I was recently asked how anyone could cut costs and save money given today’s (down) economy. After that gentle prompting, I decided to compile this list of 5 easy hacks that our household has saved money.
Hack 1: Your Phone Plan is a Money Pit
This one’s going to hurt (at least in the short term)! Yeah, that premium piece of pressed aluminum iPhone has got to go. Sure, that phone has been with you through thick and thin, but it’s time to stop being Apple/Verizon’s sugar daddy!
There are many phone plans available that offer unlimited text/call/loads of data for under $50/month. You may have to switch to an Android phone, but trust me- it does anything you could ever possibly need! Check out this in depth post reviewing the Google Fi program. It’s only $20-30/month and works like a charm (Potential savings: ~$50-100 per phone).
Hack 2: Cut the Cable
Does anyone still watch cable, or do you send your hard-earned Benjamin’s to Comcast out of pity because their service sucks so much? We ditched the cord over 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since! We still have internet and Netflix; plus we get sports through the local antenna channels. We have access to more than enough content, and if that doesn’t sound like enough to you, then you probably spend too much time in front of the tube anyways.
If you refuse to make the cut, then at least call up your provider and negotiate a lower rate. If you threaten to cancel, the provider will often greatly reduce your rate (Potential savings: ~$50-150 per month).
Hack 3: DIY
I take DIY to the extreme. This is likely the result of an upbringing by frugal, DIY parents- It’s Okay, I’m receiving counseling. 😉
In all seriousness, most people opt to pay someone to fix whatever inconvenience pops up. If you’re interested in saving money, this is an awesome way to skim down your expenses. If you invest in some basic tools and watch some YouTube videos, you can often fix things cheaply, efficiently, and sometimes of higher quality.
One example is painting. We recently bought our first house and rather than pay someone ~$1,000 to paint a few room, we spent $100 on paint and took a weekend to splash some new color on some walls (Potential savings: ~greatly depends).
Hack 4: Automatic Deposit(s)
This hack isn’t really a cost savings, it’s more of a subliminal savings approach. If you struggle to actually save money, despite making drastic cuts to the monthly budget, automatic transfers may be the way to go. Most online banks allow you to set up these “auto deductions” once, and then they occur at a certain time you specify for whatever duration you prefer. I’d recommend setting up the transfer after your first pay-day of the month so that you ensure some of your fresh-money makes it into savings.
I’ve recently set up an account with Betterment, where my automatic transfers go into a wealth building account through Betterment. I’m on Month 3 of 6 to test it out (I am a Scientist after all), and will write a full review in the future.
Hack 5: Don’t Go Out to Eat
This one hurts me. I love grabbing second breakfast after eating a full breakfast at home and then getting some munchies as I drive (I drive often for work and thankfully am not obese…. yet).
One month I calculated how much money my wife and I spent on eating out compared to groceries and was stunned! We spent more than 2X what we spent on groceries. I would never advocate stopping dinner dates with your significant other (unless you’re in crazy debt), however, simply slimming down fast food will help fatten your wallet and slim your waist-line (pun intended). (Potential savings: $HUGE!)
Hopefully these “simple” hacks will give you some breathing room for the rest of the month. Have you had success with any other budget hacks? Share below in the comments: