Are you the type of person who is squeaking by every month with barely enough dollars in your savings account to pay your bills? Sure, you need to do grocery shopping to eat and even feed your kids. You also need a mobile phone to stay in touch with your friends and family.
Chances are, though, that you are overpaying for luxuries and necessities you just could not live without. Don’t worry, though. You can cut down your spending by identifying expenses that are draining your finances.
Here are some commonly overlooked expenses that could push you to throw in the towel on your household budget each month:
Cable and Streaming Services
American subscribers shell out over a hundred dollars per month on pay-TV services. If you don’t watch cable often or use your TV, cancel your subscription. You can then redirect the money you’ve saved to other important expenses, such as your monthly mortgage.
When looking for an alternative to cable, consider getting a digital antenna. You can also subscribe to streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. Just make sure to pick a setup that you can afford and works for you and your family.
Exercise Classes and Gym Memberships
- Health is wealth, as many people say. Expensive gym memberships and fitness classes, however, can deplete your wealth.
- If you let classes expire or don’t go to the gym regularly, you’re wasting money. Instead of enrolling in fitness memberships or sessions, take advantage of free trials. You could also just exercise at home. Watch free exercise videos on YouTube and work out in the comfort of your living room.
Unexpected Expenses Related to Medication
- Prescription meds can damage your bank account, but you can likely find the medication you need at a cheaper price by going generic.
- Generic drugs are at the bio-equivalent of brand-name medications, but cost significantly less. If you’re looking for medications, such as ones that help alleviate body pain, use mobile apps like Prescription Saver and GoodRx to compare drug prices at nearby pharmacies. If you’re going to do this, please consult your doctor if switching to generic is OK.
- You could also sign up for a pharmacy discount card. This can save you approximately 10 to 25 percent on your medication bills.
Interest Payments on Your Credit Cards
- Not everyone pays off their outstanding balance every month. This, unfortunately, creates interest expense that can drain your wallet.
- If you are paying off your balance in full each month, you’re overpaying for the purchases you charge on your credit cards. So, come up with a plan to pay your outstanding balance completely every month. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you are having trouble paying your credit card balance.
- If you don’t take good care of your car, it won’t take care of you at some point. So, take a proactive approach to auto maintenance and repairs to avoid costly fixes down the road.
- If a mechanic presents a problem to your attention, don’t ignore it even if the issue seems minor at first glance. Get the problem addressed as soon as you can.
- Between the soda, popcorn, hotdog and tickets, a date night at your local movie theater could cost more than $50. If you sign up for a loyalty club, however, you could pay less for concessions and tickets.
- If you want to save money on movies, keep an eye out for free movie screenings at parks, libraries and museums. During summer, many major movie chains show discounted and even free movies for children on weekday mornings.
Your Coffee Habit
- Although a $5 morning coffee can satisfy your soul and get you ready to face work, this can also hurt your budget. Instead of buying your favorite latte at Starbucks every day, consider purchasing a Keurig machine or a French press to brew your favorite cup of joe at the comfort of your home. Buying a machine may be a larger out-of-pocket expense, but this will easily pay for itself over time.
- Eating out often costs more than whipping up delicious meals at home. If you’re looking to save more money, learn how to cook. Read up on fast and easy recipes. Resist the urge to pop in a restaurant for lunch or a fast food joint by making large dishes over the weekend, refrigerating them and then bringing portions to your office the following week.
- Nothing sets fire to your hard-earned dollars like a blazing electric bill, especially during winter. Although you can’t change the weather, you can take small steps to save money on your utility bill. You can, for starters, raise the thermostat by a few degrees or get an energy efficient system.
Don’t let these expenses ruin your budget. Take steps to curb them to improve your financial health. Have more tips? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org