or a quick solution to a busy day. But when you’re trying to get out of debt on a low income, eating out becomes a luxury that should be reserved for special (infrequent) occasions.
So how does this help me pay off debt fast, you ask? Here’s how. Look through your bank statements for the past two- to three months and determine the average amount you spent on eating out.
Take this amount and add it to your budget for debt payments, then subtract it from your budget for entertainment (or whichever budget area you used for eating out)
3) Embrace meal planning.
I resisted for a long time because I loved the spontaneity of planning meals the day of. But when I saw how much I could save by planning ahead (and how it helped me stick to my healthy eating plan), I was all in.
Some of the best meal-planning advice I’ve found has come from Jordan Page’s Productivity Bootcamp. She teaches you to shop from your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry first, then shop the sales at stores.
Once you have an idea of what food items you already have, and you see what items are on sale, you can find recipes that use those items. Once you’ve found recipes you like using the ingredients you have on hand, make a list of any items you’re missing (which should be few), and then go shopping.
4) Grocery shop only once a week.
This, too, is a tip from Jordan Page’s Productivity Bootcamp and it, along with her other tips, saved me almost $200 a month in groceries.
By planning your meals first, then going to only one store, one time a week, you’ll be able to cut out impulse buying and save money. The money you save can be redirected to debt payments so you can pay off debt fast.
5) Use coupons.
Yes, coupons are still a thing, and they can save your $5 to $10 each grocery trip depending on where you go and what you buy. Some stores, like Kroger, have their own coupons that generate based on your shopping habits. These are excellent because you get to save on items you actually use.
Look for savings memberships or shoppers cards for the stores you go to the most. Then take advantage of their sales and savings coupons. When you get your receipt, look at the amount saved and take that same amount from your Grocery budget to pay on a debt.
6) Sell what you don’t use.
You may have clothes you’ve never worn hanging in your closet with the tags still on them. Or books you’ve purchased that you no longer need. These are just an idea of some of the items you can sell online for cash.
Places like eBay, Poshmark, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to sell your gently used items and recoup part of your cost. Take your profits and add them to your budget income.
7) Stop using credit.
Unless you break the cycle, you will always be using your hard-earned dollars to pay off debt. Yes, there are some very responsible people who limit their credit purchases and pay their balances off every month. But if you’re taking notes from this post, then you probably need to cut up your credit card.
Instead of buying things before you can afford them, try saving up for bigger purchases instead. You’ll avoid debt and unnecessary interest payments, and free up more money for more fun uses.
So, there you have it–the best way to trim expenses and save more. These methods worked for me and I’m sure they’ll work for you too.
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