My husband and I sat down recently for a budget review. It’s been a little while since we’d done one and it was time to take a closer look at our expenses and see if there were any areas where we were wasting money.
Budget reviews are necessary to be able to stay on track financially and will usually open your eyes up to some unnecessary expenses.
We discovered two expenses that we could cut immediately. We dropped our home phone which will save us $47 a month. We’ve considered doing this for awhile but were hesitant. We finally decided to just do it.
We also plan to eliminate home paper delivery. We only get the paper on Wednesdays and Sundays. It’s a very convenient way to get the new grocery ads and the coupons each week. My husband originally subscribed several years ago because the introductory rate was so good that it was worth it.
However, over time the subscription rate has crept up and the convenience of home delivery is no longer worth the expense. I can access store flyers and read news stories online. I will go back to buying the Sunday paper only so I can get the coupons. I’ll be spending $8 a month on the paper instead of $22.
We will also be looking into insurance costs. Our car insurance increased almost $25 a month this year so we’ll be looking for a better rate.
When doing a budget review it’s important be open to areas where you can cut expenses. We almost always find something we can eliminate or reduce.
Here are five budget areas to review to see if you can reduce your spending.
- Cable – There are so many options to cable these days that are much more affordable. This has become a pretty easy one to eliminate. Get an antenna for local channels and consider options like Netflix, Vudu, and Sling TV for movies and TV shows.
- Home Phone Service – If you have reliable cell phone service then a land line just isn’t as necessary. One drawback is that if you live in a multi unit building and have to call 911, they will not be able to pinpoint your exact location(floor/unit number) with a cell phone like they would be able to do with a landline.
- Newspaper & Magazine Subscriptions – Most of these can be accessed online these days. If you really love an magazine and feel that the paper copy is worth it then by all means keep it but for the most part these are an unnecessary expense these days.
- Entertainment/Eating Out – It’s easy to waste money in these areas. A night a the movies for a family of four will set you back around $50 and that’s without snacks. A dinner out at a casual dining restaurant will cost at least that much. While it’s certainly okay to do these things on occasion if your budget allows, they can do a number on your budget if you don’t keep them in check. Save the movie theater for special movies that you really want to see. Other movies can be rented and enjoyed at home for a fraction of the cost. Decide to eat out only on special occasions or perhaps just a couple of times a month and then commit to making meals at home. Consider other ways you can save on these expenses and make it a family challenge to come up with new and fun ways to have fun and spend time together while spending less.
- Insurance – Insurance costs often creep up over time. Periodically look around and see if you can find better rates on your car/renters/homeowners insurance. Of course, you’ll want to go with a reputable company. It’s not worth they savings if they don’t come through for you when you need them.
A one and done budget will not work for the long haul. Expenses change, incomes change, seasons of life change, and our budgets need to change as well.
Making time for a budget review will help you stay on track financially and make the most of what you have.