Are you looking at streamlining your budget, or make your budget go a little further every month? Here are a few things / habits you need to ditch to help save money. I know some will be controversial to some people, but if you’re honest with yourself and if you really need the money, make the hard decisions.
I am going to start with the following comment, use it or not, up to you. When considering the removal, or addition, of items to a budget, have an unbiased / independent third party sit in on or look through the proposed changes. This person/s may have insights to both the topic at hand as well as your person that can help guide decisions while removing emotion as a driver. This advice does not stop at your budget, it is also true for the purchase of any out of the norm, high cost items.
Items in your personal sphere
If you’re young and healthy or more mature and your children are out of the house, consider reducing this to more suit your actual requirements. Don’t just cancel what you have without any consideration or speaking to a reputable financial manager.
Clear your credit card debt as soon as you can. Make sure to make your minimum due payments, and where possible, anything on top of that. Another alternative is to negotiate a low fee, low rate personal load and clear your credit card with this (don’t then go and max the card again, that will just be stupid). While busy with this, talk to your bank about no or low fee accounts and make use of these. Be sure to always be aware of the fees associated to your accounts.
Make sure to watch your data usage and use available SAFE WI-fi where possible. If need be, ask your data provider to activate a usage limit so as to avoid any nasty unnecessary surprises. If you are on contract, make sure you read the fine print. In some cases these contracts are promotional and these may end at some point and then you are stuck in a high priced contract you can’t afford.
If you don’t need a new smart-phone (because the one you have still works), don’t upgrade for the sake of upgrading. Again, make sure about the details of your contract as your contract may have had promotions build in that end on contract end date.
Dine out as little as possible. Cooking at home is cheaper and has many more social benefits. This includes the quick morning take away for breakfast and even the coffee out purchases. Cut out buying expensive alcoholic drinks when dining out.
Stop drinking alcohol and stop smoking.
If you really have to have some item, shop around and look for the bargain. Don’t fixate on Brand named items. Don’t buy in bulk if this is not required.
Curb the purchase of expensive makeup, unless you have a legitimate skin condition. You’re just going to wash it off at the end of the day.
Skip the new nails and face masks. Well, actually all the salon stuff. No unnecessary hair color, hair extensions and styling. This is aimed at both girls and boys.
Ditch the gym membership (unless you actually do go to the gym).
Check all your book, magazine, wine club, online subscriptions (Amazon, all the series & movie streaming services etc.) and very importantly, all those unused APP subscriptions. Cut back those you don’t need or haven’t used in the last 3-6 months.
Items in your social sphere
Ill say this again. Stop drinking alcohol and stop smoking.
Gifts can become very expensive and in most cases come with a “you need to equal or better this” clause attached. This can make it very difficult and awkward if your budget doesn’t allow for extravagant spending. As a first step, discuss among your family and friends a gift budget and stick to it, have separate budgets for birthdays and holidays if you like. Discuss the option of “secret gifting” where groups are involved. As a final option, conditioner making use of gift cards or messages where a cheap alternative is required. Keep in mid too that a gift may not always be required, just your presence or acknowledgement of the individual may in most cases be enough.
If you receive many wedding, anniversary, special occasion invitations, be picky as to which you attend. These events may create expectation of new clothing or shoes. They may require travel and accommodation which can stretch a budget way past breaking point.
If you don’t need really really need to, don’t go watch a movie at the cinema. Be creative at home.
In and around your house
Skip animal grooming. Bath the animal yourself.
Cut down on the use of air conditioning within your home.
If you have a swimming pool, alternate the days that your swimming pool pump works. Running the pump for 2 hours a day every second day is more than enough.
Change your old incandescent light bulbs for more efficient LED bulbs.
Do your own gardening. The cost savings here may vary, but there are many other benefits that make it well worth considering.
Be your own house cleaner. If you have children, this is a good way to teach them work ethic and even good money habits. This also has other benefit including social and health benefits.
Ditch your DSTV subscription. If possible spend that money on good uncapped broadband (normally half the price of full package DSTV).
As a final note, I am not a financial advisor, financial professional and neither do I purport to know all that there is to know about any of the topics mentioned above. Where needed, make sure to revert to a professional for advice. If you have any suggestions related to this topic, contact us and I’ll gladly add to the list.