Towards the end of every year and the beginning of every New Year, my husband I go through our expenses to try to see where we can cut from for the upcoming year. During this process this year, we actually switched trash companies and internet providers.
In past we’ve switch cell phone companies, insurance providers, and even loan companies (when we still had consumer debt).
So I thought I’d share with you just a few ways that you can make saving more money this New Year a reality.
What is your biggest expense?
Look over your budget and determine your biggest expense (outside your rent/mortgage payment) every month. Now, write that expense and the amount down. Then ask yourself if there’s a way that you can lower that expense?
If so, brainstorm so ways that you can reduce that expense. For example, if it’s groceries can you start shopping sales and cutting coupons? If it’s your cell phone bill, can you switch providers to save more money? If it’s a utility bill can you call the company to see if they have a fixed and variable rate option or even switch providers?
Yes, I know this all sounds like a ton of work but it can be so worth it to shave off significant savings through the course of the New Year. And the sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll start reaping the benefits.
What if it’s a loan payment?
We found ourselves in this predicament when it can to my mountain of debt that I brought into our marriage along with the debt my husband brought with him. The minimum payments on everything along with the many different interest rates were making it a challenge to put a dent in our debt.
So, we went the debt consolidation route. It truly helped us but it’s definitely not an option to take lightly. You’ll need to really consider all your options before you go that route and may even consider going through credit counseling first to see if it’s the right option for you.
Another option is if your student loan payments are the ones causing you sweat every month (trust me, I know how haunting those things can be!), then you may want to consider refinancing your student loans if you can get a better interest rate and lower the term length.
What if you can’t reduce the expense?
If it’s an expense that you can’t reduce, ask yourself if you can eliminate the expense all together. Yes, I know that might sound frightening but you’ll be surprised at what you can truly live and thrive without.
Things you can stop paying for:
- Unused gym membership
- Magazine subscriptions
- Subscription boxes (those “surprise” boxes that show up every month)
- Credit protection/credit reporting fees (you can get your credit report and score for free so don’t pay for this.)
- Streaming services (ask yourself if you need every streaming service you use. Like do you really need Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube Red, and all the others or can you narrow it down to just one or two?)
- Cable/Satellite (we haven’t had cable in 10 years and it’s wonderful! We just have Netflix and use the Fire Stick to watch Amazon Prime/Netflix videos on our TV)
- Banking fees (if your bank charges you a fee every month, switch banks to one that doesn’t).
There are several expenses that you may be able to cut from your budget just by looking them over and asking yourself it’s really worth spending XYZ on it every month.
What if it’s the house?
This is a hard one and unfortunately it’s one that many of my own personal friends and family have been faced with – the house costing them too much every month. The truth is that your home should never cost you more than 30% of your total income for the month.
This includes rent – so even if you’re renting it shouldn’t cost you more than 30% every month to pay rent. And if your home is costing you more than 30% of your income every month you need to make some changes.
These changes may not be easy but by reducing your housing payment to 30% or less you’ll actually start to be able to breathe again. This may mean that you have to refinance your home to get a better interest (DO NOT take out a line of equity credit against your home. Refinance if you need to in order to get a better interest rate but avoid adding more to your loan by taking out a HELOC.)
Or it may mean that you need to make the tough call.
You may have to move and downsize your home. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s true. Your house is supposed to be your home – your sanctuary from the outside world. It’s not suppose to be a place of stress and worry and it’s definitely not supposed to be the cause of the stress and worry.
So think and pray hard about your options and what expenses you need to cut from your budget. It won’t be easy. Change never is but change can be a beautiful thing.
Change is never easy but it can be a beautiful thing.Click To Tweet
What have you done to save money this year?
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