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We’ve all been there before. Your credit card statement is staring you in the face and your checking account is just cents from zero. It happens. Time to revisit the household budget.

And then you get mad at yourself for allowing your finances to get in this awful shape.

How could you not have enough money to last through the whole month? To cover all the bills?

I have friends ask me all the time how to cut their budget when they really feel like they already are only paying for necessities.

I’ve found that there is always room to cut something in your budget, even if you think there’s nothing left you could possibly do.

Let’s dive in and figure out how to get your budget in tip-top shape!

{Sidenote: If you don’t already have a budget, check out my post on creating a budget when you hate to budget.}

Reevaluate Your Needs Vs. Wants

In order to properly cut your household budget, you are first going to have to take an honest look at where you are spending your money.

I’ll bet there are probably things in your life that would fall into the wants category, rather than needs. At least that’s what I found when I took a look at my finances.

Believe it or not, things such as Amazon Prime and Netflix are actually wants, and not needs.

I realize we use Amazon Prime all the time, and we watch something on Netflix almost every day. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a pain to live without them, but for the short term, until you have more wiggle room in your budget, you’ve gotta get ruthless. (Besides, I’ve got ways to use Amazon and still get free shipping without having prime)

 

If you are still hanging on to your cable bill, cut it. If you are still paying for a landline, get rid of it.

Would it be harder to live without them? YES! But being in control of your finances and household budget is more important.

Take a quick hard look at the items you are spending money on and label each one as a Need or a Want.

If you want a cheat; I’ll tell you that there are only five things that are actual needs:

1. Mortage/Rent
2. Electric/Water (utilities)
3. Food (groceries for eating at home, not restaurants)
4. Basic Clothing (only replacing the necessities such as holey shoes)
5. Car Payment & Gas

Everything else you spend money on is a want. Ouch! I know it might sting to hear this, but sometimes facing the truth about what we are spending money on and identifying the true category it is in, will force you to correct your household budget and better navigate the waters ahead.

Raise Your Deductibles

This one item has the potential to make a huge difference in your monthly expenses.

If your claims are infrequent, you might want to consider raising your home, auto or healthcare deductible. Raising your deductible can often reduce your annual premiums, adding some breathing room to your monthly budget.

You can always make a note on your calendar to reduce them again once your finances have recovered.

When I called about increasing our auto deductible, we found out that our car was worth less than the deductible. Therefore, we could remove that portion of our auto insurance. That saved us $100 each month! We still have a fully insured car, but we are not paying for something that would never help us.

BE WARNED, this is not without risk. Doing so means you’ll be paying significantly more out of pocket if something happens. Make sure you start building an emergency fund right away if you don’t already have one.

Get Rid Of Your Second Vehicle

I know this probably sounds crazy at first, but if you have a vehicle that is rarely used or you are able to carpool, you need to get rid of it!

Plus, you’ll save money on insurance too! Double bonus!

For years my Dad rode the bus from Clearwater to his work in Tampa. He started doing it to save money on gas, but getting rid of that car helped the household budget too!

Another bonus, you’ll be able to use the money from selling your car to put toward your debt or add to your savings.

Get creative and think about possibly sharing a ride to and from work with someone else, you’ll reduce the wear and tear on your own car and save on gas.

Another option if you really need a second car, but want to get rid of those car payments, is to get an older car. A short-term solution to use until your finances improve. We’ve traded out newer cars for much older cars and I’ll be the first to tell you some days it stunk and I wanted to drive a new car again. But having our finances under control was more important, we did it, and we survived.

Get Rid Of Your Data Plan

We live in a digital world where almost everyone carries (and has a data plan for) smartphones.

Look for ways to downgrade your data plan. Nowadays you can connect to wifi almost anywhere you go. I was even able to connect to wifi when I was getting my oil changed!

By cutting our cell phone’s data plan it lowered our bill by $20 a month. Even lowering it just 1GB would’ve saved us $10 a month.

 

I realize you can’t cut off data completely and only use texting. So calling your carrier to ask if there is a lower option could save you some serious money you don’t even know you are wasting.

In fact, calling all the companies to negotiate a better rate is a good practice I like to do once a year. And remember, I teach a super easy way to use coupons to reduce your grocery bill.

Find Ways To Bring In More Income

If only you could just give yourself a raise at your job.

If you truly feel that your household budget is the thinnest it will go, earning extra income is always another option.

To make extra money, a really easy way is to immediately gather up some things from around your home and sell them. I would be there are probably at least 5 things sitting in your home that you haven’t used in years that could be worth something.

Take an hour and gather the items together, take pictures and list them on eBay, Craigslist or in a local Facebook Group and take the cash and run! There are even easy smartphone apps that will make it easy to get rid of your stuff, OfferUp and LetGo are two that I’ve used with success (I sent my husband James to meet them in a Firehouse Parking Lot for the exchange).

If you are passionate about something, there is probably a way you could be making money doing it.

To save money and cut your household budget you’ll need to take a slightly tough look at your current spending and identify the true wants versus needs. Call your service providers to see if you can immediately cut the costs by possibly raising your deductibles or changing your plan. You’ll also want to consider getting rid of your second car, or possibly trading it for a cheaper ride. And if all else fails, consider increasing your income by taking on a temporary side hustle like selling things at a yard sale or online.

YOUR TURN: What are some things you don’t want to cut from your household budget? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Need to cut more out of your budget? There are more things to cut that you probably haven't thought of! Start cutting with these tips! #truecouponing #debtfreecommunity #debtfree #budget #budgeting
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