Finding a balance between enjoying life and reducing your expenses can seem challenging. However, it really doesn’t have to be that difficult. These simple tips can help you to reduce your spending while still enjoying life to the fullest.
1. Create a Budget – and Stick to It
A budget is one of the most important tools for saving money. Start by taking a look at what you are spending on your lifestyle habits. Next, determine what areas could be reduced related to how much you would like to save each month.
Once you have created a budget for your various expenses, resolve to stick to it no matter what. For example, if you use up your allotted budget for lattes during week three, you have to wait until the next month to have another latte. (Better yet, brew coffee at home instead of buying lattes!)
2. Cook Instead of Eating Out
Eating meals out is one of the most expensive activities most people engage in. This one expenditure can really add up over time.
Resolve to cook more often, and make double or triple batches of your favorite dishes so that you can freeze them and have ready-made home cooked meals later. Cooking at home can help make you healthier, too. Avoid carbohydrates and sugar, make a salad with each meal, and favor dishes with lean meats and/or lots of vegetables.
3. Use Online Streaming Services Instead of Cable
Why pay hundreds of dollars per month for cable when just about all of your favorite movies and TV shows can be streamed online? Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and iTunes all offer affordable access to a wide variety of entertainment options. Renting movies online is very budget-friendly as well.
4. Stop Smoking Cigarettes
With cigarettes costing from $6 to $13 a pack, this unhealthy habit is costing you in a major way. It is also one of the biggest risk factors in health issues related to respiratory health, cardiovascular functioning and cancer risk. Quitting this nasty habit can take years off your life, reduce out of pocket costs and help you to save on health care and medical bills.
However, some smokers simply can’t or won’t give up smoking. For many, it contributes to relaxation and enjoying their leisure time. These smokers should strongly consider vaping instead. Vaping is a more affordable alternative to smoking, and it is much healthier. The harmful toxins that result from combustion in cigarette smoking are avoided while vaping. A range of appealing flavor options add variety to the experience and you can keep an eye out for deals to help you save money on vaping.
5. Comparison Shop for Cell Phone Service
Cell phone companies are more competitive with one another than ever, and this can translate into big savings for you. You might also consider asking your current company if any discounts are available to help cut your phone bill.
6. Fill Vision Prescriptions Online
The Internet has opened up a whole world of savings, and it’s right at your fingertips. If you wear glasses or contacts, there are a number of vendors that sell the same name brand products you would buy at the store. While you will need to get an eye exam at a brick and mortar optician’s office, you can take the prescription with you and fill it online with the vendor that offers the best price.
7. Cut Credit Card Costs
If you currently carry debt on one or more credit cards and have high interest rates, call the credit card companies and ask for a rate reduction. If you are a customer in good standing, many of them will cut the rate.
If they don’t, shop around for a low interest rate credit card offer that will allow you to transfer your current balance and enjoy a lower rate. In some cases, you’ll be able to receive 0% interest for six months to a year. Look for credit cards that offer cash back rewards on purchases as well.
Just about all of your lifestyle choices impact your budget to some extent. However, there are ways to regulate spending while still enjoying your life and your leisure time. Use these seven tips to offset the expensive elements of your lifestyle. You’ll have more money left over each month to create a better financial future.
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