Simplifying my life and taking control of my budget was difficult, but it enabled me to travel all over the country, see the sights, taste the local delicacies and truly living life the way I wanted. If you have a dream you’re saving for, check your budget for these dos and don’ts to save money.
Cut Your Cable
Deciding to quit your cable company will be the best decision you’ll ever make. There’s nothing on paid cable you can’t watch online, completely free. Many streaming services provide the same news that’s on television, and both lag behind Twitter and RSS feeds. Live sports can be streamed online as well, or at any local restaurant with a TV. There are too many entertainment options available for little to no cost for anyone to be spending $50+ per month for cable.
Don’t Cut Your Car or Home Insurance
The financial impact of health insurance is still debatable, but if you have a bank lien on your home or automobile, you need to keep up with insurance payments. If you don’t, the contract you signed for your loan allows the loan servicer to saddle you with an expensive force-placed insurance policy, which can cost up to 10 times as much.
I love music, and I wholeheartedly support musicians. I also understand the point system provides an artist with 5-12 cents from the $10 you spend on their album. Musicians make more money from touring, sponsorship deals and licensing their work in video games and movies than they’ll ever make from consumer album purchases. Ignore the industry hype and only listen to free music using sites like Pandora.
Don’t Ignore Maintenance
How many appliances and pieces of furniture in your home are broken? When was the last time you serviced your vehicle? Keeping your home, vehicle and gadgets running smoothly saves you money in the long run. If you let an issue linger, it’ll only become more expensive. Fix problems as they come up, and proactively prevent them by treating your property with respect.
Evaluate Your Food Budget
Food is where people tend to overspend the most. It’s OK to stockpile food, but make sure you’re stockpiling food you actually use — otherwise you’re wasting money. Also stop eating at restaurants and fast food joints regularly. Once a week is the most you should be eating out if you’re living lean, and even then, choose places you actually enjoy.
Don’t Starve Yourself
On the flip side, it’s important to remember you are what you eat — literally. Many money-saving sites will tell you to eat nothing but oats, honey and peanut butter, but that’s not going to sustain or fuel you for long. Adequate nutrition is important for everyone.
Renegotiate Your Debts
From student loans to credit cards, by the time you hit 25, odds are you’re buried in debt. Whatever bills you have, call the company to renegotiate the debt terms. Ask for lower interest rates, lower payments and even a low payoff balance. If you let yourself go delinquent long enough, they’ll sell your debt to a collection agency for 20 cents on the dollar. Offer to pay half, and everyone wins.
When I analyzed my budget, I was amazed at how many unnecessary bills I managed to accumulate. From cell phone insurance I’ve never used to multiple content-streaming subscriptions, I would’ve been better off just burning my paycheck and flushing the ashes. I’m far from rich, but I can still afford to live the life I want thanks to an honest budget assessment and some savvy savings decisions.