A growing number of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. More and more reports state that families are dealing with increased levels of debt and are making little headway in achieving their financial goals. Even if that’s not your situation, regularly revisiting your expenses is a good practice to determine if there are opportunities to optimize your spending. Reducing needless expenses is a fantastic way to help you make ends meet, or even better allow you to grow your wealth. Here are 12 costs you should consider cutting today.
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Credit Card Fees
High-interest credit card debt can harm any budget. Putting a frivolous purchase on a credit card may cause you interest, putting you further behind.
Instead, save for that item so you can buy it without guilt once you have the resources.
It’s convenient to buy an item at full price. However, you may be overpaying. Stores almost always have sales to help you save money.
You can even use a coupon app on your phone to find active promo codes to save more cash.
How often do you throw food in the trash? That act is literally throwing money in the trash can. On average, an American family throws away 250 pounds of food annually.
This equates to nearly $200 a month for the average family of four. You can avoid this by reducing items you buy at the store, shopping your pantry, and eating leftovers. Even if you cut your food waste by half, you can reclaim $100 in savings.
No one should have to pay to bank. Unfortunately, banks don’t agree and often charge fees. Those minor $15 fees can add up over the year.
There are plenty of fee-free banking solutions available. Find one that doesn’t nickel and dime you so more cash stays in your budget. Online banks, such as CIT Bank, are often the best choice as they have minimal to no fees and pay competitive rates.
A costly cable subscription or premium live TV streaming service is not required to watch your favorite shows. There are dozens of cable alternatives that let you catch popular programming and save lots of money.
If you’re a live sports fan, don’t fret. Some affordable options even air live sports.
Dining out is fun, but it’s expensive. The average household spends nearly $300 a month eating out. That can take a big bite out of a budget.
Even if you cut your meals out by half you can reclaim some serious savings.
Delivery App Fees
You’re not eating out, so you’re saving money, right? Wrong. While ordering from delivery services like Uber Eats and Doordash are convenient, they include expensive delivery fees that could be straining your budget.
If you need to cut something to make ends meet this month, cook at home or get pizza carryout to save some money.
Reports indicate that one in three adults tried to consume less alcohol in 2023. Besides the obvious, and numerous, health benefits there’s another benefit – spending less money.
The average American spends at least $600 annually on alcohol to have in the home. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you could potentially claw back $50 a month, or more, that could go to other areas of your budget. You don’t have to go cold turkey either. Slashing it half will save you at least $25.
Pricey Gym Membership
We all intend to go to the gym, but if you don’t the expense is dead weight. Many people who have a gym membership don’t use it.
If you don’t use your gym, cancel it and use free exercise videos on Netflix instead.
Expensive Auto Insurance
When was the last time you compared your auto insurance rates against what’s available on the market? If you’re like most people, it has been at least three years.
Reports indicate you could be leaving up to $500 a year on the table. That’s nearly $50 a month you could apply to other areas of your budget.
Buying Brand Name Items
Brand name items are known, but they often also come with an added cost. If you’re brand-loyal, you may be overpaying. Many generic items are made by the same people who produce the popular brands you love.
Compare generic items against their counterparts and you may be surprised at what you can save. You may not even be able to tell the difference in quality.
Premium Music Streaming Services
Music services are helpful, but premium ones can cost a pretty penny. Even Spotify has a free version. Try it, and see if you like it. You may be able to pocket $15 a month and still stream your favorite tunes.
How to Save Money on a Tight Budget
Saving money feels impossible when you’re struggling to make ends meet, but you can do it. Use these tips to save money each month, even on a tight budget.
15 Best Alternatives to Cable
You don’t necessarily need live TV to replace cable. Many streaming services offer quality content and good features to slash your bill.
I Need Money Now
Are you in a cash rut and need money quickly? Don’t take out a loan. Here are 19 ways you can get cash today to make ends meet.
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One of the best ways to change your financial situation and reduce your stress is to make more money. It’s easier than you think. Here are more than 100 things you can do right now to earn extra money.
7 Ways to Make Mailbox Money
Mailbox money is a lot like passive income. You only need a little money to start to receive checks in your mailbox. Pursue these options to grow real wealth.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.