What do you do when you have more month left at the end of your money, an unexpected bill comes and you can’t pay it?
Today I’m sharing 5 ways to cut $500 from your budget!
I’m writing this during the 2020 Coronavirus global pandemic. In this time of history we are experiencing a faltering economy, government stimulus checks to actual Americans, nationwide layoffs and people struggling to maintain a sense of ‘normal.’
We’ve been ordered to stay at home, keep a distance of six feet from other humans and wear face masks when going outside for ‘essential’ items. Terms like ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’ are commonplace as are the social media hashtags #stayathome and #flattenthecurve.
In other words– the general atmosphere is a little weird right now. While we acknowledge that we are in a privileged position, we haven’t been strangers to the effects of Covid-19. Jayme recently took a $20k pay cut and I’ve been working on Freedom In A Budget to recoup some of the losses we are facing.
One of the greatest challenges we face as a family right now, outside of lowering our utility bill, is cutting line items from our budget. Obviously, $20,000 is a large chunk of our change, so we’re working double time together to shave as much off of our cost of living as possible.
Here are 5 ways to cut at least $500 from your monthly budget right now.
1. Cut the Cord
If you haven’t cut cable from your budget already, now is the time to do it. The average American spends around $107 per month on cable. That’s a whopping $1,284 per year.
You may look at this and say ‘Kelly, what am I supposed to do while I am mandated to stay on my couch for two months?’
I’m not asking you to cut entertainment entirely! I promise! Let’s say you cut cable and opt in for the standard plans Netflix and Hulu offer. You’ll pay $18.98, which is $227.76 per year.
Switch to any of the multiple streaming options available today and save more than 80%.
2. Cut Subscription Boxes
In the past, I’ve loved subscription boxes. Fab Fit Fun, Target Beauty Boxes and FiveFour, a clothing subscription for Jayme, just to name a few. It honestly did not surprise me that the average amount spent on subscription services was $111 a month. That’s $1,332 per year!
If you have faced layoffs or a reduction in hours, it’s time to snip snip subscription boxes from the budget. Again, if these boxes of joy are a priority for you, keep one, but don’t have 4 subscriptions and wonder where the heck your money went at the end of the month.
3. Renegotiate Auto Insurance
My general advice, sans pandemic, is to shop around for insurance every six months. Most people are paying too much for their auto insurance and there are so many options and companies willing to negotiate– especially right now. The average cost of car insurance is $129 per month, or $1,548 per year. I know people who have switched to Root insurance and saved over $600 per year!
Shopping around for insurance is never a fun time. Either you’re calling agency after agency hoping to find the best rate or spending time filling out paperwork for brokers.
That’s where Gabi is changing the insurance buying game. Acting as your personal broker, Gabi looks at your policy and gets you instant insurance quotes with almost no waiting. It’s time to look at the insurance industry differently!
Gabi cuts out these wait times by looking at your current insurance plan first. You’ve filled out this information before; you don’t need to go over it again. If you want slight changes, that’s not a problem since Gabi’s process makes those alterations quickly.
Then you wait a whopping two minutes while the advanced systems search through all of the associated agencies, including finding bundled discounts.
If your information needs to be handled by a technician, Gabi states these issues typically take less than 48 hours to deal with. Then your plan can start as soon as you’d like, worry-free.
4. Go Out To Eat – Once Each Week
The three biggest line items in any household budget is housing, transportation and food. Food consists of groceries and eating out. Now, in this exact moment, eating out shouldn’t be that big of an issue. We’re all at home and everything is shut except for take out and app delivery services.
However, there will be a day when that’s not the case and you’ll still need to watch what you spend when you go out. The average Floridian spends $271 per month, or $3,253 per year on restaurants. That’s per person!
I did think that it was interesting that the average Floridian spends $3,253 per year, on average, on dining out – $271 per month. That’s per person, folks!
So what can you do to lower this budget sucker?
• Meal plan
• Make your own coffee
• Shop at discount grocery stores
• Use Facebook groups to check if there are meal specials
•Use coupons – it’s not cheap, it’s smart
5. Go Generic
If you’re spending a boatload of money at the drugstore, check out GoodRx. The average cost of prescription medication is $100 per month or $1,200 per person per year.
One of my friends decided to give GoodRx a try. Her medication, Lexapro, was $160 without the coupon that GoodRx gave her. With the coupon? $8. That is a 95% savings.
When you pick up a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, you are paying for the Campbell’s branding. You’re paying for their marketing department and the name ‘Campbell’s.’ While I do believe that some brands are better than others, I don’t hold this belief where food is concerned.
I’ve followed Jordan Paige for a while and her video Grocery Shopping Hacks video hit the nail on the head. Food is processed in the same plant, with the same ingredients. When it comes time to put the food on the trucks to be distributed to grocery stores, workers slap two different labels on the same product, allowing for markup on food that isn’t genetically labeled.
Rachel Ray’s, Jordan Paige’s and my advice: Purchase generic labeled food. It is the same at half the cost!
I hope these are helpful for you in your family’s time of need. Let me know if you’ve used any of these to find more wiggle room in your monthly budget!
Ways I save money:
Here at Freedom In A Budget, I am all about saving money! Here are some of the EASY ways that I save money:
• Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!
• Rakuten/Ebates: Rakuten is my to go way to earn Cash Back from over 2,500 stores like Macy’s, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and much more. Join Rakuten today for free, and you’ll get a $10 Cash Bonus to get you started! Every three months, you’ll get a Big Fat Check in the mail or a PayPal payment just for shopping.
• CIT Bank offers high-yield savings accounts that provide a safe, secure way to grow your savings.
• M1 Finance is an easy to use brokerage platform that allows you to invest in Fractional Shares and auto reinvest!
• Honey: Stop wasting money- Honey finds you the Internet’s best discount codes.
• Budget Templates: Excel budget templates with pre-populated categories and formulas to keep you on track with hitting your financial goals.
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