Most of us are looking for ways to trim the fat from our monthly budget. I recently refinanced my home, saving me about $300 a month, and that made me hungry for more savings.
So I decided to see if I could find $500 more to trim from my monthly budget — and I did. Here are the four simple steps I employed:
How to Save $500 Each Month
1. Ditch the subscriptions
My first step was to look through all of my subscriptions. I was receiving magazines that I didn’t even read, and I was also signed up for online access to a couple of sites. I looked through everything and realized I was paying about $65 per month in subscriptions. This was the easiest thing to cut, since I don’t use these publications anyway.
2. Ask yourself “why?”
The next thing I did was start asking myself a simple question. Too often, we buy things because they’re cheap, on sale, or because we think they might be “nice” to have. Simply stopping to ask yourself “why?” can head off a lot of mindless spending. I decided to do this before making any purchases for the month, and if I couldn’t come up with a cogent reason, I put it back.
I recorded how much each of these purchases would’ve cost, which was an eye-opening exercise. I didn’t realize how much impulse buying I did — even online — until I started asking this question. At the end of the month, the items I hadn’t bought totaled $205.
3. Comparison shop for recurring bills
It had been a while since I’d comparison shopped for insurance and some of my other recurring bills, including yard care. So I took an hour one day to look online and make a few calls. It wasn’t very difficult to call the satellite TV company and ask if I could get a cheaper package (I could), or find out that I could save money on my auto insurance by switching providers. In the end, I didn’t even need to switch, since my current auto insurance company matched the newer, lower quote. I also found a cheaper health insurance plan to meet my needs. That hour of comparison shopping on recurring bills saved me about $185.
4. Perform an energy audit
Another thing I did was go through and see how much energy I was wasting at home. A basic energy audit showed that with the help of smart strips, better planning with my thermostat, and different lightbulbs, I could save a good amount of money. After making a few energy-efficient changes, my latest bill is about $55 lower than last month’s. When taking into account that it’s still summer, that’s a big savings.
These simple steps can lead to big savings over time. Have you recently found a new way to trim your budget?
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