Money can help us obtain many joys and pleasures in life, but it can also cause overwhelming stress when we lose sight of our budget and spend much more than we make. While many people view budgeting as a sort of “fun police” coming to take the things they enjoy most, reworking your budget and cutting certain expenses will ultimately reduce your stress and give you more freedom to live life to the fullest. If you’re looking to improve your finances, here are four simple ways to cut costs and regain control of your money.
Cancel the Cable
One of the easiest ways to cut spending these days is to cancel your cable subscription. There are several streaming services (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Sling, etc.) now that offer almost any movie or TV show you can think of for a fraction of the cost of a cable subscription. Even if a movie or TV show you want to watch is unavailable through your streaming service, you can purchase or rent it individually for a fair price. Another advantage of subscribing to a streaming service is that you can access it anywhere when you have a streaming device. What’s more, streaming devices come in many different models to fit any type of budget, allowing you to make a choice that will be compatible with your equipment without draining your bank account.
Dine in More
Dining out is one of the most common expenses for families, and making minor changes to your eating routine can lead to a significant difference in your finances. When you do it the right way, buying groceries and cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out over and over again.
If you eat at restaurants every day for lunch, set a goal to bring your lunch three times a week. If you get take-out four nights a week, try reducing that number to two nights a week. Many people resolve that they will dine out less, only to realize that they are still dining out every other meal. You must have a plan if you are to change your routine and eat at home; once it’s your routine and you find home-cooked meals you love, you won’t miss dining out all the time.
Another way to save money on food is to plan and prepare your meals for the week. Having lunch and/or dinner prepared and ready to eat (or cook) means that you are less likely to go through a drive-thru on a busy day or order take-out after a long day when you don’t feel like preparing a meal. Meal prepping also helps you strategize your grocery shopping so that you’re not aimlessly throwing items into the cart and hoping you will use them somehow; this will help you make intentional purchases and throw out less food. Pick a day of the week to dedicate a couple of hours for meal prepping, and you’ll be surprised at how it boosts your savings.
Finally, when you need to buy an item — whether it’s food, clothing, baby products or anything else — shop around before making your purchase. This especially works for shopping online, because you can quickly and conveniently compare multiple sites to see where you can get the item for the best price at the best shipping rate. Also, when you’re shopping for groceries, take advantage of the weekly deals, and buy items in bulk if there’s a great special going on.
Take control of your money rather than allowing money to control your life. Remember to consider getting rid of cable and joining a streaming service. Start eating at home more, and meal prep once a week. Lastly, always shop around before you purchase something. Making these minor changes to your budget will go a long way in reducing the stress caused by financial strain, and it will help you enjoy your best life.
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