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Cost Cutting

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A woman slicing tomatoes on a cutting board.

You’ve set your budget and you’re tracking your expenses, but what if you still don’t seem to have enough money at the end of the month? It may be time to face the difficult task of reducing the amount you spend or cutting items out of your budget completely.

Here are a few cost-cutting tips that may help you find a bit more money at the end of each month. Some of these budget cuts may be painless, while others may take some time to adjust to.

  1. Cut your cable TV costs. If you have a subscription to cable or a satellite service, examine your bill and analyze how much you’re actually watching TV. With shows available on the internet or streaming services, you could even reduce your monthly bills by cutting cable all together. If you and your family can’t eliminate cable, shop around for competitive rates and plans. Many companies will offer new subscribers deeply discounted rates.
  2. Pack your lunches and eat at home more often. Instead of buying a $7-10 lunch out every day, pack leftovers or a sandwich. You will see an increase on the amount of money you spend at the grocery store, but you can easily pack a lunch for under $5. If your family dines out 3 or 4 times a week, try reducing that down to 1 or 2 times a week. These are easy steps that can greatly reduce your food bill.
  3. Cut down on energy bills. You can cut your heating and cooling costs by installing a programmable thermostat. You’ll save by not heating or cooling your home during the hours you are not there. You can also wash your laundry in cold water and turn down the temperature on your water heater to save on energy costs.
  4. Cancel your unused gym memberships. If you’re only visiting the club, pool or gym once a month, you could be throwing your money away. If you do visit the gym on a regular basis, shop around for a less expensive option.
  5. Refinance your high-rate debt or take advantage of credit card balance transfers. If you’re carrying debt with a high interest rate, finding a lower rate option could save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. You can also look for a credit card balance transfer offer that locks in your low rate for the longest amount of time. Also look for cards without balance transfer fees.
  6. Look for ways to save on insurance premiums. Insurance is important, but you should only pay for the coverage you need. Shop around for the best rates. Many companies will offer discounts if you bundle your car and home (or renter’s) insurance. If you have a good driving history, ask about a good driver discount.
  7. Pay your bills on time. If you can, enroll in auto-pay plans. Avoid late fees at all costs.
  8. Cancel newspaper or magazine subscriptions. If you’re not reading the paper or magazine, there’s no reason to continue paying a monthly bill. If you can’t live without your favorite magazine, borrow it from your friends or co-workers. Your local library and the internet are great places to keep up with daily news.
  9. Give up your “vices.” Review your budget and analyze just how much you may be spending for your daily coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets. You don’t have to give up everything all at once. You can set a cash budget for these items. Handing over cash will make you more aware of how much you are spending.

Figuring out how you can cut back on your monthly expenditures will help put you on the right track to creating a balanced budgeted.

If you have any questions or if we can help you in any way, please contact Member Services at 804-323-6800 or 800-285-6609.