Today, I have a guest post from fellow blogger Kyle at Rather Be Shopping. Feel free to head on over to his blog after reading this article and check out some of his other posts!
Having recently gone through a major blow to my income, my wife and I had to do some serious re-accessing of our monthly budget and look for as many ways to reduce spending as possible. After a few brain-storming sessions, here are the first five things we did to reduce our monthly expenses. I can honestly say that these five things alone will save us over $1,300 this year.
Stop Paying for Premium Cable
Call your cable or satellite provider to cancel your service and they will quickly offer you incentives not to leave. These often include free movie channels, but more importantly up to $20 off your monthly bill. They want your business really bad and know that once you leave, you probably will never come back. Try this today and I think you’ll be really surprised with what they offer you to stay. Make sure you are satisfied with your new monthly rate and if you are not, cancel it and go with a competitor who offers a low introductory monthly rate.
Pay Bills Online
Not only will you save money on stamps, but you’ll also save a lot of time. You can easily sit down at your computer and pay 5 bills in one minute. If you pay an average of 12 bills a month, you will save over $66 a year in stamp costs. Plus the delivery time on electronic payments averages 2 days which allows you to keep your money in your account longer earning you some extra money in interest every month. If you don’t currently use online bill pay because you are not computer savvy, you really should reconsider. It is not complicated and 15 minutes of your time learning the basics is well worth it.
Consider Alternatives to a Gym Membership
I started riding my bike a couple months ago in lieu of a gym membership. Not only do I save money, but I get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the area where I live. Another excellent option is a brisk walk or jog in your neighborhood in the evenings or before work. Also, consider buying used home gym equipment off Craigslist, there currently are some great deals to be had as people start to sell their rarely used equipment and weights they bought after the New Year.
Waiting Period for Major Purchases
Instill a 48 hour “cooling down” period before making a major purchase. After the 48 hour period has elapsed you will often lose the “buyers urge” and have moved on with your life. My wife and I use a $50 threshold and I must admit that it really does work. If you are the personality type who tends to shop or buy something on a whim to create some happiness you really should consider this tip. The mind is a powerful tool and if you can train it to do something else when the desire to buy hits, you can really create some positive buying habits.
Always Buy Second Hand
If you shop around enough, no matter what item you’re looking for, you can bet there is a good deal to be had somewhere. As long as it gets the job accomplished, who cares if it’s brand new or not. Always search Craigslist, eBay, and local thrift stores before you make the plunge into something brand new. If you do this consistently for an entire year you’d be amazed how much money you can save.
There are many ways to save money each month and this list just scratches the surface. What other easy ways do you reduce your monthly spending? I look forward to your comments.
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Kyle James has been helping consumers save money one dollar at a time at Rather-Be-Shopping.com with online coupon codes, printable coupons, and frugal living tips.
All my bills are automated online, I am disorganized so would probably forget about the dates and be charged late fees… the time saved is also very valuable!
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great tips Kyle! We do many of these things ourselves in order to save more money. We also call annually to many of our providers to see what kind of discounts they might be able to offer us.
Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says
Thanks John – making a few calls once a year can definitely save you some significant money. It is a great frugal habit to get in to, especially with your cable and phone company.