Do you find that you have too much month at the end of your money? (Yes, I’m totally thinking about Steve Azar’s song so here’s the video for your listening pleasure while you read the rest of the article 🙂 )
There’s too much month at the end of the money
Not enough dough at the end of the day
Don’t know why I’m laughin’ cuz it sure ain’t funny
There’s too much month at the end of the money
Steve Azar “Moo La Moo”
Okay, back to what I was saying…
At the end of each year, I look back at my budget sheet and devise ways to both make more money AND save more money. This past year I saw I enjoyed too many luxuries and spent way more than I should have. Shame on me! I had fun though so there *sticks tongue out* 🙂
But now it’s time to get back into gear. I have some very lofty items on my 40 things to do by age 40 list and need quite a bit of money to complete some of them. So I have to buckle down now and do what I have to do to get and do what I want!! I know I can still have frugal fun and save money at the same time.
Now who’s ready to batten down the hatches with me and save some money! Besides, one of the ways to make money is to save money right?!
So if you’ve just suffered a reduction in income, gotten a huge medical bill, just need some extra spending money, or otherwise have a need to tighten the financial belt NOW, this article is for you. Now, some of these suggestions may seem a bit harsh, even painful. But, if you’re facing tough economic times, these cuts could be your first line of defense to stop the hemorrhage of funds from your budget. These are changes you can do TODAY to add to your bottom line and save your financial self from going under fast.
Downgrade or cancel your cable subscription
I actually just called AT&T and asked to downgrade my Uverse TV from the highest package (U450) to the U200 package. Trust me, out of the 250 extra channels, there was never really much on anyway! I got rid of all the premium channels (though I’ll be adding HBO back when True Blood airs again and hope they have a deal like HBO free for 3 months like back in the day!! 😉 ). This one thing saves me $24 a month – a nice chunk of change in my book that I can do something else with.
In addition, I already have a Netflix streaming subscription for $8 so if I ever want to watch a movie, I’m sure I’ll find something there or head to Redbox for $1.20 (yes, they went up .20 cents) rentals. Moreover, I always find Redbox codes to use online and even get deals right at checkout to add another movie for free.
No, this isn’t going to save you from going bankrupt, but changing your monthly cable bill can help put groceries on the table. While you’re at it, take a look at any other monthly recurring charges for entertainment, such as magazines, golf club memberships, and any other charges simply for fun.
Cancel your gym membership
Wait. I know what you’re saying; “Doesn’t exercise help with stress management?” or “I’m supposed to exercise right?” Well, yes to both questions. But if you’re stressed about finances, adding to that stress of paying the gym membership isn’t going to help. Consider instead taking up a regular walking, running, or other home exercise routine. You can even go to Walmart and buy weights, a bench, and other little equipment you want very inexpensively. Better yet, body weight exercises are awesome – squats, pushups, lunges, etc. These are simple fitness things you can do that are perfect for combating stress – and they don’t require a membership fee!
Note: If it costs you more to cancel due to cancellation fees than to just keep the membership, you may as well keep it. Just be smart about your decision.
Cancel your home phone line
My mom recently moved and was looking for home phone services. We called all the local phone companies and couldn’t believe how high a basic home phone package is. So we bought Magic Jack Plus (Voice over IP service) at RadioShack and it’s working like a charm. For $60 a year, you get more than enough features one would need for a home phone and can even choose your number (for an additional small fee like $10). But it’s well worth it for my mom and I hope it continues to do so.
Another thing a lot of people are doing now is relying on their cell phone for everything. I used to think that if you have small children and/or older people at your home, you need a home phone for their purposes. But my brother schooled me and actually bought a prepaid phone to always leave at home so when’s away, the kids still have a way to contact him so I thought that was ingenious. As a matter of fact, family plans may even be less expensive than having a cell phone plus a home phone.
Note: Most cell phone plans have cancellation fees that far outweigh the savings you’d get from canceling your service. Not so with your home phone. When you think about it, when was the last time you picked up the home phone? Chances are you use your cell most of the time anyway. Even having a stripped down land line of $20 a month adds up to $240 a year. Can you think of something you could buy for $240?
Increase the deductible on your car insurance
One phone call to your insurance agent and you can save a chunk of change – sometimes in the form of a rebate if you’ve pre-paid your insurance for the quarter or year. When you add up the difference between the cost of a repair and the premium you’re being charged to cover a low deductible, you’ll most likely see that you can quickly save the difference. In short, you’re paying for that possible repair month after month in the form of the low deductible. Raise the deductible and put the savings aside in your emergency fund. You’ll come out ahead every time.
Use Entertainment Books
I normally buy an entertainment book annually. It has tons of deep discounts on all types of things including fast food, restaurants, drugstores, activities, bookstores, travel, and much more. I’ve never used every coupon in the book (it’s huge by the way) but I can tell you that the book this year costs $30 and I’ve already earned back my investment by using 6 of the $5 off $50 coupons at my fav grocery store, Shop-N-Save!
If you did each one of these items this month, you would very quickly see a reduction in your expenses. They say “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” So take some of these steps and maybe you won’t have too much month at the end of your money!
What other ways have you found to cut costs quickly? Please share in the comment below. Let’s get wealthy together! 🙂