With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you spend money and where you can begin to save. At the start of a new year, we try to pick at least one budget category to eliminate. Or, at least drastically reduce.
It’s a simple way to free up a little extra money each month. Start a vacation account, save for Christmas next year or just make more room in your budget for the fun things. Pick one thing you’re spending money on each month and stop!
Here are the 3 things we’ve cut out so far:
Fast Food: Our first big expense to eliminate was fast food. It wasn’t intentional, actually. We just made a no-drive-thru rule a few years ago when gas prices skyrocketed. It didn’t mean I couldn’t park and walk in, but with 3 kids that pretty much defeats the purpose. We’ve turned to freezer meals, deli chicken, and simple 15-minute recipes for “emergency” dinner nights. It takes about as long as a fast food line for far less money.
Cable TV: The next year, we shut off the cable. It’s fairly simple these days to find all the shows we love on Hulu, Netflix or television station websites. It hasn’t changed our lifestyle much, but we are definitely enjoying the extra $600 per year!
Gym Membership: Last year, I spent a bit of money on fitness boot camps and dance classes. I realized pretty quickly that it could get out of control so it had to go in 2012. I’ve turned back to running, our Wii Fit, library DVDs, and YouTube exercise videos. I can workout at home without the monthly bill.
If you really want to work towards a smarter budget, spend a month or so tracking your spending habits to see what else you can cut. That’s our next step, since I’m going to have to dig a little deeper to make changes this year.
How will your spending change in 2013?
More from Heather:
Utility Savings at Home: Cable TV Alternatives