Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Can you Shave Money from these Three Budget Categories?

Can you Shave Money from these Three Budget Categories?

Your budget is sure to have both fixed and variable expenses. For example, your mortgage (or rent) and car payment are fixed. They don’t change from month to month.

Conversely, there are variable expenses that jump up and down on a monthly basis. Your goal is simple: to shave as much money as possible from these budget categories. By doing so, you will soon find yourself with the ability to save more.

Where should you start? While it is imperative to review your budget in its entirety, there are three categories that deserve your immediate attention:

1. Food. How much money are you spending every month on food? This includes trips to the grocery store, dining out, and takeout.

You have to eat, but this doesn’t mean you have to overspend. Continue to search for new ways to save on this category, such as eliminating how many times you eat out each month.

2. Entertainment. There is nothing wrong with having some fun from time to time, but this doesn’t mean your entertainment expenses should take up a large portion of your budget. The best thing you can do is set a reasonable number and stick with it no matter what. When the money is gone, it is time to search for free ways to have fun.

3. Cable. A growing number of people have come to find that their cable bill is outrageous, leading them to consider other options. You don’t have to get rid of cable altogether, but you should consider ways to save. This can include but is not limited to: eliminating channels you don’t watch, switching providers, and negotiating a better deal.

It may not be easy at first, but with the right approach you can shave money from these three budget categories.

Which others deserve your immediate attention?

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Comments 5

Frank on Thursday, 05 November 2015 13:45

Great information Chris. I would also 3 additional categories you may be able to reduce your expenses:
1. Heat/cooling: In the winter months: (1) Add blankets to the bed and (2)use your ceiling fan. Many people think fans only cool down, but if you use your ceiling fan at a low speed, letting it spin clockwise, the warm air trapped at the ceiling will circulate the room. During the summer, wear shorts and a t-shirt in doors and use fans as much as possible.
2. Subscriptions: If you are tight on money, you can cancel newspaper, magazine, or club subscriptions. This will save you money overtime.
3. Electricity: Never leave electronics on when you are using them, and make sure everything is off when you leave for the day.

Great information Chris. I would also 3 additional categories you may be able to reduce your expenses: 1. Heat/cooling: In the winter months: (1) Add blankets to the bed and (2)use your ceiling fan. Many people think fans only cool down, but if you use your ceiling fan at a low speed, letting it spin clockwise, the warm air trapped at the ceiling will circulate the room. During the summer, wear shorts and a t-shirt in doors and use fans as much as possible. 2. Subscriptions: If you are tight on money, you can cancel newspaper, magazine, or club subscriptions. This will save you money overtime. 3. Electricity: Never leave electronics on when you are using them, and make sure everything is off when you leave for the day.
Finance Globe on Thursday, 05 November 2015 13:47

Good post Chris, for those without too much discipline:
1. Set up a fixed monthly transfer into another bank account with no fees.
2. Destroy the debit card or checks for this account so you are not easily tempted to withdrawal from this account.
3, This will be money you never had, it will force you to rethink your budget. Only think about taking from this account when you retire.

If you do this for 30 years, depositing $300 a month yielding only 1% will result in nearly $126,000. At 5% you will have almost $250,000!
No minimum deposit: Amex Personal Savings: https://personalsavings.americanexpress.com/ (.90% APY as of 5 Nov 15)
$500 minimum deposit: Discover Bank Savings: https://www.discover.com/online-banking/savings-account/ (.95% APY as of 5 Nov 15)

Good post Chris, for those without too much discipline: 1. Set up a fixed monthly transfer into another bank account with no fees. 2. Destroy the debit card or checks for this account so you are not easily tempted to withdrawal from this account. 3, This will be money you never had, it will force you to rethink your budget. Only think about taking from this account when you retire. If you do this for 30 years, depositing $300 a month yielding only 1% will result in nearly $126,000. At 5% you will have almost $250,000! No minimum deposit: Amex Personal Savings: https://personalsavings.americanexpress.com/ (.90% APY as of 5 Nov 15) $500 minimum deposit: Discover Bank Savings: https://www.discover.com/online-banking/savings-account/ (.95% APY as of 5 Nov 15)
Frank on Monday, 09 November 2015 14:14

I love that analysis above. This really shows the affect of compounding interest. If you start young, and have a long time horizon, you should have no problem saving for retirement.

I love that analysis above. This really shows the affect of compounding interest. If you start young, and have a long time horizon, you should have no problem saving for retirement.
Finance Globe on Monday, 09 November 2015 22:49

I don't know how many years I made excuses not to do this when I was young. I would have started saving much earlier and never missed that extra $ if I just made it a requirement.

I don't know how many years I made excuses not to do this when I was young. I would have started saving much earlier and never missed that extra $ if I just made it a requirement.
ChrisB on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 08:39

Thanks for the breakdown, FG. Definitely helpful for those who lack discipline!

Thanks for the breakdown, FG. Definitely helpful for those who lack discipline!
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