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Financial struggles come and go, and sometimes, even the most well-thought-out budget needs to be narrowed a bit. If you’re finding yourself at a loss for how to pinch more pennies, these five tips will help you reduce spending, save more and find some wiggle room in your already tight budget. Although it’s difficult making some changes, it’s better to think of them as short-term solutions instead of big losses. Our mindset has an incredible hold over how we feel, think and act. If you believe that you’re making changes to gain financial stability, you’re more likely to stay motivated and persevere through your hardship.
Look into Public Transportation
This tip won’t work for everyone, but with warmer weather emerging, it could be a good idea to look into alternative ways of getting around town. As long as it’s feasible and safe, look into bus routes, carpooling with coworkers and family members or cycling. You don’t need to stop driving altogether, but even opting to walk to the grocery store instead of driving there can save you money on gas each month. Most people can’t live car-free, but there are eco-friendly substitutes to driving that are not only better for your wallet but also benefit the environment. The next time you take the kids to the park, why not bike instead of walk?
Avoid Eating Out at All Costs
It’s convenient and delicious, but takeout burns a massive hole in your budget. You might think it’s cheaper to eat out than buy groceries if money is tight, but that isn’t the case. With some smart shopping and meal planning, you can always make more food with groceries then you’ll be able to buy from a restaurant. You can turn dining out into a treat once a month so you look forward to it. This is also a good way to learn more about nutrition and master cooking basics. Don’t forget to join your local grocer’s membership club or sign up for a reward’s card. These allow you to take advantage of exclusive discounts and sales prices that can cut your bill down by a quarter or more.
Get Rid of Cable
In the era of Netflix and Hulu, you don’t need to fork over $75+ a month for decent TV. For only $15 a month, you can get ad-free streaming services on multiple devices. There are dozens of shows, documentaries, movies and even exclusive programs you can’t watch anywhere else. Keep the Wi-Fi and pass on the hard-wired cable. Your budget will thank you, and who knows, you may wind up expanding your horizons as well.
Check Your Loans
You know you owe money, but are you paying it back effectively? Sometimes, we fall into automatic payment plans that lenders set up and wind up struggling with debt that could be ten times more manageable. Consider lowering your monthly costs by refinancing your student loan. You can look up a refinance calculator online that helps you visualize your repayment options and find out how much you could save.
Have Fun for Free
Consider it a creative challenge to go an entire month without spending money on non-essentials. No eating out, no movies, no video games or any other expense. Can you do it? Saying no to needless spending doesn’t mean you’re condemned to loafing around and scrolling on social media all day either; consider going outside, getting active, taking up an artsy hobby and finding new ways to use things you already have.
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