Whether you are finally realizing how much financial trouble you are in or you are suffering because of an unforeseen circumstance such as a job loss or injury, there are times in your life when you may need to cut back on expenses right away. While measures like refinancing your mortgage and couponing can save you big bucks in the long run, they usually take some time to go into effect. Here are five things you trim from your budget right NOW.
1. Overdraft and Late Fees
With overdraft fees and late fees, you pay money and get absolutely nothing in return. Even if these fees are small, if you are paying them regularly, they can really add up. Banish overdraft fees from your life for good by switching to a cash system. Banish late fees by leaving books and movies by the door where you will remember to take them back or by marking important due dates for bills on a calendar that you check regularly.
2. Cleaning Products
Because of the ease and availability of store-bought cleaning products, many people don’t even ever consider making their own. Making your own cleaning products is actually incredibly easy, however, and it is way cheaper too, especially since you probably already have many of the ingredients on hand. Plus, they work great and they are better for the environment as well.
3. Meals Out
While there is nothing wrong with the occasional celebratory dinner, if you are making a habit out of grabbing lunches out or hitting the drive-through, you are spending way more on convenience food than you need to. Start making your own lunches to bring to work, and prep meals ahead of time so they are already ready for you by the time you get home from work. Crock-Pot meals are fabulous for this.
4. New Clothes
While clothes are a necessary expense, new clothes are not. Instead of buying your children tons of new clothes every time they grow out of their old ones, come up with a more creative solution. Buy clothes from secondhand stores, consignment shops, garage sales, Ebay or Craigslist, or organize a kids’ clothing swap with all of your friends. You can do the same thing with your clothes as well.
Paying for a sitter doesn’t have to be a necessary part of date night. Instead of paying someone, arrange to swap childcare with a family friend. For example, you could watch all of the kids one Friday; she can watch all of them the next. This allows both sets of parents some time to go out for date nights or to get errands done, and the kids will have a ball playing together too.
So many of our daily expenses are unnecessary, but we don’t realize it until we take the time to find good alternatives.
Do you have any items you’ve successfully cut out of your budget? Do you think you could cut any of these five items out?