Cell phone bill
My spending category is eating out, the movies, drinks, etc. whatever I want to spend extra money on that isn't in my budget. I have a budgeted amount I can play with.
Now, let's go through each one and see if/how we can save.
- House - can you refinance to a lower rate? Can you get different homeowners insurance with the same coverage for a cheaper price? Can you move to a smaller apartment or a cheaper location?
- Car 1 and/or 2 - can you get a cheaper car? Can you up your payments to get it paid off sooner? Can you refinance?
- Insurance - Can you get the same coverage with a different company for less? Can you decrease your limits?
- Gas - Do you HAVE to buy the premium grade gas? Get a Shell Saver Card. It saves 2 cents on every gallon, sometimes up to 10 cents. Hey, money saved is money earned!
- Electricity - if you're in the GREAT state of Texas (Happy Independence Day Texas!!), you can go to Texas Power To Choose to find the right electric company for you. Pick the cheapest price per kwh for the longest contract and the least/lowest fees. Also, turn the lights off, do laundry one day a week to cut down on too-small loads, and get a programmable thermostat and set it and forget it. Lastly, get energy efficient appliances and make sure that all windows and doors don't let your "bought air" out of the house!
- Water - well, there's not much you can do about this if you live in a MUD district. BUT you can get low flow toilets, a high efficiency washer, water saving shower heads, etc. Also, make sure you don't waste water while you wash dishes, brush your teeth, or take a shower. One more thing... make sure you don't have any leaks anywhere.
- Cable/Internet - can you switch to a cheaper provider? Can you do without one or both altogether? Can you get rid of a box or two? (seriously, do your kids NEED the Cartoon Network in their room or does it dumb them down like it does mine?) Can you decrease the # of channels?
- Groceries - COUPON!
- Cell phones - can you decrease the minutes? can you decrease the amount of upgrades you have? can you switch to a cheaper company? why do you NEED a $300-600 phone? Um, no. It's for calling and facebooking. You can do that on a free or cheap phone. Come on people. Don't be that guy that can't afford to pay your electric bill but you have a million dollar phone with all the bells and whistles and unlimited data and texting! Ok... I'm off my soap box. Also see if your employer gets a discount with your service provider.
- Lady maintenance - can you pluck your own brows? I can't either, so, reducing this one is lost on me. I do, however, dye my own hair and only allow myself highlights about 2-3 times a year.
- Clothes - shop at a resale or consignment shop. Or TJ Maxx, Marshall's, or Ross. Really, you don't NEED $100 jeans.
- Savings - use SmartyPig. I covered this in my blog, Save Like A Pig.
- Miscellaneous - when you have an emergency savings fund, you can really reduce the need for this category.
And my final advice: Get online banking. Most banks offer online banking which comes with monthly analysis of your spending. DO ONE EVERY MONTH. It really puts your spending into persepective. For instance, I noticed I spend close to $60 on fast food lunch every month. This could either go to savings or one nice meal out for my whole family rather than a few crappy hamburgers!
Let me know if you have any suggestions or tips, too!
Oh... I almost forgot: once you make a budget, make another column next to it and track every time you pay a bill or spend money from a category. Also, set up automatic bill pay. It'll save you time and brainpower when it comes out of your account all on it's own. We ALL can use something that makes our life easier, right?